A new multi-entry five-year tourist visa, which would be available to all nationalities, was approved by the UAE Cabinet during its first meeting of 2020.
Details such as whether there will be a visa application fee have not yet been released though it is being proposed that the visa will allow visitors to stay for up to six months on every entry within the span of five-year validity.
To be introduced within the next four months, this 5-year visa is part of wider plans to prepare the country for the next 50 years of development.
Under the existing system:
- Tourists from Britain, Ireland, Australia, China and Hong Kong, among others, can secure a 30-day visa on arrival at the airport plus a 10-day grace period.
- European citizens from the Schengen Area, EU members, Russia, South Korea and Argentina and Brazil, among others, can secure a 90-day visa.
- Tourists of other nationalities including Pakistan, India and the Philippines among others, require paid-for visas.
The Emirates currently gets about 21 million visitors each year. Dubai attracted 12 to 16 million tourists with a high number of Chinese, Omani and Filipino visitors. However it fell short of its target 20 million due to a record fall in Indian, British and Russian visitors.
The move is expected to provide a boost to the tourism industry and make it easier for residents to bring relatives and friends to the country for visits.
The longer-term validity of the 5 year tourist visas will make it more cost effective for families and regular visitors to the UAE.
Long-term multi-entry visas is the latest in a series of changes to the UAE's visa system. Previous changes include five-year visas for the brightest graduates and 10-year visas for business owners with significant assets in the country.