DUBAI: The UAE will allow visitors of all nationalities to enter the country on a tourist visa under the new rules that come into effect next week.
At present, nationals from 79 countries including India, other countries of the Indian subcontinent and Middle East were not eligible for tourist visas and could come to the UAE only on a visit visa.
“The new rules will encourage the tourism sector in the country,” Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD), told a press conference here.
The new rules, which require visa applicants to pay a Dh 1,000 deposit (1 USD=3.67 Dh) and also obtain health insurance, will come into force on July 29.
According to Al Merri, travel agencies will no longer be allowed to apply for visit visas.
“Now these companies will only be allowed to apply for tourist visas. This will regulate businesses and make process of travelling to the UAE easier and smooth,” he said.
Al Merri also said that individuals can no longer apply for tourist visas and should apply only through licensed tourism agencies and hotels.
The process of taking short trips to Iran, Oman or other neighbouring countries to change visit visas has also been stopped. At present, many people go to these places and then return to the UAE on a visit visa.
“People wanting to apply for a new visit visa after the expiry of their visa must go back to their home countries or distant countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, visitors to Dubai, who are nationals of a selected 33 countries, including UK, America and Australia, are still provided visas on arrival. However, their visa will now be for 30 days instead of the previous 60 days.