x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Canadians are back on UAE's visa-free entry list

Canadian foreign minister welcomes move as 'great news' as countries re-energise relations following a 2011 disagreement.

ABU DHABI // Canadian citizens will be back on the visa-free entry list from June 1.

Canadian passport holders will be granted entry to the UAE free of charge with their visit arrival stamp, the UAE Embassy in Ottawa said yesterday.

"No application in advance of travel is necessary and the Canadian passport will be stamped for 30 days on arrival.

The Canadian foreign affairs minister, John Baird, welcomed the announcement.

"Sincere thanks to my counterpart [Foreign Minister] Sheikh Abdullah … for delivering on his commitment to restore the previous visa regime for Canadians," he said.

"It is great news for the tens of thousands of Canadians who travel to the UAE each year for work or for vacation.

"It will help increase economic opportunity and long-term prosperity in both countries. It is also an important signal to the world that bilateral relations between our two countries are strong and getting stronger."

The UAE dropped Canada from a list of 33 countries whose citizens can obtain a free visa on arrival in January 2011.

The move followed a diplomatic disagreement between the two countries over airline landing rights in Canada and the closure of its military base in Dubai.

More than 40,000 Canadians live and work in the UAE and about 150 Canadian companies currently do business here.

"We are on an upward trajectory. And that's truly exciting," Mr Baird said.

During a recent visit to the UAE Mr Baird said that after two years of talks to rebuild relations the two countries had agreed to restore the old visa system.

The ministers said in joint statement last month that it would strengthen and re-energise the Canada-UAE relationship and increase business, tourism and joint prosperity for their citizens by restoring the visa regime.

Mr Baird said yesterday that Canada and the UAE will now focus their efforts on developing the shared strategic agenda announced during his visit on April 2 in Abu Dhabi.

Canadians now will avoid paying Dh585 for a short-term single entry visa valid for 30 days.

Diplomatic and special Canadian passport holders still have to obtain visas but at no cost while a new multiple-entry visa for diplomatic, special and UN passport holders will be issued for three months free of cost and without sponsorship.

amustafa@thenational.ae