x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Diplomats no longer need visas for UK

A new agreement smooths travel for UAE diplomats and special passport holders.

DUBAI // UAE diplomats and special passport holders will no longer require visas to enter the UK, a move that is expected to improve relations between the two countries.

The policy, which was officially implemented one week ago today, was the result of a memorandum of understanding signed during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the UAE last year. The changes will also apply to officials from Oman and Qatar.

"The government is committed to developing engagement with the Gulf states, which are essential for UK prosperity and security," a UK Home Office spokesman said.

The move came just days after a visit to Abu Dhabi by Alistair Burt, the UK minister for the Middle East and South Asia.

Mr Burt was participating in a meeting of the UAE-UK Task Force, an institution that was established in July last year to strengthen ties between the two countries on issues of security and trade.

The task force has held meetings every few months in the UAE and the UK.

A delegation from the Emirates is expected to travel to London in three months.

A British Embassy spokeswoman said: "Holders of diplomatic and official passports no longer need visas to enter the UK.

"However, there is no change for ordinary passport holders from the UAE."

mcroucher@thenational.ae