EU votes to allow visa-free travel for Emiratis

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

The European Union Council of Ministers has officially adopted new regulations allowing UAE nationals to be exempt from visas when travelling to the Schengen zone.

According to the amended regulation, nationals from 21 countries will now be exempt from the visa requirement when crossing the EU’s external borders.

However, the exemption will come into force only when bilateral agreements on visa waivers between the EU and the countries concerned have been concluded in order to ensure full reciprocity, the EU said in a statement.

It said it would further assess the situation in Columbia and Peru before opening negotiations on bilateral agreements on visa waivers.

The regulation was recently amended to introduce a new safeguard clause allowing the temporary reintroduction of the visa requirement in specific circumstances.

The new rules also strengthened the “retaliation mechanism” in the case of a breach of reciprocity by a third country, when a country reintroduces a visa requirement for nationals of a particular or of several EU member states.

In March the UAE exempted citizens of 13 European member states from requiring a pre-entry visa to the UAE.

With citizens of the other 15 European member states already being exempt, the announcement meant that all citizens of the European Union holding an ordinary passport would be allowed to enter the UAE without having to previously apply for a visa.

At the time it was hailed by Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), as “a very positive announcement from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one which will have a significant impact on the attractiveness of Dubai as a destination for tourists from the 13 countries included today in the exemption”.

“European countries have traditionally featured prominently in our top 20 source markets for visitors and the lifting of visa restrictions provides for easier travel arrangements from across the continent,” he said.

“The news has been received extremely positively here at ITB, both by our partners from the Dubai tourism industry and from the European travel industry. Through our network of offices across Europe we will use ruling to further promote Dubai's attractiveness as a destination for both leisure and business.”

The Schenzen Area is made up of 419m people and covers an area of 4,312,099 sq km. Its member states include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania will join in the next few years, while EU member states the UK and Ireland have opted out of joining.

Related:
Companies
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
How Kuwait is oiling the wheels of national reform

How Kuwait is oiling the wheels of national reform

Kuwait has for years sat on the sidelines while its neighbours...

Saudi currency devaluation would carry major political risk

Saudi currency devaluation would carry major political risk

Currency traders have been betting against the Saudi peg, and...

New global oil deal could draw lessons from 1998

New global oil deal could draw lessons from 1998

With oil prices touching their lowest level since 2003, OPEC...

Most Discussed
  • 4
    Finding Mr Pink

    Mr. Pink is quite possibly the rudest person I have ever met in my life. He says be humble...truly a lie for his own personal financial gain. Spend one... more

    Wednesday, 10 February 2016 3:30 PM - Jim
  • 2
    Rising from the ashes: The UAE's insolvency dilemma

    Arcapita Bank B.S.C.(c) entered bankruptcy in the US and in the Cayman Islands with the stated hope of restructuring. It was not able to restructure.... more

    Wednesday, 10 February 2016 8:13 AM - Tally M. Wiener
  • 1
    Dubai's ailing Falcon City of Wonders to get $2bn kick-start

    This is the difference between real property developers.
    one delivers to (most) of their promises and others use blaming others as an excuse for not... more

    Wednesday, 10 February 2016 10:18 AM - khalid
sponsoredTracking