The UAE will require Canadian visitors to apply for visas from January 2, 2011, the UAE Embassy in Ottowa has said in a statement on its website.
The decision, which reverses the current agreement that allows Canadians to enter the Gulf state without a visa, follows a recent political row between the two countries sparked by Canada’s refusal to grant UAE national carriers additional landing rights.
Canada last month said it would not offer flagship carriers Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways additional landing slots, despite years of requests from the UAE.
Dubai retaliated by ordering the evacuation of Canada’s Camp Mirage, based near the emirate, which had played a key role in supporting missions in Afghanistan.
The stand-off took a personal turn after a flight carrying Canada’s Defense Minister Peter MacKay was denied permission to use UAE airspace, forcing it to take a long detour.
An estimated 27,000 Canadians are currently resident in the UAE. The Gulf state is Canada’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.
In an interview last month, Canada’s opposition trade minister warned the row over landing rights would hit Canadian businesses operating in the Gulf, and risk a bilateral trade relationship worth $2bn a year.
“Canadian businesses and farmers could end up paying the price for this government’s incompetent handling of this situation.” MP Martha Hall Findlay told Arabian Business.
“Rather than avoid the issue, and ignore the UAE and its concerns, we want the Canadian government to constructively try to find a solution,” she said.
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