The United Arab Emirates is waiving visa fee requirements imposed on Canadian travelers, ending a row between the two countries that started in 2010 over aviation rights.
In a joint statement, the two countries’ foreign ministers, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and John Baird, agreed to “facilitate requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity for our citizens by restoring the visa regime.”
“We are pleased to announce that we have accomplished those goals, which will be formalised in the next month,” the statement added.
Baird is on a tour of the Middle East.
The move follows two years after the UAE increased the cost of a one-month visit visa for Canadian citizens to $250 a month after Canada’s transport agency refused to give Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates new landing rights.
The UAE also closed Camp Mirage, a secret military base located outside Dubai and used to supply Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
An estimated 40,000 Canadians currently reside in the UAE while 150 Canadian companies operate from the Gulf state. The UAE is Canada’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.
In a sign that relations between the two countries were thawing, the UAE and Canada signed a nuclear treaty in September paving the way for Canada to export atomic material and technology to the Emirates.
The two countries said on Tuesday they had also established a Canada-UAE business council to further facilitate trade.
“Just over a year ago, we set out an agenda between our countries to strengthen and re-energise the Canada-UAE relationship. To that end, we set three goals,” the statement said.
“First, sign a nuclear cooperation agreement. Second, launch a Canada-UAE business council. And third, facilitate travel requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity for our citizens, by restoring the visa regime,” it added.