By Courtney Trenwith
European Parliament to hold final vote on UAE visa-free status within weeks
The UAE has moved closer to becoming the first Arab country whose citizens can travel to Europe's Schengen zone without a visa.
The European Union's security and policy committee on Wednesday gave its final endorsement for the visa waiver, according to an EU statement.
The decision makes way for the European Parliament to approve removing the UAE from a list of countries that require a visa to enter the Schenzen Area, which 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.
The UAE recently was granted visa-free status in the UK.
The parliament is expected to vote on the resolution within a few weeks, however the visa will not be officially waived until reciprocal procedures are in place.
Other countries that also are being considered for visa-free status include Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Are they subject to the same visitors tax of 20 Dhms. For everyday that they stay in the EU of which their citizens are subject to starting at the end of March?
I hope the Euros will demand full reciprocity from the Emirates. At the moment, many E.U. states still require visas for the U.A.E.
Nothing is free! UAE citizens can afford thousands of dirhams for flights and hotels, can afford to pay for this arrival tax. Besides, the UAE charges most nationalities a visa fee too.