By Joy Chakravarty
Starting from Monday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will resume issuing tourist visas to those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The move comes as the daily number of positive cases continued to drop in the country, having gone lower than 1,000 since last week. The vaccination rate was closing on the 92 per cent mark, the highest in the world after Malta.
Both Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) jointly announced that application for tourist visas will be open to people from all countries who have received the World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccines.
The UAE’s official news agency WAM said: “This comes as part of the country’s strategy to create a balance between public health and the activities of vital sectors, and in support of the national efforts to achieve sustainable recovery and economic growth.”
Travellers who wish to receive the benefits provided to individuals vaccinated in the UAE, like visiting malls and public spaces in Abu Dhabi, can register their vaccination via the ICA platform or Al Hosn application.
As of June 3, the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines include AstraZeneca/Oxford/CoviShield, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
WAM added that “passengers arriving on tourist visas must take a mandatory PCR test at the airport”.
Despite an entry ban, India continued to be the Dubai International Airport’s) top destination country by traffic volume in the first half of 2021 with passenger numbers exceeding 1.9 million, reported Gulf News.
Emirates airlines continues to be the preferred choice of Indians travelling to the US and Canada and Dubai is a convenient place for transit.
Earlier this year in March, the UAE Cabinet had approved a five-year multiple entry tourist visa for all nationalities.
Otherwise, the tourist visa is granted for either 30 days or 90 days.
Indian citizens with valid visa of the US or UK are also eligible for visa on arrival.