Amid a slew of unprecedented new visa formats for long-stay foreign residents emerging last year, the UAE has now announced that it will be introducing a 5-year tourist visa.
This announcement comes from Sheikh Mohammed, who shared a statement on his Twitter account covering the news. In his tweet, Sheikh Mohammed explained that the 5-year visa will permit multiple entries into the country, and will be available for all nationalities.
“We receive more than 21 million tourists per year and our goal is to solidify the UAE as a global tourist destination,” he said.
The decision was made during the Cabinet’s first meeting during 2020, known as the Year of Preparation, meant to set the stage for the next 30 years of the UAE’s development.
Furthermore, in a news story from Gulf News, the publication confirmed through sources that “holders of the new five-year multiple-entry tourist visa may be allowed to stay for six months at a stretch.”
This is an extension of the existing 90-day upper limit on stays for tourists. The other option was for a 30-day stay. Visitors also currently have a choice for choosing single or multiple-entry visas.
Speaking with Khaleej Times, Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst at StrategicAero Research, said offering visas like this for such a long duration will heighten UAE’s appeal and boost traffic into the country.
“Many nations that needed complex application forms will find it easier now to visit and do so multiple times. Furthermore, opening up the country for all nationalities opens the prospect for the UAE government to start new bilateral talks that could open up new air traffic routes for Emirates and Etihad,” he said.
Sources told local media that more details will be announced soon, supposedly things like visa fees and more.
The newly announced UAE tourist visa echoes that of Saudi Arabia, which has also put rigorous efforts into bolstering its tourist sector.
Last year, in a historic move, the Kingdom opened its doors to tourists for the first time ever with the announcement of a new tourist visa. Initially, citizens from 49 countries were able to apply for an e-Visa online or get a Visa on arrival, at a fee of $80 (SAR 300). The list of countries will be expanded upon in due time.
According to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, visitors to Saudi Arabia were able to obtain one-year, multiple-entry visas allowing them to spend up to 90 days in the country, starting from 27 September of 2019. The cost for a Saudi Arabia tourist visa is SAR 440 ($117), excluding VAT and processing fees for allapplicants. This is comprised of a base fee of SAR 300 for the visa, and SAR 140 for health insurance.