Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Abu Dhabi and five other emirates to issue tourist visas from today

Visa on arrival services have been on hold since March, with the exception of Dubai

Tourists can secure visas to travel to the UAE from Thursday, the country's federal immigration service said.

The decision means Abu Dhabi and five other emirates will allow visitors back for the first time since March.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) said the move would "support recovery plans of the country's tourism sector and economy".

Dubai, which has its own immigration service and separate crisis authority, allowed tourists to return in early June.

ICA said a range of visas would be available with the exception of work permits, which are issued to new residents arriving to take up employment.

The decision will allow non-residents with family living in the Emirates to apply for visas to visit their relatives and aims to boost the country's tourism sector.

International airlines welcomed the move, including Cebu Pacific, a carrier based in the Philippines.

“Cebu Pacific is pleased to learn that many emirates in the UAE have once again started issuing tourist visas to international visitors and travelers as this is a welcome development," said Candice Iyog, the vice president for marketing and customer experience at the airline.

"At the moment, Philippine government regulations limit departures to only essential travel. We remain hopeful and look forward to flying more Filipinos to the UAE once restrictions ease."

Several of the emirates have different procedures for inbound and outbound passengers.

In Abu Dhabi, all arrivals must quarantine in their homes or a hotel room for 14 days. Last week, the authorities said travellers can expect to be fitted with an electronic tag on arrival to monitor their location for two weeks.

In Sharjah, officials said the city was set to welcome tourists as of this week and would test all passengers on arrival. Tourists must stay in their hotel rooms until they receive their results through a text message or app notification. They can move around freely if the results come back negative.

All travellers to the Emirates must take a PCR nasal swab test before boarding their flights in their home country.

Updated: September 25, 2020 10:06 AM

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