UAE passport power: Emiratis now granted visa on arrival in Russia

Move comes after Russian passport holders were granted free 30-day visas to the UAE last year

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow last year.
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UAE citizens can now obtain a visa on arrival in Russia as part of a growing partnership between the two countries.

The change in policy, which came into force on Sunday, follows an agreement struck last July granting Russian passport holders a free 30-day visa on arrival in the UAE, with the option to extend for another month for a fee.

The change was praised as a sign of the flourishing friendship between the UAE and Russia when it was announced last year.

It followed a June 2018 meeting between Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Ahmed Sari Al Mazrouei, under-secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said the initiative highlighted bilateral relations between the UAE and Russia, and would open new opportunities for Emirati citizens in tourism, investment, trade and cultural exchange.

The travel deals come on the back of a surge in the number of Russian tourists coming to the UAE.

During the first eight months of last year, there was a 64.8 per cent increase in the number of tourists travelling from Russia to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

That came in spite of a dip in the value of the Russian rouble against the dirham.

In the past, Emiratis had to obtain a pre-entry visa for Russia.

Russia is the latest country to offer Emirati citizens visa-free entry, adding to the UAE passport's status as the world's most powerful travel document.

The UAE achieved the feat last year in the global Passport Index before its 47th National Day celebrations.