Passengers flying through United Arab Emirates can now spend a day or two exploring places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi as the UAE government has decided to grant free transit visas for first 48 hours to transit passengers. This visa can also be extended up to 96 hours by paying 50 Dirham.
The implementation date, however, has not been decided. The government also announced that a number of express counter at the passport-control hall across UAE airports will be set up for obtaining quick transit visa.
According to a report of The Times of India, the decision to grant free 48-hour transit visas is expected to further increase the number of visitors to UAE as nearly 75% of people flying on Gulf, including UAE, carriers are only transiting through those hubs between India and rest of the world.
The report states that UAE is already the single biggest international destination for Indian travellers. Almost a quarter of all international travel to and from India happens on mega UAE carriers like Emirates, flyDubai and Etihad. Jet Airways, in which Etihad has a 24% stake, also serves as a feeder to Etihad’s long haul flights to Abu Dhabi.
“The move by UAE to exempt transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours is significant. Travellers who have onward connections can now stay in the UAE and enjoy a range of attractions that the various Emirates have to offer. In fact, this will give a boost to Dubai and Abu Dhabi which are promoting its attractions aggressively in the Indian market,” Karan Anand of travel major Cox & Kings told TOI.
According to Dubai Tourism Department, Dubai attracted over 2.1 million Indian tourists in 2017 — 15% more than the previous year. India is the number one source market for the emirate,” said a senior official of a travel major.
UAE ha also announced a number of changes in its rules including a review of residency system to allow a two-year extension of the residence period for the dependents of their parents after completing the university studies.
Besides, UAE has also introduced a new 6-month visa for job seekers who stay after the expiry of their visa but wish to work in the country. The new visa can be obtained without leaving the country, by paying a fee.