Indian passengers flying to different destinations through Dubai or Abu Dhabi will not have to spend anything on their stay for up to 48 hours, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Cabinet has decided. The move is part of several big decisions taken by the UAE Cabinet on Wednesday with regard to foreign workers’ insurance in the private sector and a legislative package of visa facilitation.
The UAE government has decided to grant free transit visas to all the Indian passengers travelling to other parts of the world through Dubai or Abu Dhabi. After the implementation of this order, the Indian passengers will not have to pay anything to stay in Dubai or Abu Dhabi for up to 48 hours.
This duration can be extended up to 96 hours or four days by paying just 50 Dirham (about Rs 930). The date when the new norm comes into effect is yet to be announced. The passengers will be able to obtain these transit visas from a number of express counters at the passport-control hall across UAE airports.
The decision taken was during a cabinet meeting chaired by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The gulf nation is already the single largest destination for Indian travellers and 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 Cabinet also approved a decision to grant people overstaying their visa, a chance to leave the country voluntarily without a “no entry” passport stamp. It will also issue a new 6-month visa for the job seekers who overstayed their visa but wish to work in the country.
The Cabinet believes that this move will improve UAE’s position as a land of opportunities and a destination for talents and professionals.
As far as Indians are considered, UAE is already the single biggest international destination for travellers. India also serves as the number one source market for the emirate. In 2017, Abu Dhabi attracted over 3.60 lakh Indian tourists, 11% more than the previous year.
The other Gulf countries are also trying their best to woo Indian travellers and are relaxing visa norms. UAE grants visa on arrival to Indian Nationals with a valid US Visa and Oman will also do the same to Indians who reside in or hold a visa to US, Canada, Australia, UK, Japan and the Schengen States.