Indian passport holders with a valid American visa or a Green Card will now be eligible to obtain a UAE visa on arrival, as per the decree approved by the UAE Cabinet, it was announced on Wednesday.
The visa will be valid for 14 days, with a single extension possible for a fee.
The decision to have a simplified visa process is aimed at advancing the UAE-India relations in economic, politics, and trade. It also contributes to achieving UAE’s vision to be the leading country in attracting global tourism.
“Citizens of the Republic of India who are holders of normal passports with a six-month, or more, valid green card or visa issued by the United States of America shall be granted entry visas to the UAE from all ports for a period of 14 days, subject for a single renewal for the same period upon payment of applicable fees,” an official statement said.
According to latest figures, the UAE-India trade has grown to around $60 billion (Dh220 billion) per annum, making India the second largest trading partner of UAE. The UAE exports to India totalled $27 billion (Dh99 billion) while Indian exports to UAE totalled $33 billion (Dh121 billion).
India is investing about $70 billion (Dh257 billion) in the UAE through 45,000 Indian companies, while the UAE is investing $10 billion (Dh36 billion) in the Indian sectors of energy, metallurgical industry, services, technology and construction. A number of UAE companies invest and operate in India such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (ADNEC), Emaar, and Dubai Ports World (DPP), which currently operates in six major ports in India.
The number of Indian tourists coming to the UAE last year reached about 1.6 million Indian tourists, and there were about 50,000 UAE tourists who visited India in the same year. There are about 143 flights a day between the UAE and Indian cities, at a rate of 1000 flights per week.
Strong bonds of friendship between UAE and India have found clear expression in the series of high-level bilateral visits between the two countries in the past two years, The move of granting entry visas to the UAE aligns itself with the close cooperation between the two countries.
Deep historical ties between the UAE and India were further accelerated by the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in 2015, which was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister after 34 years.
The UAE reciprocated with an official visit where His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met Modi in the Indian capital, New Delhi in February 2016 to discuss ways to strengthen the cooperation and friendship between the two countries.
In January 2017, Shaikh Mohammad was the chief guest of India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations, which marked a momentous occasion in relations between India and the UAE and saw the signing of 14 wide-ranging agreements including a strategic comprehensive partnership and deals on defence and maritime cooperation. The agreements added a new momentum to their deepening bilateral engagement.