On Monday, the first United Arab Emirates Cabinet meeting of 2020 revealed the country’s first multi-entry five-year tourist visa.
The visa will allow tourists to enter the UAE on multiple occasions over the course of five years, according to the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
No other details have so far been released, and it is unclear if there will be a fee to apply for the new visa.
Tourists are currently able to use a free multiple-entry visa to enter the UAE for a duration of just 90 days.
The new visa, which is to be introduced over the course of the next four months, is intended to help make the UAE a major destination for global tourism and is one aspect of a bigger plan to ensure that the country develops over the course of the next 50 years.
21 million visitors come to the UAE every year at present, Sheikh Mohammed says, but 2020 is going to be different because it is the year that the future of the Emirates is going to be planned out.
Despite an increase in the number of Chinese, Filipino and Omani visitors of late, Dubai was unable to succeed in its goal of having 20 million visitors by the year 2020.
The emirate is on course to hit 16 million visitors in 2020, according to figures from the first nine months of 2019, but there was a fall in the number of visitors from India, Russia and the UK.
2019’s achievements were reviewed by ministers in the Cabinet meeting, which also saw the new visa being given approval.
All nationalities will be able to gain access to the new visa, Sheikh Mohammed says.
The move is likely to boost the UAE travel industry and make it simpler for residents to have their relatives brought over for holidays.
Longer multiple-entry visas are the most recent change to the visa system in the UAE.
Other changes have included five-year visas for the smartest university graduates in addition to visas lasting as long as 10 years for business owners who have significant assets in the UAE.
Visitors from a number of countries can currently get a 30-day visa at the airport upon arrival in the UAE, as well as a grace period of 10 days.
This includes visitors from Ireland, China, Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.
A 90-day visa can also be secured by European visitors from the Schengen Area, which includes Russia, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and many members of the EU.
Paid-for visas are required by other nationalities – these range from $10 for a two-day visa to $90 for a 30-day visa.
These visas include the likes of India, the Philippines and Pakistan.
Anyone who is travelling to the UAE should take out travel insurance before they set off on their journey to ensure that they are protected against the financial repercussions of cancelled flights and lost luggage.