UAE citizens will soon be able to travel visa-free to Canada.
The visa waiver was announced on Monday by the Canadian minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, during a meeting with the UAE minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The waiver comes into effect from June 5, 2018 and will be valid for short stays (normally for up to six months) for business, to visit family and friends or for tourism, a statement said.
The decision is based on a “comprehensive and rigourous evaluation of the UAE against Canada’s visa policy criteria. The evaluation found that the UAE meets Canada’s criteria for a visa exemption”, the statement added.
However Emiratis will need an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to fly to, or transit through a Canadian airport, which can be applied online. The eTA will enable Canadian officials to screen travellers for admissibility before they board their flight to Canada.
Meanwhile Emiratis looking to study or work temporarily in Canada will still need to apply for a study or work permit.
The UAE revoked the visa requirement for Canadian citizens in June 2013, after withdrawing the waiver in 2011.
“The United Arab Emirates is a key strategic partner and lifting the visa requirement will help reaffirm the strong relationship between our two countries,” said Hussen.
“It will also promote increased tourism, cultural, academic and study exchanges, as well as foster new business, trade, and investment opportunities.”
The latest agreement follows similar visa-waiver deals announced by the UAE this year with countries including Tonga, China, Ireland, Paraguay and Guinea.
Also on Monday, it was revealed that UAE citizens can visit the South American country of Guyana without obtaining a visa in advance.
The move is intended to boost bilateral ties, trade and tourism between the two countries.
The Emirates climbed 11 places to 27th on citizenship firm Henley & Partners’ 2018 passport ranking with visa-free travel to more than 134 countries.
A recent update to the ranking showed the country had moved to 23rd after jumping four places in two months, with visa-free access to 154 destinations.
The ministry has a target of making the UAE passport among the five best globally for international travel by 2021.