China to grant visa-free entry to UAE citizens

The UAE granted Chinese passport holders visa-on-arrival entry in 2016



China is to grant UAE citizens visa free entry next year in an attempt to boost visitor numbers.

An agreement signed between the two countries on Tuesday will allow UAE nationals travelling with regular passports to stay in China for up to 30 days without a pre-entry visa from January 16, according to The National.

The move comes as the UAE experiences a surge in Chinese tourists after granting citizens of China visa-on-arrival entry to the country last year.

Read: UAE to offer visas on arrival to Chinese visitors

The UAE has seen 800,000 Chinese visitors in the past year from 600,000 in 2016, according to government figures.

However, only 10,000 Emiratis have visited China in 2017, according to the country’s embassy in Abu Dhabi.

China opened a Middle East visa application centre in Dubai in September in an attempt to speed of applications.

Dubai has air links to 13 Chinese cities, as well as Hong Kong, with more than 100 weekly flights. China is the city’s biggest trading partner and the UAE’s second largest trading partner thanks largely part to oil exports.

The two countries are also working on trade links as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative including at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.

Read: Bank of China to provide financing in Abu Dhabi industrial zone