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Russia begins implementing visa waiver for UAE nationals

Russia begins implementing visa waiver for UAE nationals

The two countries had signed a mutual visa waiver agreement last year

Russia has started the implementation of its visa waiver policy for UAE citizens from Sunday, February 17.

The two countries had signed an agreement last year, allowing the mutual exemption from visa requirements of UAE and Russian citizens with regular passports.

“Citizens of the UAE from the regular passport holders can travel to the Federal Republic of Russia without prior visas as of Sunday, February 17, based on the agreement signed in the Russian city of Kazan on July 6, 2018,” the UAE embassy in Moscow confirmed on Twitter.

The initiative highlights the “growing bilateral relations between the UAE and Russia” and will open new opportunities for UAE citizens in the areas of tourism, investment, trade and cultural exchange, said Ahmed Sari Al Mazrouei, under-secretary of the UAE’s ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The number of Russian citizens who visited the UAE in 2017 reached 579,608 visitors, while the number of UAE tourists who visited Russia during the year 2016 stood 1,085 visitors, the ministry said in a statement. 

The number of weekly flights between the two countries reached 84, operated by UAE national carriers Etihad, Emirates and flydubai. 

The UAE has made improving the power of its passport a priority, with the aim of making the document among the top five in the world by 2021.

In December last year, the country’s passport emerged as the “most powerful in the world” after a series of visa agreements, according to the Passport Index produced by Arton Capital.

The index said that UAE citizens could visit 167 countries without needing a visa, compared to 166 for German and Singaporean passport holders and 165 for a number of European countries, South Korea and the United States.

Read more: UAE passport ranked world’s most powerful

Meanwhile the latest Henley Passport Index, released earlier this year, found that the UAE ranked at 22 globally, up five spots from last year, offering visa-free access to 164 destinations worldwide.

Read: World’s best and worst passports for travel in 2019

Last month, it was also announced that UAE citizens will receive visas on arrival in Pakistan as part of new visa regulations launched in the country.

Read more: Pakistan to offer visa on arrival to UAE citizens

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