Indian nationals who hold a valid US visa or green card will soon be able to receive entry visas on arrival in the UAE.
The decree was approved by the UAE Cabinet on Wednesday, according to state news agency WAM.
“Under the new move, ordinary passport holders from India who have a US visa or green card with a minimum six-month validity can enter the country from any point of entry for a period of 14 days, with an option for a one-time extension of the same period,” WAM said.
The report indicated that the decision was aimed at improving economic, political, trade and tourism ties between the UAE and India.
Bilateral trade between the two countries stands at $60bn annually (as per the 2014 figures – the latest available), but is projected to reach $100bn by 2020.
During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE in 2015, the two countries also announced a $75bn joint infrastructure fund that would invest in India’s infrastructure development. UAE is India’s fifth biggest oil supplier.
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In terms of tourism, Dubai’s tourism agency welcomed about 1.6 million Indians last year – making the country the emirate’s largest source market for the first time. This represented an increase of 26 per cent year-on-year.
For Abu Dhabi as well, India emerged as the largest overseas market for tourism last year, with visitor numbers reaching 323,300 – up 15 per cent year-on-year.
India has been named the largest growing outbound tourism market in percentage terms, with the UNWTO predicting 50 million Indians will travel overseas annually by 2020.
The new rules are expected to boost Indian tourist numbers, with Dubai noting a significant increase in Chinese and Russian arrivals in the first two months of the year after passport holders from both countries were granted visa on arrival entry.