UAE updates ‘visa-free’ policy to 82 countries, to boost tourism, investments

No visa needed for India, China, and GCC nationals
UAE updates ‘visa-free’ policy to 82 countries, to boost tourism, investments
Strategy to further boost tourism and investment in the UAE

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that residents from 82 nations, including those belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), can now enter UAE with no visa. The strategy is seen as providing further boost to the UAE’s robust tourism sector. In addition, it will further open up inward investment opportunities for the UAE.

Apart from the UAE, the GCC comprises Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. These particular countries only need to present a valid passport or an identification card upon arrival at any UAE entry point.


The 82 countries granted visa-free entry also include India, Israel, Greece, Australia, USA, Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, Ukraine, Russia, and Brazil, among others.

Additionally, Indian nationals with ordinary passports with a six-month validity from their date of arrival and who meet additional criteria, such as holding a US visit visa or resident card or a resident visa from the UK and European Union countries (also valid for at least six months), qualify for a 14-day visa upon arrival. Qualified Indians can extend this for an additional 14 days if necessary.

According to Skift’s State of Travel Report 2023, UAE was the second fastest-growing global destination last year, next to Austria. With 22.7 mn tourist arrivals, it was also the most visited Middle Eastern country in 2022. This figure surpassed the country’s 2019 levels.

India was the UAE’s top source market, with around 806,000 arrivals. This was followed by Russia, the UK, and Saudi Arabia.

Read: UAE visa regulations have changed: Advanced Visa System

115 countries still need a visa

A total of 115 other countries are still required to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in the UAE. Among these are several countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, such as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and Türkiye.

For the complete list, visit the dedicated webpage of UAE’s foreign ministry. Additionally, travelers can visit the website of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security or reach out to their respective airlines for supplementary guidance.

The UAE Digital Government also emphasized that people not falling under visa exemption or visa-on-arrival categories are required to obtain an entry permit. They must complete it through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs before their arrival.

As for UAE citizens, those wishing to travel abroad can access 127 countries without securing a visa. Of which, eight require an electronic travel authorization. Furthermore, they can visit 53 countries either with an electronic visa or a visa upon airport arrival. This makes the UAE passport the most powerful passport in the world, according to the Passport Index website.

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