Dubai: Indian expats in the UAE have welcomed a move by the UAE to grant visa on arrival to Indians holding a valid US green card or US visa, saying the decision will facilitate tourism and trade, as well as visits by loved ones.
On Wednesday, the UAE Cabinet approved a decision to grant ordinary passport holders from India who have a US visa or green card with a minimum six-month validity to enter the UAE from any point of entry for a period of 14 days, with an option for a one-time extension of the same period.
The decision is “a welcoming step as this will boost the tourism and trade between the two countries”, said Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group. Vachani is also regional director of the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council for the Middle East and president of the Dubai Chamber of Global Organisations of People of Indian Origin.
“The UAE is one of the greatest tourist destinations for Indians and this will further enhance the visit of tourists into the UAE. Since India is second largest partner of the UAE, the trade between the two countries will further boost and, also, bilateral relationship between the two countries will strengthen,” he added.
UAE-India trade has grown to around $60 billion (Dh220 billion) per year, making India the second largest trading partner of UAE. Meanwhile, the number of Indian tourists coming to the UAE last year reached about 1.6 million people, with around 50,000 UAE tourists visiting India in the same year.
Indian expat Mansi, who is a senior immigration consultant in Dubai, said she now expects her relatives in the US to visit the UAE.
“This is great news. My relatives in the US have been thinking about visiting the UAE for a while. With the Cabinet’s decision, they will soon plan to come here. It makes it so much easier. We’re all excited,” said Mansi.
Ashish Gaba, a marketing and communications manager in Sharjah, said the latest measure comes in line with a series of developments bring the two countries closer together.
“The visits of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan [Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces] to India, and the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE have boosted bilateral relations. It’s not just about trade or defence, but also has a social dimension. The latest move is another opportunity for Indians to visit the beautiful country and people of the UAE,” Gaba said.