Dubai has activated its visa-on- arrival facility for Indian nationals holding a valid US visa or a green card. The first Indian national to avail the new facility arrived in the city on 1 May 2017. The Indian national’s arrival was announced by Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs through a post that had the picture of the passenger on the department’s official Instagram handle. The decision to grant Indian passport holders having either a valid US visa or green card a visa-on-arrival facility was approved by the UAE Cabinet in March 2017. The facility was approved to be activated from 1 May. A circular regarding the same was given to all UAE borders points, including airports and ports.
The decision will allow ordinary passport holders from India with a US visa or green card with a minimum six-month validity to enter the country from any point for a period of 14 days. The national would be given an option of a one-time extension of the same period. The move comes within the framework of India and UAE’s long-standing strategic partnership on the promotion of political, economic and trade interests between the two countries. India is UAE’s second largest trade partner with bilateral trade between the two countries exceeding USD 60 billion a year. While UAE’s exports to India amount to about USD 27 billion a year, Indian exports to UAE amount to around USD 33 billion.
The two countries also enjoy historic ties, as almost 2.5 million Indian migrant workers reside in the oil-rich state. Indians also form the largest ethnic group in the UAE, making up roughly 27 per cent of the total UAE’s Dubai residents. These migrant workers have over the years made significant economic contribution to India by transferring billions of dollars to their families living in the country. Over 143 flights ply daily between the cities of the two countries with at least one flight every 10 minutes and around 1000 flights in a week. In 2016, the number of Indians visiting the UAE reached around 1.6 million and about 50,000 tourists from UAE visited India.