On Monday, the United Arab Emirates was added to the United Kingdom’s list of countries eligible for its new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system, removing visa restrictions for UAE passport holders to the UK from 2023.
Through the landmark announcement, UAE nationals will no longer require a visa to visit the UK, bringing rules in line with other key partners to the UK, including the USA and Canada. The decision will further cement the UK as one of the most popular tourist destinations for Emiratis and will hugely benefit the many UAE citizens visiting the UK each year.
In addition, granting the UAE greater access to the UK will further strengthen the significant economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The UAE is one of the UK’s most important trading partners in the region and one of the fastest-growing markets for UK exports. Through the signing of the Partnership for the Future and the Sovereign Investment Partnership last year, the UAE and UK continue to strengthen collaboration across a variety of areas, such as energy transition, sustainability, education, and cultural development.
Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the UK, commented, "Achieving greater ease of travel for Emiratis seeking to visit the UK has been one of our top priorities. Their travel to the UK for leisure or business will be hugely simplified. Today’s historic achievement will also serve to strengthen the close diplomatic relationship between the UAE and the UK and spur further growth in our economies. It indicates the high regard in which the UAE is held in the UK and internationally."
The decision, which has been extended to other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was announced by the UK Home Office and is part of the UK Government’s move to a fully digital border by the end of 2025.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel
commented that the UAE and other Gulf states "will be among the first countries in the world to benefit from ETAs and visa-free travel to the UK".
Prior to the ETA system, which is set to be rolled out in 2023, UAE nationals visiting the UK can continue to use Electronic Visa Waivers, which allow individuals to complete an online waiver for each visit to the UK.