EU, UAE ink visa-free travel agreement

7 May 15

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, EUROPEAN UNION

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The European Union and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement Wednesday that sets the stage for short-stay visa-free travel between most EU countries and the UAE.

What does the change mean? The agreement will allow visa-free travel for most EU nationals to the UAE and for UAE nationals to most EU countries for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. The U.K. and Ireland are not party to the deal.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The agreement must be “ratified or approved” by the EU and the UAE “in accordance with their respective internal procedures.”
  • Who is affected: EU and UAE nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: The arrangement will save travelers significant amounts of time because they will not be required to obtain visas for stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
  • Business impact: Short-stay business travelers are among those covered.
  • Next steps: The agreement will enter into force on the “first day of the second month” following ratification by the European Parliament and the UAE.

Background: Under the terms, EU and UAE nationals with valid passports will be eligible for visa-free travel for tourism, culture, scientific activities, family visits and business. The agreement does not cover “paid activity.” All EU countries with the exception of the U.K. and Ireland are included in the agreement.

BAL Analysis: The agreement signed Wednesday has been more than a year in the making, and is intended to facilitate business travel between EU and UAE nationals.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the United Arab Emirates. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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