UAE studying plans to allow transit passengers ‘day out in the city’

Travelers from a number of countries need prior approval for transit visas before they are allowed entry into the UAE. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018

UAE studying plans to allow transit passengers ‘day out in the city’

DUBAI: The UAE government is drawing up plans that will allow transit passengers “a day out in the city,” state news agency WAM reported.

The UAE Cabinet has created a working group, led by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, to formulate the new policy.

When implemented, transit passengers will be encouraged to stay in the Emirates longer and have a chance to explore the country’s tourist attractions, and boost the country’s tourism sector.

“The local aviation industry is one of the most successful international models, having achieved world records and topped many international indicators in a relatively short period,” state news agency WAM reported.

“Transit passengers in the UAE made up 70 percent of the total passengers last year, and an enhanced entry-visa system would have a huge potential to benefit local tourism and economy.”

Travelers from a number of countries need prior approval for transit visas before they are allowed entry in the UAE, while those provided a 96-hour transit visas must fulfil certain criteria including a hotel booking for the duration of their stay as well as the time between their arrival and departure from the country is not less than eight hours.

The general policy being worked on would include visa fees and mechanisms to increase the number of visitors.

Related

UAE stops visa to Pakistanis, Afghans

Author: 
By Syed Faisal Ali, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2001-10-03 03:00

JEDDAH, 3 October — The United Arab Emirates has stopped issuing visas to Pakistani and Afghanistan nationals the world over in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, said Muhammad Nadeem Khan, head of chancery at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai.

Speaking to Arab News by telephone, Khan said that though the consulate has not yet received any official communication in this regard from UAE officials, it has been confirmed from other sources.

The Gulf emirate stopped giving visas to Pakistanis and Afghans for the last 10 days, but there was no official confirmation from any side.

Khan said that a letter was sent by DNATA — the UAE’s civil aviation body — to all airline managers informing them about the government’s decision to stop issuing visas to Pakistanis and Afghans until further notice.

Pakistan International Airlines’ General Manager in Dubai Shahid Latif had forwarded that letter to the consulate, Khan said. “Until today that is the only official communication we have received, and on that basis we have already written to UAE authorities.”

It is also reported that UAE visas of all categories have been stopped for nationals of the two countries. Even transit visas have also been stopped, Khan said. He further said that a lot of Pakistanis are facing hardship due to this decision and have approached them to solve it at the earliest.

Khan said that this precautionary step has been taken by the UAE due to the fear of an impending US attack on Afghanistan, which has refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, to the US.

If visas were being denied only to tourists and others who can wait until the present crisis is resolved, there would not have been much trouble. But according to reports, a blanket ban has been imposed for all the categories. Even those who had gone on vacation and whose visas expired are being denied re-entry to UAE, which may cause them their jobs.

“We are trying our best with UAE authorities to avoid a blanket ban on all Pakistanis,” said Khan. “Businessmen will suffer greatly if denied entry and others cleared by us should at least be given visas.” Khan was, however, optimistic that “the issue would be resolved favorably within a week.”

Pakistani businessmen in the Kingdom, worried by the development, made a representation to their embassy in Riyadh and urged the officials to raise the issue with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to resolve the issue immediately.

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UAE slaps bond requirement for visit visas

Author: 
By a Staff Writer
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2002-05-08 03:00

DUBAI, 8 May — The UAE government yesterday started imposing a 2,000 dirham deposit or bond on sponsors of people who come to the country on a visit visa.

The rules governing this bond requirement, announced by the Ministry of Interior, however, are not clear as yet. It is not stipulated how the deposit is going to be handled or whether it will also cover people who come on transit visas, usually given to select nationalities at the airport, the Gulf News said in a report yesterday.

According to the Immigration and Residency Department at the Ministry of Interior in Abu Dhabi, the 2,000 dirham bond is being imposed to lessen the abuse of visit visas, especially by people who come for extended periods of time looking for jobs. The ministry supervises the immigration and naturalization departments in the seven emirates.

In theory, once the visitor leaves and proof is presented of his or her exit, the money can be refunded.

Sources from the naturalization and residency departments in Ajman, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi said they would impose the "visitor bond" following the ministry directive.

The visitor visa deposit must be deposited in a bank, and the person sponsoring a visitor must present a bank letter or slip bearing evidence of the amount deposited.

Sources from the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department, however, said they have not received any official instructions about the bond yet.

An Interior Ministry source said visit visas are issued to everybody if their sponsors meet certain requirements, including salary limits. Visas are routinely issued to any nationality as long as they are not on a blacklist or have a previous criminal record.

The source explained that the sponsor would be required to pay the deposit 2,000 dirhams for each visa.

"This deposit is to ensure that the visitors will leave the country when their entry permit expires and that they are not staying illegally in the country. It will not be refunded in case they overstay the visa period unless a fine for overstaying is paid," said the source.

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Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

Updated 44 min 38 sec ago

Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

  • Foreign companies are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade US president

Major automakers think US President Donald Trump will again this week push back a self-imposed deadline on whether to put up to 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan amid an ongoing trade war with China, five auto officials told Reuters.

The anticipated delay — expected to be announced later this week — comes as foreign automakers are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade Trump from using tariffs that they argue could cost US jobs.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this month tariffs may not be necessary. EU officials expect Trump to announce a six-month delay when he faces a self-imposed deadline this week. Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

Lighthizer’s office recently asked many foreign automakers to provide a tally of investments they have made in the US, several auto industry officials told Reuters.

The White House and Lighthizer’s office declined to comment.

FASTFACTS

• US is considering 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan.

• President Donald Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican ally of Trump’s, plans to attend a groundbreaking at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga assembly plant where they will mark the beginning of an $800 million expansion to build electric vehicles and add 1,000 jobs. The high-profile event will also include remarks from Germany’s ambassador to the US.

VW announced the plan to begin producing EVs by 2022 in Tennessee in January.

Daimler AG said in late 2017 it planned to invest $1 billion to expand its manufacturing footprint around Tuscaloosa, Alabama, creating more than 600 jobs. Tariffs on Japan seem even less likely than the EU, experts say.

Japanese automakers and suppliers have announced billions of dollars in investments, most notably a $1.6 billion joint venture plant in Alabama by Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a limited trade deal in September cutting tariffs on US farm goods, Japanese machine tools and other products.

Although the agreement does not cover trade in autos, Abe said in September he had received reassurance from Trump that the US would not impose auto tariffs on national security grounds. Lighthizer said the two countries would tackle cars in negotiations expected to start next April.

Stefan Mair, member of the executive board of the BDI German industry association, said a deal to permanently remove the threat of tariffs was needed. “The investments that are not being made are costing us the growth of tomorrow, even in sectors that are seemingly not affected,” he said.

Germany’s merchandise trade surplus with the US — $69 billion in 2018 — remains a sore point with the Trump administration as does Japan’s $67.6 billion
US trade surplus last year — with two-thirds of that in the auto sector.