EU Visa restrictions may be lifted on UAE citizens

Citizens of the UAE may be the first Arabs allowed free tourist entry into the EU.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has recently put forth a  recommendation that visa requirements to enter the EU for nationals of the UAE should be lifted.

“There is no risk of illegal immigration. Trips made by UAE nationals to Europe are mainly for business, tourism, studies or health care,” a member of the committee, Mariya Gabriel, said. In turn the UAE will also waive any visa requirements for EU citizens.

This is not the first time such a recommendation has been put forth. In February of this year, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Butti Al Hamed told the UAE State TV agency : “The UAE wishes to express its appreciation over the fact that its request to be included among the countries whose citizens do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen Area is currently under serious consideration by the European Union.” The request for visa requirements to be dropped has been under consideration by EU government bodies for nearly two years to date.

Some member states proposed to the European Commission the exemption for the UAE, but Austria, Germany and Belgium have opposed the proposal, an EU official said. To remove visa requirements for a country, all 27 nations in the EU must agree.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will vote on the proposal in the following weeks and should it pass it will go before the full European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for their approval by mid-2014.



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