UAE, EU sign historic Schengen visa waiver agreement

UAE, EU sign historic Schengen visa waiver agreement

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the European Union (EU) have signed a reciprocal bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreement exempting the UAE citizens from Schengen visa and making the UAE the first Arab country to receive such a visa waiver for its nationals.

From today, citizens of the United Arab Emirates who hold diplomatic, special, service and ordinary passports will be able to travel without a visa to 34 EU countries which make up the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days (within any 180-day period of one year).

The UAE Ambassador to the EU, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Belgium, Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui, and the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the EU, Ilze Juhansone, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, signed the reciprocal bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreement in Brussels.

Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, Abdul Rahim Yousef Al Awadhi; Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Mohammed Mir Al Raissi; Director of Consular Services at MoFA, Ambassador Ahmed Elham Al Dhaheri; Director of the Communications Department at MoFA Mariam Al Falasi; and members of the UAE Embassy in Brussels attended the signing ceremony.

Al Raissi extended greetings to the leadership and people of the UAE on "this historic achievement which demonstrates the respect the UAE enjoys in the international community and the close cooperation with the EU."

He added that the exemption came as a success for the UAE diplomacy and as a result of the close follow up by Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

On the factors that accelerated the decision to exempt UAE citizens from Schengen visa requirement, Al Raissi said: "The UAE doesn't have illegal immigrants seeking jobs in Europe. Moreover, the UAE is considered an oasis of security and safety. He also attributed it to the growing trade exchange, mutual interests and increasing number of flights between the UAE and EU."

In a speech delivered after the signing, Ambassador Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui said waiving off the Schengen visa will provide the privilege to the UAE citizens to travel to 34 member states and principalities in the European Union.

He indicated that the waiver will include travelling with any of the UAE valid passports without having to undertake any online procedures or file any applications. The Schengen visa allows the UAE citizen multiple entries and a stay up to 90 days within a period of 6 months or 180 days in the Schengen zone.

"This achievement puts the icing on the cake and complements the already strong and growing bonds between the UAE and the European Union. It will no doubt improve many fields such as trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges. It also recognizes the leading role of the UAE in all aspects in the region. Today, I would like to extend a warm congratulation to the leadership of the UAE and its people who aspire to always enjoy the best.

"I would also like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, for his leadership. Thanks to him, this initiative places the UAE in a unique position in the Arab World. A sincere thanks and appreciation go also to His Excellency Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, for his continuous help and understanding. I am also indebted to all of those who contributed to this unique achievement in the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. The same goes for the UAE friendship group in the European Parliament."

He also said, "This achievement would not have been realized without the support of my colleagues in the Foreign Ministry and UAE Ambassadors in the EU, as well as my colleagues in the UAE Embassy in Brussels and our consultants."