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UAE Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas for All Seven Emirates Including Abu Dhabi

UAE Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas for All Seven Emirates Including Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will start issuing tourist visas for all seven emirates including Abu Dhabi after a near seven-month suspension. While Dubai reopened to tourists back in July, the other six emirates kept their borders closed to all but citizens and residents as part of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said in a statement carried by the official state WAM news agency that the decision to start issuing entry permits was part of a wider framework to ease Coronavirus restrictions and support the recovery plans of the tourism sector.

The statement said the “decision also follows the precautionary measures undertaken by the travel industry to reduce the spread of COVID-19”. The resumption of entry permits began immediately after the statement was posted on Thursday although many industry partners including Etihad Airways appears to have been caught off guard.

As of Friday afternoon, Etihad is still advising passengers that only citizens and residency permit holders are allowed entry to Abu Dhabi. Even once that mistake is corrected, tourists might not feel so welcome in the emirate.

Currently, Abu Dhabi imposes a 14-day home quarantine with new arrivals expected to wear a GPS ankle tag to keep a track on their movements. In contrast, tourists entering Dubai are allowed free movement around the emirate but have to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate dated within 72-hours of arrival.

The emirate of Sharjah also plans to fully reopen to tourists but will require a COVID-19 test on arrival and a mandatory quarantine until the test results are returned.

On Friday, the ministry of health reported a further 1,008 new confirmed coronavirus cases within the last 24-hours. Officials have blamed a recent spike in cases on people failing to observe social distancing guidelines and other preventative measures.

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