The United Arab Emirates has announced new visa requirements that may cost travellers up to $1,000. This new fee structure starts this coming weekend with the start of the New Year. The web site of the Ottawa embassy shows the following fee schedule:
1) Multiple Entry Visa, $1000 (Valid for 6 months, maximum stay in UAE 14 days each visit)
2) Long Term Visa, $500 (Valid for 3 months, not renewable)
3) Short Term Visa, $250 (Valid for 30 days, not renewable)
It also states that all visas are valid for 6 months before entering UAE. It is interesting to note that the Canadian web site for Etihad Airways, one of two UAE state airlines, states:
Citizens of the countries listed below are allowed to enter the UAE without a visa prior to arrival. Immigration officials may grant a visit visa, which is valid for 30 days, on arrival at the port of entry.
* Effective 2nd January 2011 the visa on arrival facility is withdrawn for Canadian Nationals. Guests are requested to apply for visa in advance.
Yes, the list of countries eligible for an arrival visa includes the United States, Europe and others but now, not Canada.
Why is this happening? A diplomatic row started earlier this year when the UAE asked to be granted further rights for its two state airlines in Canada. The Harper government refused citing concerns over seeing Canada’s own airlines losing business. And so the fun began.
Since 2001, Canada has maintained a secret military base in Dubai called Camp Mirage. This base was to provide support Canadian forces operations in Southwest Asia, especially Afghanistan. According to Wikipedia:
CTV News disclosed on October 6, 2010 that the Canadian Forces might be closing a facility at a base near Dubai, United Arab Emirates. An unnamed source in the Government of Canada stated that the Government of the United Arab Emirates had threatened to revoke the Canadian Forces’ access to the facility if the Government of Canada did not grant civilian landing rights to Emirates and Etihad Airways at the Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport in Canada. The Government of Canada source continued by stating that Canada was "essentially a pawn in a heavy-handed blackmail scheme and the demands were unacceptable." It was announced on October 11, 2010 that the facility would be closed.
It is reported that 25,000 Canadians reside and work in Dubai and other cities in the UAE. Apparently Canada and UAE have trade worth around $1.5 billion per year.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle.