Dubai Makes Celebrating Eid, Christmas and New Year Easier for Visitors

Published December 12th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department is issuing visit visas more quickly at this time of the year to make it easier for tourists to come to the emirate for the Eid and Christmas holidays, the Gulf News reported, quoting top official as saying. 

But, that step was not to break laws or to make any exceptional in issuing visas. 

“The system and the law had to be followed in issuing any kind of visa for people of any nationality. The immigration law of the country was the same whether there were special events, celebrations, or not,” Colonel Saeed Mattar bin Bleilah, Director General of the Department said. 

Bin Bleilah was quoted by the Dubai-based paper as saying that "at this time of the year a lot of events come in one month, such as Dubai The City that Cares, the Eid Al Fitr holiday, and Christmas celebrations. Then there are New Year celebrations, and the Dubai Shopping Festival.  

"Because of these occasions a large number of expatriates of different nationalities and different religions, bring their families from home to visit the UAE." 

Bin Bleilah added that the department was trying to issue visit visas for the public in a short time. For that reason work in the department continued till 3pm to give applicants more time and to reduce pressure on the department.  

According to Bin Bleilah the number of visitors to the country this year for the coming events is much higher than last year. Visitors are coming from all over the world. But the number of visitors from Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and other European countries has risen.  

"Under new laws issued by the Interior Ministry, entry permits are being issued for the citizens of 33 European countries to enter the country without a visa charge. The charge will be for renewing the visa only. This law has raised the number of foreign visitors greatly," Bin Bleilah said. 

He said a large number of tourists usually entered the country for the Dubai Shopping Festival. A start has not yet been made on issuing visas for this event. 

This policy comes parallel to the major step, when UAE’s ministry of interior announced in March that it will grant citizens of 33 European, American and Far Eastern countries entry without a visa.  

According to the minister the new circular will boost the “friendly” relations with countries that have common interests with the UAE.  

The European countries involved are France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino and Liechtenstein.  

Visitors from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong will also be allowed to enter the UAE without first obtaining a visit visa.  

Visitors from the UK already enjoy the facility since they receive an automatic 28-day visit visa on arrival.  

Citizens of GCC countries do not need visas to enter the Gulf state –

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