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New UAE visas set to hit Canadian travellers

New UAE visas set to hit Canadian travellers

Canadian visitors to the United Arab Emirates face paying up to $1,000 for a visa following a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The controversial move follows a decision by the Canadian government to refuse extra landing rights at the country’s airports to two major UAE airlines.

Emirates and Etihad airlines were both denied an increase in access earlier this year.

The decision exposed divisions in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet.

Transport minister John Baird led the charge around the cabinet table to deny extra landing rights, while by defence minister Peter MacKay was concerned the decision would negatively effect Canadian relations with one of its closest Arab allies.

Camp Mirage military base, outside Dubai, was the key staging ground for the Canadian Forces mission in Afghanistan.

However, the UAE has issued an eviction notice.

The cost of moving the Forces’ supply mission from Camp Mirage has been pegged at $300 million by Canadian officials.


Tourism Tax

Under the new regulations, a 30-day, non-renewable visa will cost $250, a three-month visa $500, and a six-month multiple entry visa will cost travellers $1,000.

The fees – which were announced in the autumn - come into effect on January 1st

The UAE, particularly its city state of Dubai, is major travel hub linking Europe, Asia and Africa.

Despite the costs the Canadian government is refusing to back down.

Melissa Lantsman, spokeswoman for foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, said: “Canada is a sovereign nation, and we make our decisions based on what is in the best interests of Canadians,” said Melissa Lantsman.

It is thought the decision to deny greater access to the UAE airlines was based on the assumption that Canadian airlines would suffer.

This is of particular concern at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.