A United Arab Emirates passport holder will no longer need a visa to visit the UK as of 2023 after the UAE was added to the list of countries eligible for the United Kingdom’s Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system. With the landmark announcement, UAE nationals will no longer need visas to visit the UK. This brings the UK in line with its key trading partners, such as the USA and Canada.
UAE citizens traveling to the UK each year will benefit enormously from the decision. This will further cement the UK as one of the most popular tourist destinations for Emiratis. A wider economic and diplomatic relationship between the UAE and the UK will be strengthened further with enhanced UAE access to the UK.
A major trading partner of the United Kingdom in the Middle East, the UAE is a fast-growing export market for UK goods. Following the signing of the Partnership for the Future and the Sovereign Investment Partnership last year, the UAE and the UK have strengthened their collaboration across a number of areas, including energy transition, sustainability, education, and cultural development.
Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the UK, commented, “Achieving greater ease of travel for Emiratis seeking to visit the UK has been one of our top priorities. Their travel to the UK for leisure or business will be significantly simplified. Today’s historic achievement will also serve to strengthen the close diplomatic relationship between the UAE and the UK and spur further growth in our economies. It indicates the high regard in which the UAE is held in the UK and internationally.”
The UK Home Office announced that the decision would extend to other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as part of the government’s move to a fully digital border by the end of 2025. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel commented that the UAE and other Gulf states “will be among the first countries in the world to benefit from ETAs and visa-free travel to the UK”.