Abu Dhabi: The tourist visa fee waiver for children younger than 18 travelling to United Arab Emirates (UAE) came into effect for the first time this summer on Monday.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) announced on Sunday that the latest visa waiver for children under 18, who on conditions of accompanying their parents to the UAE, will further boost inbound tourism of the Gulf country, Khaleej Times reported.
The announcement comes in line with a cabinet decision issued in July of last year, which stipulates this waiver for the Under-18 category from July 15 to September 15 every year.
Major General Saeed Rakan Rashidi, director general of the Foreigners Affairs and Ports Authority, told Gulf News that tourists can apply for the visa through its smart app (ICA UAE e-channels) in the category of family tourist visa, or through its website www.ica.gov.ae.
The authority issues two types of tourist visa, short term for 30 days at Dirham (Dh) 200 single entry, which can be extended twice for 30 days each time, and long term for 90 days at Dh550 that can be extended twice for 30 days each time. The fee to extend costs Dh600 each time.
Rania Kakos Yazbeck, marketing manager of Omeir Travels, said the visa fee exemption is a shot in the arm for the tourism industry.
“July to September are off-peak seasons for tourists. So, this move by the government will definitely encourage more families to visit the UAE during the summer months,” she stressed.
“The summer weather is harsh and that makes many people reluctant to travel to the UAE. But if you look at the cost factor, there is no better time to visit. The hotel rates are cheaper. So is the airfare. Adding to it, if parents do not have to pay for their children’s visa, it is an encouragement for tourists,” Yazbeck was quoted as saying.