UAE to charge Canadians almost US$1,000 for visas

By Charmaine Noronha, AP

TORONTO–The United Arab Emirates embassy in Canada announced it will charge Canadians up to US$998 for visas, pricing that exceeds usual international visa fees. The embassy posted the new rates on its website, including a 30-day, non-renewable visa that will cost US$249, a three-month visa for US$499, and a six-month multiple entry for US$998. The fees come into effect Jan. 2, about three months after the UAE announced that Canadians would now be required to get visas. Previously, Canadians, like travelers from the U.S. and 30 other countries, didn’t have to apply for a visa and simply had their passports stamped on arrival. Some 25,000 Canadians live in the Emirates, which is Canada’s largest trade partner in the Middle East, according to the UAE. About 200 Canadian companies have operations in the Gulf state. Melissa Lantsman, a spokeswoman for Canada’s foreign affairs minister, said the department was not contacted before the embassy posted the fees on its website. The UAE’s ambassador to Canada could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The UAE’s decision to require visas was announced in Nov. amid a bitter dispute between the two countries after Canada’s Conservative government refused to grant extra landing rights to two major UAE airlines. The UAE has pushed Canada for years to win greater access for its state-run carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways, arguing they should be allowed more flights to keep up with demand.

Air Canada has argued against increasing the flights. It says the airlines are merely taking Canadians to third countries with stopovers in the Gulf.