Canadians face up to $1,000 visa fees in Emirates

Reuters, Wednesday 29 Dec 2010

A diplomatic row over landing rights raised the tension between the two countries

Many carriers from Emirates failed to gain greater access to Canada.

Canadian nationals will have to pay as much as $1,000 in visa fees to travel to the United Arab Emirates from next month, the latest development in a diplomatic row over landing rights.

Tensions have risen between the two countries since Canada denied expanded landing rights for UAE airlines flying to Canada. That triggered a UAE government decision to end access to a military base used by the Canadian military to support troops in Afghanistan.

The UAE embassy in Ottawa said on its website that Canadians would be charged $250 for a 30-day single entry visa while a six-month multiple entry visa would cost $1000, with a maximum stay of 14 days during each visit.

Canada was among more than 30 mostly Western countries whose citizens benefited from a UAE visa waiver, but a UAE official said in November that Canadians must obtain a visa in advance to travel from Jan. 2 to the Gulf state, which includes regional tourism hub Dubai and major oil exporter Abu Dhabi.

Dubai carrier Emirates has been lobbying the Canadian government to boost its thrice-weekly direct flights to Toronto and more Canadian destinations, with support from the UAE government, but failed to gain greater access. Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways also wants to increase its flights.

"With 25,000 Canadians living in the well as 200 Canadian companies active in the UAE today, six flights per week does not service the economic needs of both countries or the potential for growth," the UAE ambassador said in a statement.

UAE's efforts to gain more landing rights in Canada has been criticised by Air Canada , which has accused Emirates of wanting to steal away connecting passengers that help make its routes profitable.

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