Ghanaians seeking to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now do so with ease following the approval of a visa-free deal between the two countries. An agreement to offer visa-free entry to Ghanaians and UAE passport holders has been approved by Parliament.

The visa waiver agreement, which was contained in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Ghana and the UAE on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements, is in respect of diplomatic, service/special, and ordinary passport holders.

The agreement was executed on November 18, 2019, with the object of waiving the visa requirements for these passport holders in Ghana and the UAE, who can stay for a period not exceeding 90 days.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, presented the MoU to the House on May 26, 2021, which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration and report following Order 140(4) and 183 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Bryan Acheampong, Chairman of Ghana’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, noted that Ghana has had fruitful co-operation with the UAE and is willing to deepen the relationship with Ghanaian citizens and officials of the United Arab Emirates.

“The agreement, which constitutes a comprehensive framework on visa regimes for both countries accordingly made provisions to cover the diplomatic, service, and ordinary passports for nationals of both countries,” Mr. Acheampong said.

Explaining further, Mr. Acheampong said; “the Agreement did not impose obligations on the two parties to admit people who are considered to be of questionable character into their territories, neither did it impose any financial obligation on the two parties while neither country will obtain direct financial gains from their implementation.”

The Abetifi MP said the agreement had been fashioned in a way to create a win-win situation for both countries, and added that relaxed visa entry requirement is expected to yield tremendous benefits to citizens of Ghana and UAE through improved relations, trade, and bilateral cooperation.

Mr. Acheampong stated that visa waiver arrangements to facilitate the movement of diplomats and government officials are common, except that this one makes ordinary passport holders beneficiaries.