Kids traveling to the UAE this summer get free visas
THE United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) visa policies are evolving to attract more tourists.
In early July, Russian passport holders were granted 90 days visa-free access to the UAE within any 180 day period.
In June, the UAE announced a free 48-hour transit visa for all passengers flying through Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. So those on long layovers or those who just fancy a shopping trip can head out of the airport at no extra cost.
Students don’t have to worry about what to do after they graduate in the UAE for an extra two years either, as visa policies have been relaxed for graduates who depend on their parents.
In the most recent visa policy developments, the UAE announced a new regulation which allows traveling families to claim free visas for children under 18 years old.
However, the families must be traveling between July 15 and Sep 15, 2018.
The recent visa offering is part of Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020 with the key objective of attracting 20 million visitors per year by 2020.
Last year, the oil-rich nation welcomed a record-breaking 15.8 million foreign tourists, with India being the largest supplier of travelers.
Previously, a 14-day vacation for a family traveling to the UAE from India in a party of two adults and two minors, for example, would cost AED480 (US$132) for visas.
But not anymore.
Families can now splash the cash they would have spent on visas on entertainment instead, and there’s plenty of family fun to be had in the UAE.
With summer lasting all year round in the UAE, travelers needn’t worry about rainy afternoons ruining plans.
Here are some of the best family-oriented activities to enjoy in the UAE between July and September.
“Something awesome every day” is Legoland’s moto and while it’s not unique to Dubai, it’s still super fun.
The six themed lands in the park pay homage to children’s imaginations with adventure rollercoasters, mini planes, a boating school, a submarine experience, and much more.
There is also a Legoland Water Park on the same site for when the day gets really hot and the kids need to cool off.
- Address: Sheikh Zayed Road, opposite Palm Jebel Ali.
Cost: A day pass for Legoland Dubai starts at Dh295 (US$80). A combined ticket for Legoland Dubai and Legoland Dubai Water Park starts at Dh395 (US$107).
- Opening hours: Legoland Dubai is open from 12pm-8pm and Legoland Dubai Water Park 10am-6pm.
Kite Beach is arguably one of Dubai’s coolest beaches and it’s dedicated to kids having fun.
It houses a skate park, a trampoline park, and an adventure gym for those who prefer dry land to the sea.
But for the water babies in your family, it’s a great place to swim in the warm Persian Gulf and collect shells nuzzled into the sand.
- Address: Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim.
- Opening hours: 24 hours a day.
Take advantage of Dubai’s natural surroundings in the Arabian Desert.
There are plenty of different activities to experience in Dubai’s part of the Arabian Desert depending on the age of the children in your traveling party.
Explore the dunes on camelback, learn to sandboard, go on a desert safari, or camp beneath the stars.
Eastern Mangrove Lagoon national park
Get out of Abu Dhabi’s dry heat in the city and explore nearly 20 kilometers of lush wilderness along the coastline.
Spot flocks of pink flamingos shaking their heads in the reeds or rent double kayaks to explore the mangroves and the mottled crabs that live in them.
- Address: Mangrove National Park, Abu Dhabi, UAE (near Anantara Hotel).
- Opening hours: 10am-12pm, Monday to Sunday.