After the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel through the announced peace agreement – dubbed the “Abraham Accord” – on August 13, 2020, the two countries have now agreed to establish a visa waiver program for their citizens. The program will allow the citizens of each country to visit the other without going through a visa application process. This program marks the UAE as the first country in the Middle East to allow visa-free travel with Israel.
In that spirit, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi’s flagship airline based out of the UAE capital, announced earlier this week that a total of twenty-eight weekly flights are expected to operate between the UAE and Israel. The first commercial flight to Israel landed at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on October 19, 2020, and is expected to return to Abu Dhabi later in the week.
The two countries also agreed to establish a US$3 Billion “Abraham Fund” to promote economic cooperation and development in the region. The fund is expected to sponsor investment project opportunities and aims to improve agriculture productivity in the Middle East in cooperation between the two countries.
Mayer Brown’s Middle East and Global Mobility practices continue to monitor these important developments in the region. Please see our alert from September 2020 on the Abraham Accord: