Abu Dhabi has announced that Bollywood superstar Salman Khan along with some of the biggest names in Indian cinema have been granted Golden Visas, a reflection of the strong bond between the Indian and UAE creative industries.

This month Yas Island, Abu Dhabi proudly hosted the 2022 IIFA Weekend & Awards, which saw the Indian film fraternity arrive to Abu Dhabi for a grand celebration. Etihad Arena was host to the 22nd edition of Nexa IIFA Awards but it wasn’t just the stars winning the awards that were celebrating. IIFA was pleased to have worked alongside the Abu Dhabi Film Commission to facilitate the process of Golden visa issuance to some of the leading film industry members. The Golden Visas were issued during the IIFA weekend itself to reflect the commitment from both the organisers and Abu Dhabi’s creative industry to build a legacy that goes beyond the success of the awards weekend.

Among those receiving the 10-year visas alongside Salman Khan are Indian superstars Divya Kumar, Genelia Deshmukh, Riteish Deshmukh, Bhushan Kumar, Anees Bazmee and Andre Timmins.

As well as being a long-stay residency permit, the Golden Visa offers the flexibility to work across Abu Dhabi and the UAE and does not require the holder to have a sponsor. The recipients were nominated by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) - which oversees applications from professionals in visual arts, publishing, performing arts, design and crafts, heritage, gaming & esports and media - and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC), with the visas processed by twofour54 Abu Dhabi.

Khan, who has a strong relationship with Abu Dhabi having starred in Bharat, Race 3, and Tiger Zinda Hai, which all shot in the Emirate with the support of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, was the host of the IIFA Awards, which were held in collaboration with DCT Abu Dhabi, ADFC and Miral. The ceremony took place at Etihad Arena, Yas Island on June 4, and was attended by thousands of guests.

Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The film and TV sector is one of the cornerstones of Abu Dhabi’s Culture and Creative Industries, which are key drivers of social and economic growth and diversification for the Emirate.

“The Golden Visa forms a key part of Abu Dhabi’s AED 30+ billion CCI investment strategy and we are delighted to be able to offer these long-term visas to our colleagues in the Indian film industry – especially Salman Khan who shares a deep bond with the Emirate. It is a reflection of the long and strong relationship between the thriving film & TV sectors in Abu Dhabi and India as well as our dedication to strengthen that relationship even more.”

Salman Khan said: “I am honoured to receive a Golden Visa from Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi has always been a second home for me, and I have enjoyed shooting some of my favourite projects here. It was great to celebrate our film industry during the IIFA weekend in a place that has shown us so much support over the past few years. Now with my Golden Visa, I look forward to returning to work here in the very near future.”

Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner Hans Fraikin added: “Abu Dhabi is an exciting location for filmmakers with a robust ecosystem that allows local and international projects to flourish. The Golden Visa allows talented individuals like Salman Khan and his fellow actors, directors and producers, to realise their creative visions here by harnessing the array of locations and facilities, as well as the incredible local talent.”

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