In light of the Covid-19 outbreak across the globe, the UAE government has taken a decision to temporarily stop issuing tourist visas to the UAE for all foreigners. Recent announcements have stated that entry will also be banned for anyone who has visa on arrival as well as those who have valid UAE visas and are currently outside the UAE.
Here’s a list of all the recent updates about the suspension of UAE visas:
- As of November 17, the UAE has extended the deadline the fine exemption period until 31st December, 2020
- As of November 18, the UAE government has temporarily suspended the issuance of tourist/visit visas for twelve countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Kenya. This rule wouldn’t be applicable to visas that have already been issued
- As of March 17, The UAE has stopped issuing tourist visas to all foreigners
- As of March 19, visa on arrival will also not be issued for any countries, until further notice
- As of March 19, residents with a valid UAE visa currently stationed outside the UAE, will not be allowed entry.
- At the moment, the decision to suspend visas to the UAE will not apply to holders of diplomatic passports
Why is the government suspending UAE visas?
The decision to suspend issuing UAE entry visas comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
The statement released by the Federal Authority for Identity And Citizenship (ICA), stated that the decision is valid until all countries have established a suitable method of medical examination at the ports of departure.
“The ICA affirms that the decision stems from the UAE’s deep sense of responsibility and diligent efforts in collaboration with other countries of the world to fight the coronavirus pandemic and survive this ongoing crisis,”
The decision by the ICA to suspend UAE visas is just one of the many coronavirus prevention steps taken by the UAE Government to control the spread of the deadly virus.
As a precautionary measure, schools and nurseries were closed, while many events in the UAE were cancelled due to fears associated with the coronavirus as well.
The recent surge in coronavirus cases in the UAE has also resulted in the closure of public attractions such as cinemas, parks, gyms across the UAE until the end of March 2020.
All major airports in the UAE have also implemented strict coronavirus screening procedures for all travellers entering the country. Travel restrictions in the UAE have also been issued to countries where there have been a high number of cases reported, such as China (with the exception of Beijing), Italy (with the exception of Rome), Iran, Thailand, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT THE NEW VISA SUSPENSION IN THE UAE
I’M A UAE RESIDENT, DO I NEED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY?
No. The decision to suspend UAE visas is only applicable to tourist visas and those who get visa on arrival. If you are a resident living in the UAE, this announcement doesn’t apply to you. However, if you are currently outside the UAE, as of March 19, you will now be allowed entry into the UAE.
WILL I GET VISA ON ARRIVAL TO DUBAI AFTER THE VISA SUSPENSION?
No, you will not get a visa on arrival in the UAE. As of Thursday, 19 March 2020, the UAE has temporarily suspended issuing all visa of arrival.
MY VISA WAS APPROVED BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT, CAN I STILL COME?
As of Thursday, March 19, the UAE has suspended the entry of all its valid visa holders, who are currently out of the country. This includes holders of tourist visas and residency visas.
IM OUTSIDE THE UAE AND MY VISA WILL EXPIRE SOON. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Make sure to check your UAE visa status to know its validity if you are stationed outside the UAE. As per the renewals are concerned, they will be subject to the current health status of the country. But what you can do is:
- Contact the UAE diplomatic missions in your respective nations for all necessary support and to streamline their return back to the UAE.
- If you’ve travelled outside the UAE for business make sure to inform your employers.
- If you have families residing in the UAE, get in touch with the ICA through the following:
- Fax: 025543883
- Mobile: +971-50-106-6099
- Landline: +971-2-312-8867 / +971-2-312-8865
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHICH FLIGHTS TO DUBAI HAVE BEEN CANCELLED BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS?
The UAE has halted incoming and outgoing flights to a total of eight countries. This includes:
- Iraq (effective as of March 17)
- Italy, except for Rome
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Lebanon (effective as of March 17)
- People’s Republic of China, except for Beijing
- Syria (effective as of March 17)
- Turkey (effective as of March 17)
I AM ALREADY IN THE UAE, CAN I EXTEND MY TOURIST VISA AFTER THIS ANNOUNCEMENT?
If you are already in the UAE, you may be eligible to renew your tourist visa for another 30 days, for a cost of AED 600 through the Government’s online portal.
HOW MANY CASES OF CORONAVIRUS ARE REPORTED IN THE UAE?
As of 26 March 2020, there were 333 cases coronavirus in the UAE. Of these cases, 52 have recovered. So far only two deaths were reported as a result of COVID-19 in the UAE.
As the UAE Government takes active steps to control the spread of COVID-19 cases in the country, it’s important that all residents follow suit and take measures to contain the spread of the disease. Some of the safety measures and precautions you can practise to avoid contracting coronavirus in the UAE include washing hands regularly and refraining from visiting crowded places.