The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visas to visitors from Pakistan and 11 other countries until further notice. Pakistan’s Foreign Office on 18th November confirmed the news saying that the decision by the UAE authorities is ‘believed to be related to the second wave of Covid-19’. However, the suspension wouldn’t apply to already issued visas. It is not clear how many categories of visas would be affected by the suspension as the UAE has various visa categories, including business, tourist, transit, and student. The other countries hit by the UAE government’s fresh visa directives include Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya, and Afghanistan among others.
Amendments in the Entry Criteria for Visit Visa
Last month, hundreds of Pakistani passengers were denied entry into the UAE and repatriated after they were unable to meet the new entry criteria set by the authorities for visit visa holders. Dubai authorities in the second week of October had made it mandatory for all the people holding visit visas to have AED2,000 cash, a return air ticket, and hotel booking to enter the country. Those tourists planning to stay with friends and relatives were required to provide accurate residential addresses and ‘other relevant’ information about their hosts. The consulate general of Pakistan in Dubai had confirmed on Oct 17 that a total of 678 Pakistani citizens had been denied entry into the UAE for non-compliance with the criteria.
Furthermore, following the suspension of visit and work visa for twelve countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, etc. the UAE, on 20th November, announced the extension of its golden visa system – which grants 10-year residency in the Gulf state – to certain professionals, specialized degree-holders and others. Foreigners in the UAE usually have renewable visas valid for only a few years tied to employment. The government in the past couple of years has made its visa policy more flexible, offering longer residencies for certain types of investors, students, and professionals.
All holders of doctorate degrees, medical doctors, and also computer, electronics, programming, electrical, and biotechnology engineers are eligible, UAE Vice President and the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in a statement.
According to a reliable source, the UAE had temporarily stopped issuing new visas to Afghans, Pakistanis, and citizens of several other countries over security concerns. The source did not say what those concerns were but said the visa ban was expected to last for a short period. Last week, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the UAE had stopped processing new visas for its citizens and those of some other countries. The Foreign Office said it was seeking information from the UAE on the reason for the suspension but that it thought it was related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Pakistani ministry and the source said those holding valid visas were not affected by the new restrictions and could enter the UAE.
Possible Causes and Implications of Suspension of Visas
Turkey- UAE relations have strained since the June 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Turkey ally Qatar. In August, Turkey threatened to suspend its diplomatic relations with the UAE and recall its envoy, a day after the country announced it would become the third Arab country to establish full ties with Israel.
We, at Riz and Mona Consultancy, sincerely hope this suspension is revoked soon. For further queries related to visas, company formation, and any other expert consultation related to your business, contact us today!