All UAE entry visas are now suspended, except for visitors with a diplomatic passport and from select countries
15 March 2020| Last updated on 15 March 2020
No new visas will be available from March 17 until further notice for visitors from select countries.
On Saturday, March 14 the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has announced that they will temporarily suspend issuing most visas from Tuesday, March 17. The decision comes after the Coronavirus (Covid-19) was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Those exempted are travelers coming into the country with a diplomatic passport. It was unclear at first whether this included visitors coming from countries that receive a visa on arrival, however, an update from Dubai Airports has clarified the situation.
Effective March 17, UAE authorities have temporarily suspended the issuance of all entry visas. This does not apply to those passengers holding diplomatic passports or those who have had visas issued prior to March 17.
It also does not apply to passengers who hold passports from the following countries. These passengers can continue to travel to and from the UAE although may be subject to additional screening and/or quarantine:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (from Rome only), Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Vatican, United Kingdom and The United States of America.
It must be emphasised that this is for passport-holders for the above-mentioned countries; flights have been suspended from Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Italy (except for Rome), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, China (except for Beijing), Syria, Turkey.
In the initial official statement, ICA authorities said: "The move comes as part of the precautionary measures taken by the UAE in response to the World Health Organisation's declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, a development which reflects the high risks now associated with travel under the current circumstances."
The move does not apply to those who already had their UAE entry visas approved and issued prior to March 17. However, travelers with a pre-issued entry visa to the UAE from one of the countries not mentioned in the above prior to the aforementioned date are required to self-isolate for four days.
Other countries around the globe have also implemented strict travel restrictions in a bid to limit the spread of the outbreak, such as Saudi Arabia canceling visas for religious pilgrims, and the US imposing a ban on non-citizens with a recent travel history in Europe and Asia.
ICA said that the move will remain in place until an effective medical examination system is implemented in the countries of departure, in line with other global measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
"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," it added.
As of publishing, the total tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UAE is 85.