Middle East

UAE halts new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim states

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Turkey, Syria and Somalia, according to a document issued by a state-owned business park.

The document, which was sent to companies operating in the park and was seen by the Reuters news agency, cited an immigration circular that came into effect on November 18.

It said applications for new employment and visit visas were suspended until further notice for nationals outside the UAE from countries including Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen.

The visa ban also applies to citizens of Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Tunisia, the document said.

It was not clear if there were any exceptions to the ban.

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship had no immediate comment.

Security concerns
A source briefed on the matter said 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.

Islamabad 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.

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