Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE flight suspension: Stranded residents with expired visas seek clarity on status Filed on May 25, 2021

Their residence visas have either expired or nearing expiry.

With flight suspensions still in place in a number of countries, several UAE residents stuck abroad are now making frantic calls to immigration authorities because of a big concern: Their residence visas have either expired or nearing expiry.

“We are getting calls from people whose visas have either expired or nearing expiry to know if the UAE government has announced any new guidelines on the issue. We do not have any new information as of now. There is no amnesty scheme that has been announced yet,” said a customer happiness executive at Amer contact centre. “We would suggest that people wait and watch and not rush to get their visas cancelled or apply for fresh entry permits.”

Jimeet Gandhi, for instance, is unsure of the visa status of his wife who had travelled to India late last year to deliver their first child.

“My wife’s visa is valid until 2022 but since she has been out of the UAE for more than six months now, I am not sure whether she will be able to travel anytime soon. I have been suggested that I cancel her visa and apply for a new entry permit. But I am not sure if that is the right thing to do. We have entry permit for our newborn but I cannot take my daughter to the UAE without my wife,” he said.

Nasar Shaikh, another long-time resident of the UAE, is also stuck in India. He had travelled to his home country in April after a gap of almost two years. “I was homesick, wanted to see my parents and family, and there was a wedding, too. So, I came. But little did I know that I would get stuck here for weeks,” said Nasar. His visa will expire on July 1.

Abhinav Thakur, another stranded resident, was tempted to explore alternative ways of reaching the UAE. “A lot of people are transiting through other countries to reach the Emirates, but I cannot avail of that option since the validity of my UAE residence visa is less than 90 days.”

Ashish Mehta, founder and managing partner of Ashish Mehta and Associates law firm, said: “The UAE is not in a state of lockdown.

There are some country-specific suspensions of flights at the moment, which could affect the visa status of some residents. But since last year’s notification announcing relaxation of entry rules into the UAE expired on March 31, 2021, the usual process and rules may apply i.e., people with expired visas cannot enter the Emirates. However, it will be prudent to check with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.”

“I would also suggest people to wait for the resumption of flights. It is premature for the UAE government to announce any measures right no. Necessary announcement should be expected around the time of resumption of flights,” Mehta added.

The UAE had announced a temporary suspension of flights from India on April 24. Over the next couple of weeks, four other countries of the sub-continent were also included in the red list. As of now, a temporary suspension of flights is in place for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Nigeria, and Brazil.


Suneeti Ahuja Kohli

Suneeti Ahuja-Kohli has been in Dubai long enough to call it her spiritual home. She loves to travel but plans to settle down in Koi Samui, Thailand eventually to spend her sunset years by the sea. For now, she writes frequently on personal finance, retirement planning, business news and features, health and almost anything assigned by her editor. Her sojourns can be followed on instagram (suneetiahujakohli), news and views on Twitter @suneetiahuja, and for the rest, there’s a Facebook account.

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