UAE flights: Parents upset after visa processing delays disrupt travel plans to see off kids studying abroad

Residents are forced to cancel plans as visitor visa processing time exceeds earlier stipulated timelines

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Nandini Sircar

Published: Tue 9 Aug 2022, 6:20 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Aug 2022, 12:25 AM

Many parents in the UAE are facing the burnt of visa processing delays due to a massive travel rush and the long wait for visa appointments. Due to these delays, parents are unable to accompany their children abroad who are travelling for higher studies.

UAE expatriates who wished to travel to the US, Canada or the UK and hoping to accompany their children have been forced to cancel their plans as the visitor visa processing time now exceeds the earlier stipulated timelines for these destinations.

The delays are part of wider failings in visa processing that have disrupted families’ original plans, with many having to say goodbye to their children at the airports here.

Jasmine Anand, who has been living in the UAE for two decades, wanted to accompany her daughter to the US as she heads to study Journalism in Boston University.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Jasmine expressed her disappointment on being unable to accompany her daughter as they had several plans surrounding her departure plans.

Jasmine says, “My husband will have to go and drop off my daughter now. Initially, we had planned that all three of us would travel together. But that didn’t work out. My husband and I both had the 10-year US visa, which, unfortunately, will expire soon for me. I had applied way ahead of time, hoping that the visa would come through, but the date I received is September 27.”

Jasmine even wrote to the authorities several times but only received automated responses in her inbox.

She adds, “I am really feeling bumped about it. My daughter leaves on August 30 with her father. She is a bit worried as she feels if I had gone, I could have helped her better to settle down there. She is leaving home for the first time. My worry now is even if I go later, by then my Indian passport will expire. So, I am not sure what the documentation would entail then. There is no clarity on that front at all.”

A lot of parents whose children are headed to study in Canada are facing similar issues this year.

Pallavi Prasad (name changed on request), has been a UAE resident for 22 years says, “Our biometric was done in the first week of May. My son is going to study Computer Science in the University of Toronto. But now he must go alone on August 24. His tickets are done. We had initially planned that we’ll go around the place, buy things for him from there and help him settle down.”

Now with altered plans and with none of the parents accompanying their child, Pallavi is busy making last minute purchases that she had initially planned would be done from Toronto.

She adds, “I feel girls can still manage better. If I do not buy things and give it to my son, I know he wouldn’t buy those for himself. He will be staying in the dorm and there is a ready checklist, but everything has now suddenly become virtual for us. All the plans have had to be changed due to the delay in receiving the visas.”

The story is similar for Muhammad Ashraf who had submitted the visa application for Canada on May 22.

Ashraf says, “Our biometric was done on May 23 and we were quite hopeful. Thankfully, I had not bought the tickets. I was on the brink of buying four tickets (entire family) and I had even taken out my credit card to do the booking but somehow, I thought let’s first wait for the visas. On hindsight, I am glad I didn’t do it.”

“But the main worry is that my daughter who has received her student visa will now have to travel alone. Safety is always a priority with children and we are apprehensive about that aspect.


"The website earlier had said that the visa processing takes around 35 days. But now because of the present situation, I think the timeline has changed. It’s not only sad to not be able to accompany her but the fact that she’ll be going alone to a new country, that tension lingers constantly.

"To see the campus, accommodation and environment with your own eyes is always more assuring to any parent. Unfortunately, due to the visa problem, we aren’t getting this chance,” he added.

Even residents with plans to visit their loved ones, attend graduation ceremonies and weddings, and those with leisure travel itineraries have also been forced to cancel plans as their travel documents did not make it ‘back on time’.

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