Overstaying Sudanese thank the UAE for visa fine exemptions

Those who have expired visas or whose work contracts or departure deadlines have ended are among the categories exempted from fines


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People fleeing conflict in Sudan are welcomed by Emirati officials in Abu Dhabi after an evacuation flight. — AFP file
People fleeing conflict in Sudan are welcomed by Emirati officials in Abu Dhabi after an evacuation flight. — AFP file
by

Angel Tesorero

/

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 19 May 2023, 9:22 PM

Overstaying Sudanese visitors and those with expired residency visas hailed the UAE’s announcement on Friday exempting Sudanese nationals from paying fines arising from violations of the law regulating the entry and residence of foreigners.

Musa, who came to the country in February to visit his family and friends, is one of the Sudanese tourists who is now no longer worried from accumulating overstaying fines. He was supposed to return mid-April in time for Eid Al Fitr but was not able to after Khartoum International Airport was closed when violent skirmishes erupted on April 15 between two armed factions in Sudan.

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) announced on Friday that Sudanese citizens who have expired visas and residency permits, or whose work contracts or departure deadlines from the UAE have ended, are among the categories exempted from fines from April 15 this year.

ICP said: “The move is in line with the UAE’s approach and noble humanitarian values, as well as the keenness of its wise leadership to provide decent lives to Sudanese residents in the country. Those who have expired visas and residency permits or whose work contracts or departure deadlines from the UAE have ended are among the categories exempted from fines."

Major-General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, Director-General of ICP, highlighted the deep-rooted relations between the UAE and Sudan and the keenness of the UAE’s leadership to support the Sudanese people and stand by them. "I hope peace and security will return to the country and its people soon," he added.

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Grateful to UAE

Dubai resident Mohammed Hussain, whose cousin’s tourist visa expired a month ago, said he is thankful to the UAE “for being compassionate and generous”.

“This (penalty reprieve) is good news and now my cousin can stay with me without worrying of the penalty. But we really pray that he will be able to go home soon, when things settle down and return to normal,” he told Khaleej Times.

Abdulrahman, another Sudanese visitor who came to the UAE three months ago, also heaved a sigh of relief. He said he had been worrying how he will be able to pay the over one-month fine. “I wish I could fly home soon to be with my loved ones, but with all flights suspended, I could do nothing but pray for better days,” he added.

In an official statement, the Sudanese Embassy also expressed gratitude to the UAE leadership for their support and care towards the community residing in the country. The embassy also extended thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

More aid to Sudan

Meanwhile, a UAE aid ship carrying 1,000 tonnes of supplies and food arrived in Port Sudan on Friday. The aid ship is part of the UAE’s continuous relief efforts to support the Sudanese people and an embodiment of its humanitarian vision to alleviate the humanitarian problems facing the people of Sudan as a result of the current crisis.

The UAE has provided more than 540 tonnes of food supplies and emergency medical supplies via 14 aircraft, bringing the total aid provided to Sudan to 1,540 tonnes.

The UAE has also sent nine planes to Sudan since the beginning of the conflict to evacuate a total of 997 people, including nationals from a number of countries.

The UAE likewise provides hosting and care services for nationals of approximately 26 different countries who were evacuated via the UAE’s planes, prior to their return to their respective home countries.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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