UAE visa requirement changes causing expatriate concern

Published:  28 Apr at 6 PM
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From tomorrow, planning ahead for a visit to Abu Dhabi or Dubai will need to include a compulsory e-visa for citizens of certain countries.

The new regulation, set to come into force tomorrow, 29th April, involves expatriates and other visitors arriving via the Oman border. The rule is due to affect over 1,500,000 expats at present living in the Sultanate and will apply to arrivals by air as well as by road.

A number of nationalities including Filipinos and Indians will have to apply for e-visas whatever their jobs, as the former exemption for certain professions has now been disallowed. As a result, all persons resident in the GCC intending to travel to the UAE will need an e-visa, as will permit-holders.

An official from Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs has confirmed that those without an e-visa will be denied entry to the emirate, adding that all immigration personnel at airports and border crossings have been officially informed of the new regulations. Exceptions to the changes apply to travellers from 46 countries including Britain, Australia and countries within the European Union, who can choose between a visa on arrival or an advance request for the document.

Reaction to the changes has been mixed, with travel agents fearing an effect on their businesses due to its causing problems for last-minute travellers. A rumour on social media that travellers refused entry due to lack of an e-visa may be refused permission to apply again is causing concern amongst expat workers. Many expatriates feel that unnecessary delays may be the result of the changes, with Omani resident card holders especially affected, and are calling for the return of the visa on arrival /e-visa option.
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