The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas to Pakistan and 11 other countries, Pakistan Foreign Office said. However, it added, the suspension would not be applicable on already issued visas.
“We have learned that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.
He said that the measures are believed to be related to the second wave of Covid-19.
“We are seeking official confirmation from the UAE authorities in this regard.”
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez also confirmed the development. But he said that written instructions had not been issued to the airline so far.
Hafeez said that people holding iqama, transit and work visas were still allowed entry in the UAE.
The UAE has various visa categories including business, tourist, transit, student, etc and it was not immediately clear how many categories of visas would be affected by the suspension.
According to media reports, the UAE government has also suspended the issuance of visit visas to Turkey, Iran, Yamen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya and Afghanistan among others. All airlines have been informed about the decision.
On Sunday, the UAE authorities said they would extend the “golden” visa system – which grants 10-year residency in the Gulf state – to certain professionals, specialized degree-holders and others.
Foreigners in the UAE usually have renewable visas valid for only a few years tied to employment. The government in the past couple of years has made its visa policy more flexible, offering longer residencies for certain types of investors, students and professionals.
All holders of doctorate degrees, medical doctors and also computer, electronics, programming, electrical and biotechnology engineers are eligible, UAE Vice President and the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in a statement.