Dubai: The overnight announcements about Dubai visa and travel restrictions in the United Arab Emirates to curb the spread of the Coronavirus raised several questions as residents and visitors at home and abroad seek further details on the guidelines and claim they will have a tremendous impact on them.
Late on Wednesday evening, the UAE suspended entry of all valid visa holders who are currently out of the country for a renewable period of two weeks from Thursday afternoon (March 19). Earlier in the day, the Federal Citizenship and Identity Authority temporarily suspended issuing all visas when arriving on Thursday from 1 a.m. The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also announced a temporary ban on citizens who will travel abroad from Wednesday until further notice.
There are many concerns: an expat father who is currently overseas and wants to know if his residence visa will be cancelled as he would spend 180 days outside the country on March 26; a tourist visa mother who expires on April 9th wonders if she can extend the visa because she does not want to fly back to Pakistan under the current circumstances; a group of students with pre-approved visas at Dubai International looking for a solution to their entry ban; a US passenger with an eight-hour stopover at Dubai Airport on the way to Afghanistan, asking if he will be quarantined for two weeks; an elderly couple from New York asking if they should quarantine themselves; and so on.
What happens if I stay without a visa extension?
People who stay in the country without changing their status after their visa expires will be fined.
Can I now extend my residence permit?
UAE residents can extend their residence permit while still in the country, an official told Gulf News.
Residents who transfer their residence to another sponsor within the country can continue to do so.
If a person has cancelled their residence and is unable to leave the country due to the spread of COVID-19, they can change their status by applying for a visiting visa through travel agents, the official said.
I have a residence visa and I am overseas and cannot fly. The duration of my stay abroad has exceeded 180 days? What will happen to my residence?
From today's perspective, people with a valid place of residence in the UAE but who have been out of the country for more than 180 days will be denied their residence permit if they do not arrive in the UAE before the grace period expires. However, these people are advised to check with the appropriate authority after two weeks for updates or new instructions.
I am a resident who was on vacation in Mumbai and should return on March 24th. I need to come back urgently, how can I?
Holders of valid UAE residence who are currently not in the country were suspended on Thursday, March 19, for an extendable period of two weeks from noon onwards.
Is quarantine at home a must when I have returned from abroad?
The United Arab Emirates Attorney General, Hamad Al Shamsi, said that anyone who comes to the UAE must comply with the home quarantine duration in its place for 14 days.
What happens if I don't quarantine myself?
Anyone who leaves their place of residence during the quarantine period will be punished by law. The punishment includes prison, fine, or both.
What should I do if I cancel my stay and cannot travel to my home country?
You can change your status by going to a travel agent and applying for a visiting visa.