UAE suspends new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim countries

UAE suspends new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim countries

UAE suspends new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim countries

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended travel visas for citizens from 13 mostly Muslim countries. 

The UAE ban on visas includes countries such as Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan, according to a document issued by a state-owned business park. 

According to a source, who spoke to Reuters, the visas have temporarily stopped being issued to Afghans, Pakistanis and citizens of other countries over security concerns, but did not provide details of those concerns. 

Visa ban until further notice

The decision to ban new visas to the 13 countries took effect on November 18, according to a document issued by the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority.

The document, seen by Reuters, said applications for new employment and visit visas had been suspended for nationals of the 13 countries until further notice. 

It was not clear if there were any exceptions to the ban.

The ban also applies to Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey, it says.

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters. 

The move comes a week after the French Embassy in the UAE told citizens to maintain vigilance after a bomb attack in Saudi Arabia on diplomats claimed by Islamic State. The explosion was the first attack in years.

The visa ban comes two months after the Gulf state established formal ties with Israel, a move that broke with decades of Arab policy and angered some Muslim states and communities. Others welcomed it. 

The source familiar with the matter said the ban was unrelated to the UAE’s relationship with Israel and was expected to last for a brief period of time. 

A diplomat commented that the UAE had strained relations with some of the states listed, such as Turkey. 

Last week, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the UAE had stopped processing new visas for its citizens and those from some other countries but those already holding valid visas were not affected. 

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