UAE halts new visas for citizens of 13 mostly Muslim countries

by BLOOMBERG

The United Arab Emirates has stopped issuing new employment and tourist visas for citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority nations, according to a business hub centered on Dubai’s airport.

The broad suspension, which covers visa applications made outside the country, took effect on Nov. 18 and would run until further notice, the Dubai Airport Free Zone said in a statement.

Reuters reported the step was triggered by security concerns without giving details. It cited a person briefed on the matter.

Countries included in the ban are: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Lebanon, Kenya, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey and Iran.

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship couldn’t be reached for a comment.

Last week, Lebanon’s ambassador to the UAE, Fouad Dandan, said he’d been told by officials at the Emirati Foreign Ministry that there had been no official decision to stop issuing visas to Lebanese nationals.

The restrictions will be another blow for the country’s aviation industry, which is only beginning to emerge from Covid-induced hibernation that starved airlines of revenue.