UAE visas issued before March cutoff canceled

Jojo Dass
UAE visas issued before March cutoff canceled
(UPDATED) Visa cancellation is part of efforts by the UAE government to address concerns about the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (UPDATED) – Visit visas to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued before the March 17 cutoff have apparently also been canceled, according to travel agencies, citing official government documents.

In line with this, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) has established a 24-hour helpline to facilitate procedures.

Holders of valid residence permits overseas and their family members and first-degree relatives in the UAE can call the helpline 0097124965228 for inquiries and assistance for humanitarian and emergency cases to ensure their safe return to the UAE, MoFAIC said.

The agency explained that these measures were part of precautionary and preventive efforts taken by the UAE to contain the spread of COVID-19

Malou Prado, CEO of MPQ Tourism, told Rappler they learned about this after word got out that a visit visa holder from the Philippines who arrived at the Dubai International Airport Tuesday evening, March 17, was denied entry.

She said they checked the link at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC), which has the database of all travel document transactions, and was able to confirm that visas were being canceled.

“We checked the system. ‘Yung entry nila (sa field) ay ‘canceled,'” Prado said. (Their entry in the field says “canceled.”)

Naguluhan kami because they said hindi kasama ‘yung mga visas na na-issue na before March 17 (We were confused because they said visas already issued before March 17 are not included),” she added, referring to a March 14 announcement issued by the UAE on the suspension of all visas (except for diplomatic passport holders) that took effect on March 17.

The Emirates News Agency, citing FAIC, said “the decision does not apply to those who already have their visas issued prior to the aforementioned date (March 17).”

Prado said they have over 50 clients of different nationalities affected. She added the canceled visas include those for employment purposes. She said they cannot refund the clients. A 90-day visit visa costs Dh800 (P11,158).*

Sid Rivera, marketing manager of Al Qadi Tourism, also confirmed there were visas being canceled.

Totoo po iyon. ‘Yung mga papasok sa UAE from March 17 canceled po ang visa. Kung hindi nakapasok by March 16, canceled,” Rivera said. (That’s true. Those entering UAE from March 17, their visas are canceled. If they weren’t able to enter by March 16, canceled.)

He said they have up to 30 clients waiting for their flights whose visas were canceled.

Kris Ayuso, customer service manager at an advertising company in Dubai, said she was supposed to fly on the day the suspension took effect.

Ayuso said she went home to Laguna on March 12 because her sister-in-law passed away.

“Online naman lahat ng system namin (Our system is online) so I can work remotely,” Ayuso said, adding that she has not talked to her employer about whether her extended stay in the Philippines could be credited as paid leaves.

She said current developments have been nerve-wracking.

“Nakakahassle siya…. Nagparebook na kami ng ticket. Originally, March 21 kami pabalik ng Dubai, then nag-announce na 72 hours dapat makaalis ng Pilipinas so nagrebook kami only to find out the next day binawi ‘yung 72 hours and then ‘yun ngang entry suspension ng UAE,” Ayuso said.

(It’s such a hassle…. We have our ticket rebooked. Originally, we were supposed to return to Dubai on March 21, then there was an announcement that we had to leave the Phillippines in 72 hours so we hadit rebooked, only to find out the next day that they took back the 72-hour [rule] and then the entry suspension of the UAE happened.)

“It’s frustrating kasi our work nga is there plus magma-month end so there is the worry of the bills and all. Pero at the end of the day, we respect and understand naman ‘yung ways ng UAE government for everyone’s safety,” she added.

(It’s  frustrating because our work is there plus the month is about to end so there’s the worry of bills and all. But at the end of the day, we respect and understand that the UAE government’s measures are for everyone’s safety.)

Ayuso said her concern is the uncertainty of the situation, which was why she was advised not to rebook her flight in the meantime.

Visa cancellation is part of efforts by the UAE government to address concerns about the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus.

The country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said there were 113 COVID-19 cases as of this posting. There also were 26 recuperations and no deaths.

The global death toll, meanwhile, has reached 7,873, with 3,237 of the fatalities in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 194,000, with more than 80,894 of the infections in China. The virus has spread to at least 150 countries. –

AED 1 = P13.95

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