COVID-19 Update- Suspension of visa on arrival, pre-approved visas & Entry of Residents

As part of the precautionary and preventive measures adopted by the country to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) announced temporary suspension on issuing visas upon arrival for holders of exempted passports and suspended the entry of all ‘new-entry’ visa holders including those issued before 17th March 2020. This includes the suspended entry of overseas residents.

Who is affected?

Earlier in the week, UAE authorities had suspended the issuance of all new-entry visas, have today extended the temporary suspension on issuing visas upon arrival for holders of exempted passport holders effective 01:00 (UAE local time) on Thursday, the 19th of March 2020.

The authorities in a statement said all pre-arranged entry visas (including new residence visas) issued before 17th March 2020, have now been invalidated and will not be accepted for entry into the UAE. 

This also means passengers with passports from the following countries cannot travel to UAE until further notice.

Andorra Estonia Maldives Slovakia
Argentina Finland Malta Slovenia
Australia France Mauritius Solomon Islands
Austria Germany Mexico South Korea
Bahamas Greece Monaco Spain
Barbados Holland Montenegro Sweden
Belgium Honduras Nauru Switzerland
Brazil Hong Kong New Zealand Ukraine
Brunei Hungary Norway USA
Bulgaria Iceland Paraguay United Kingdom
Canada Italy Poland Uruguay
Chile Japan Portugal Vatican City
China Kazakhstan Republic of Ireland
Colombia Kiribati Romania
Costa Rica Latvia Russia
Croatia Liechtenstein Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Cyprus Lithuania San Marino
Czech Republic Luxembourg Serbia
Denmark Macau Seychelles
El Salvador Malaysia Singapore

UAE residents who are abroad will not be allowed to re-enter the country for two weeks.


Travellers looking at entering UAE on an arrival visa, pre-arranged entry visas (including new residence visas, visit and employment) issued before 17th March 2020, have now been invalidated and will not be accepted for entry into the UAE.

As per the latest development, overseas UAE residents with valid residence visas are not allowed to enter UAE for a period of 2 weeks.

Only Emiratis who are overseas can pass through the country’s borders.

According to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship holders of diplomatic passports are exempted from this decision.

The authorities concerned have not specified till when the visa suspension for new visas will be in place. According to the FAIC, the decision will apply to holders of exempted passports until a medical clearance process is activated at the departure country as part of global precautionary measures being undertaken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for the common good of all nations.

How Santa Fe can assist?

As authorities have not stipulated any timeline for the measures implemented on travellers, affected travellers should refrain from making travel plans to UAE as much as possible until further advice is received from the relevant government bodies.

For employers, it is advised to keep assignment start dates flexible for affected travellers and also to keep business travels to UAE to a minimum.

Santa Fe can support your business with any immigration compliance and advisory issues concerning your expatriate population. We can review current employees’ visas and assist with necessary advice or solutions to ensure ongoing compliance with the UAE Regulations.

We will also keep your business updated on ongoing developments on all UAE immigration matters and will advise on any changes requiring your attention.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Ayaz Sheriff
Senior Immigration Consultant – UAE
​Santa Fe Relocation
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
D: +97 143 321 595
M: +97 155 367 9870

Paolo Longo
Regional Immigration Director – Middle East & Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
Johannesburg, South Africa
D: +27 (0) 10 595 2337
M: +27 (0) 83 677 7949

About our Immigration Services

Our immigration services manage thousands of visa applications every year for a multitude of international companies. Our experienced immigration experts and migration agents handle the immigration process for you and provide simple reporting and guidance on immigration matters.

About us

Santa Fe Relocation is a Global Mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide. Our core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees as well as individuals and their families to relocate and settle in new places. These services are delivered to a consistently high standard, locally and globally, and managed through our own operations around the world. For more information, visit us at

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