Visa suspensions due to the COVID-19

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) temporarily suspended the issuance of all entry visas to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Who is affected?

UAE authorities have temporarily suspended the issuance of all entry visas. This does not apply to those passengers holding diplomatic passports or those who have had visas issued prior to March 17, 2020.

Passengers with passports from the following countries can continue to travel to and from the UAE, but they may be subject to additional screening.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (from Rome only), Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Vatican, United Kingdom and The United States of America.

Passengers having residence visas are allowed to return to UAE.


The COVID-19 virus emerged in central China in late December 2019 and the latest figures show it has infected more than 162,000 people. The World Health Organization has now classified COVID-19 a global pandemic.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) recorded its first case of the COVID-19 virus on 29 January 2020, as of now, UAE has reported 85 coronavirus infections but no deaths.


Travellers looking at visiting UAE on a tourist, visit, medical, business and employment visa are affected. All visa applications will be on hold for those, whose application has already been submitted to the GDRFA and not yet approved.

The authorities concerned have not specified till when the visa suspension will be in place. According to the FAIC, the “decision will be valid until a mechanism for medical examination has been established in the countries of departure as part of other global measures taken for the common good of all nations”.

The suspension does not apply to those who have had visas issued prior to March 17, 2020.

The suspension also does not affect those applicants awaiting employment permits who are already inside UAE on a visit visa or those who have cancelled their previous employment visa.

Educational Institutions

All schools and universities are closed until further notice.

Places of worship

UAE authorities have suspended all congregational prayers at places of worship for the next four weeks, hundreds of mosques across the country broadcast an altered Azaan or call to prayer, telling believers to pray in their homes.

Following the UAE government’s commitment to contain the spread of COVID-19 all church services are also suspended.

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


To read more immigration updates, click here

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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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