Emirati Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) announced on Saturday that the country would suspend the issuance of visas to all foreigners except for diplomatic passport holders, effective Tuesday, March 17, over concerns regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement issued today, the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship said the move was taken as a precautionary measure being initiated by the country to contain the spread of coronavirus and is in response to the World Health Organisation declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic – which makes travel at this point dangerous.
The decision does not apply to those who already have their visas issued prior to the aforementioned date.
A statement from the GCAA added: “The decision followed our analysis and assessment of the latest global situation and the scale of the spread of the virus to most countries of the world including Italy.”
Also on Saturday, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority announced it was halting all flights to and from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Turkey from March 17 until further notice.
“The [visa suspension] comes as part of the precautionary measures taken by the UAE in response to the World Health Organisation’s declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic, a development which reflects the high risks now associated with travel under the current circumstances,” a statement from the ICA said. “The ICA affirms that the decision stems from the UAE’s deep sense of responsibility and diligent efforts in collaboration with other countries of the world to fight the coronavirus pandemic and survive this ongoing crisis.”
More than 145,000 cases of the virus have been recorded globally so far, with more than 5,000 deaths. More than 72,000 patients have recovered.