Only UAE citizens, UAE residents and diplomats will be granted entry…

As it fights to curb the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus), WAM, the UAE’s official government news agency, has confirmed that visas on arrival will be temporarily suspended from Thursday March 19. This rule comes in addition to the temporary ban on the issuance of entry visas.

In a move which was initially planned for Tuesday March 17, visa on arrival in the UAE was permitted for several more days, however this will not be possible from 1am on Thursday March 19. It’s not yet clear how long the suspension will remain in place.

The statement reads: “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.”

The announcement was also made on the UAE Embassy in the UK’s Twitter page, and on the official UK government website.

It said: “From 19 March, the UAE will temporarily suspend all visas on arrival with the exception of Diplomatic passport holders. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities. This could include enhanced medical screening on arrival, with the potential for self-isolation, further follow-up health measures and restrictions.”

So what does this mean for you?

If you hold a resident visa in the UAE, then you can still re-enter the country – although it’s important to note that the government has advised its residents not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Similarly, the decision doesn’t effect people who’ve had their visas issued prior to March 19, so if you’re currently in the UAE on a tourist visa, you may wish to explore options for an online extension, should you need it.

It is currently possible to renew or extend your tourist visa in the UAE without leaving the country, which is particularly important given visas are not being processed at the Oman border, which is commonly used as a visa run entry point.

We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.