UAE places new travel restrictions on Qatari Residence Visa holders

12 Jul 17



What is the change? The United Arab Emirates has imposed new travel restrictions on holders of Qatari Residence Visas, as the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Persian Gulf neighbors continues.

What does the change mean? Qatari Residence Visas can no longer be used to obtain visas on arrival in the UAE. Qatari Residence Visa holders will be required to obtain a visit visa before traveling to the UAE, though an exception applies for nationals who are eligible to obtain visas on arrival. Travel to the UAE remains off limits for Qatari nationals, with exceptions for those who are married to UAE nationals (Emiratis) or have first-blood relatives (i.e., parents, siblings or children) in the UAE. Special approval for such travelers will be granted at the airport.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Qatari Residence Visas.
  • Who is affected: People holding Qatari Residence Visas planning travel to the UAE.  
  • Impact on processing times: The change may cause travel delays for Qatari Residence Visa holders because some will have to obtain visit visas, where previously they would have been eligible for visas on arrival.

Background: More than a dozen countries cut ties with Qatar last month, claiming that Qatar sponsors terrorism and is a threat to destabilize the region. There are no direct flights between Qatar and the UAE, meaning people have to travel through another country, usually Kuwait or Oman, both of which have stayed neutral. The countries that either cut or downgraded diplomatic ties with Qatar last month include Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

BAL Analysis: The Qatari diplomatic crisis continues to evolve, but expatriates planning travel to the UAE should take note of the change. Many of the countries that cut or downgraded ties have not imposed travel restrictions, but others have. Those planning travel to or from the countries involved in the crisis may wish to check with their airline or BAL ahead of time. BAL is following developments and will alert clients to additional changes.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2017 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact