Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyema

By Chizoba Ogbeche

Abuja

The Dubai authorities have announced complete ban on visa issuance to Nigerians in a notice issued to its trade partners in Nigeria.

The authorities declared that “all Dubai applications submitted are now rejected,” adding that the rejections would be sent in batches.

The rejections, which are said to be the decision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Immigration, it further said “are general for Nigerians and Approvals are on hold at the Moment.”

The notice also stated that there would be no refund for rejected applications.

“Kindly advise your clients to resubmit applications when the issue is resolved between both governments”, the notice to the Nigerian travel agents read in part.

Consequently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Thursday, informing Nigerians less than 40 years of age not to travel to Dubai as they are unqualified for tourist visas under the new UAE visa rules.

Earlier in September a video shared by some Nigerians held in a room of a Dubai airport went viral, attracting the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the video, the Nigerians numbering about 20, lamented that they had been ill-treated despite having valid travel documents.

The ministry’s statement signed by its spokesperson, Francisca Omayuli, said: “The general public is invited to note and be guided that the Government of the UAE has introduced a new visa regime and has stopped issuing tourist visas to persons under the age of 40 years, except for those applying for family visas.”

She, however, noted that most of the affected Nigerians “were issued with family visas only to arrive in Dubai alone without any family member

“Consequently, they were denied entry and advised to return to their country and apply for the appropriate visas,” she added.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman, Nigeria in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Dabiri-Erewa, said on Twitter that most of the affected Nigerians deliberately tried to circumvent the Emirates rules that restrict visa issuance to a category of Nigerians.

“Warned on the new UAE visa rules for certain age categories. Many now try to circumvent by applying for ‘family visas’. They get the visas and travel alone. Also six months genuine bank statement, accommodation, return ticket must be produced. Another set to be sent back now,” she tweeted.

She said UAE visa rules require that Nigerian passengers “must have a hotel booking or proof of accommodation address for the whole period of intended stay”, but this does not apply to persons with resident visa.

The tight visa rules may not be unconnected to some Nigerians living in Dubai being caught in increasing violent acts linked to cultism.

Nigerians had tasked the federal government to reciprocate the new rules by the UAE, however, recent developments indicate that the government may not have engaged the authorities.

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