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Afghanistan, Pakistan Included In U.A.E.'s New Visa Ban

Afghans from Loya Paktia traveling to Iran. Under the new ban, applications for new employment and visit visas have been suspended for 13 mostly Muslim countries. (file photo)

The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, according to a document issued by a state-owned business park.

The document, which was sent to companies operating in the park and was seen by Reuters, cited an immigration circular that came into effect on November 18.

It said applications for new employment and visit visas had been suspended for nationals who are outside the U.A.E. from the 13 countries, including Syria, Libya, and Yemen, until further notice.

The visa ban also applies to citizens of Somalia, Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey, the document says.

It was not clear if there were any exceptions to the ban.

The U.A.E.'s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

A source briefed on the matter told Reuters the U.A.E. had temporarily stopped issuing new visas to Afghans, Pakistanis, and citizens of several other countries over security concerns.

The source did not say what those concerns were but said the visa ban was expected to last for a short period.

Last week, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the U.A.E. had stopped processing new visas for its citizens and those of some other countries.

It said it was seeking information from the U.A.E. on the reason for the suspension but that it thought it was related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Pakistani ministry and the source said those holding valid visas were not affected by the new restrictions and could enter the U.A.E.