Skip to main content

Russia-Ukraine war: UAE reinstates visa waiver for Ukrainians after u-turn

Announcement comes two days after UAE cancelled the visa-free scheme
Visitors read messages posted on a board in support of Ukraine, inside the Ukrainian pavilion, during the Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE, on March 2, 2021. (AFP)

On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates announced that Ukrainian citizens would continue to have visa-free entry into the country, two days after the embassy said that the policy had been cancelled.

For Ukrainians who arrived before 3 March 2022, the UAE is now offering the chance to stay in the country for up to a year without incurring any fines. 

Those who came after 3 March will only have visa-free entry for 30 days, which was the policy before the waiver was removed. 

In a statement, the UAE's foreign ministry said: “Concerning reports on the issuance of advance visas to Ukrainian nationals to enter the UAE. Ukrainian nationals continue to be eligible for visa on arrival to the UAE.”

Russia-Ukraine war: UAE cancels visa waiver for Ukrainians days into invasion
Read More »

“The UAE also provides critical services to Ukrainian nationals in the UAE who require assistance, in coordination with the Embassy of Ukraine in the UAE," the statement continued.

Coming after the United Nations reports that the number of people that have fled Ukraine has surpassed a million, the UAE’s decision to cancel the visa-waiver earlier this week was met with anger.

A post on the Facebook page of the Ukrainian Embassy in the UAE on 1 March, just six days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, read:

“Starting 1 March, 2022, the United Arab Emirates will temporarily suspend the action of the Memorandum of mutual understanding between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on mutual cancellation of visa requirements.” 

“From today, citizens of Ukraine - passport holders of Ukrainian citizen for going abroad should receive a suitable visa for visiting the UAE,” it said.

According to the UAE state news agency WAM, roughly 15,000 Ukrainians work and live in the UAE - a country whose population is approximately 90 percent expatriates. 

Around 40,000 Russian nationals live in the UAE. Russian citizens can get a 90-day tourist visa on arrival.

The UAE initially abstained on a UN Security Council vote led by the US to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but has since changed its position. 

During a General Assembly vote on Wednesday, the UAE decided to vote along with 140 other nations favouring a resolution that demands Russia end its invasion of Ukraine and withdraw all its troops. 

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.