Canadians stranded over new visa rules
Several Canadians have reported being stranded at airports in the UAE because they were caught out by new visa requirements that prevented them from entering.
The rules which went into effect on January 2, state that Canadians must pay $250 Canadian (Dh925) for a non-renewable 30-day visitor's visa, $500 for a three-month stay or $1,000 for a multiple-entry, six-month visa.
The National reported that Donald Caulfied, 69, who works in motion picture lighting in Toronto, found himself stranded at the airport yesterday after returning from a brief holiday in India.
In November, Caulfield joined his wife, a teacher in Abu Dhabi who lives here on a residency visa, for the Formula One Grand Prix.
On January 1, Caulfield left for Mumbai, and inquired with UAE customs and immigration authorities before departing about the change in visa laws.
"They assured me that I could return because my wife is here," he said.
Yesterday morning Caulfield's wife, Joanne, rushed to the airport with her passport to prove her husband intended to spend three days in the UAE with her before returning to Canada.
But The National stated that she said she was told to visit the Immigration Department in Abu Dhabi, where she was asked for a marriage certificate. Their marriage certificate was in Toronto, she said.
Caulfield is booked on a plane to leave Abu Dhabi early today after spending 24 hours at the airport.
Reiterating the new visa rules for Canadians, Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Minhali, Assistant Undersecretary of Naturalisation, Residency and Exit Affairs, told Gulf News, “The Government of Canada was formally informed of the new rule for visa requirements for Canadians entering the UAE. This new rule was made effective beginning January 2011. All Canadians, including this businessman, should have been aware of this law. In fact, he himself had just entered the country the previous week with the proper paperwork. We attempted to find a solution, but we abide by the laws of our nation.”
Last week, Darius Mosun and his business partner, Jonathan Mark, spent 20 hours at the airport in Abu Dhabi after learning they could not re-enter the country following a side business trip to Saudi Arabia.
Mr Mosun said he missed an important business meeting after authorities told him his visa was good for a single entry only.
Mosun on Friday told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that “Canada must patch up relations because the dispute has created roadblocks for conducting business in the UAE.”
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