Middle East: Jordan, Libya, Maldives and Mauritania Sever Diplomatic Ties with Qatar; Update on Diplomatic Crisis

Governments of Jordan, Libya, Maldives and Mauritania have joined a number of Middle Eastern countries in severing their diplomatic ties with Qatar. The closure of borders with neighboring countries and the withdrawal of the diplomatic staff from various embassies in the region have resulted in restrictions on travel to and from Qatar.

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Jun 08, 2017
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Governments of Jordan, Libya, Maldives and Mauritania have joined a number of Middle Eastern countries in severing their diplomatic ties with Qatar. The closure of borders with neighboring countries and the withdrawal of the diplomatic staff from various embassies in the region have resulted in restrictions on travel to and from Qatar.

Qatari Nationals
Qatar has urged its nationals to comply with the decision of the countries involved and leave the territories of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) within 14 days of June 5, 2017. Qatari nationals should contact the respective consular posts abroad for assistance with travel arrangements and travel back to the country via Kuwait or Oman. 

Bahraini, Saudi and UAE Nationals
Bahraini, Saudi and the UAE authorities have announced bans for their nationals from travelling, transiting or residing in Qatar. Those currently in Qatar are requested to leave as soon as possible. 


Other Foreign Nationals Residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Holders of Residency Visas from Qatar will face difficulties in obtaining Visit Visas to countries which have closed their diplomatic representations in Doha, Qatar, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Foreign nationals residing in Qatar applying for visas to Egypt or Saudi Arabia may have to travel back to their home country to do so.

It is likely that foreign nationals residing in Qatar will face restrictions in obtaining a GCC Resident Visitor Visa to enter Bahrain or the UAE.  Foreign nationals who are not eligible for a visa-on-arrival based on their nationality should prearrange their visas in advance and seek out other categories of sponsorship including airlines, hotels or tourist agencies.

It is unclear whether there will be any impact on foreign national residents of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE seeking entry to Qatar based on the GCC Resident Visitor Visa.

Air Travel
The Bahraini, Saudi and UAE airspaces are closed for aircrafts originating from Qatar.  Flight duration between Qatar and other countries is expected to be longer than usual due to airspace restrictions. An increase in travel time may have an impact on the ticket prices.

Courier Services
Courier services and document deliveries between Qatar and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are severely delayed. The majority of carriers are rerouting their shipments, while others, including FedEx, have suspended their services between the affected countries.

Media
The Qatari-based broadcaster Al Jazeera has been banned in a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Qatari beIN Sports channel has been suspended in the UAE. The UAE's General Prosecutor warned against showing any sympathy for Qatar on social media which is considered a cybercrime, punishable by law.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Considering the nature of this situation, many aspects related to entry, residency and transit remain either unclear or subject to change without prior notice.

Fragomen can help identify impacted nationals and advise on potential restrictions applicable to them.

Fragomen will continue to monitor the developments and will provide further updates as new information is released.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to Middleeast@ae.fragomen.com

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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