Global: Offices to shorten business hours, slow processing during Ramadan

The Islamic month of Ramadan is expected to begin around June 6. Many Muslim countries will observe shorter business hours that will slow processing during the month.

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What does the change mean? Companies and individuals should expect delays and plan to file time-sensitive applications as soon as possible.

  • Implementation time frame: Approximately June 6 through July 7. Some countries also begin to slow down one week before Ramadan.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas and work permits.
  • Impact on processing times: Applicants should expect reduced business hours, especially on Fridays, and delays in processing. The Eid al-Fitr holiday immediately following Ramadan will close offices for three to 10 days, depending on the country.
  • Business impact: Delays may affect start dates and business schedules.

Background: Countries across the Muslim world will observe the month of Ramadan, expected to begin around June 6 or 7 and end around July 5 or 6. Exact dates are confirmed closer to the start of the lunar month. During the month, Muslims increase self-reflection and fast during daylight hours. As such, many countries with majority Muslim populations limit business hours.

In the United Arab Emirates, government offices will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the private sector will generally conduct business from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., depending on the office.

The Eid al-Fitr holiday, immediately following Ramadan, will close offices for three or more days in countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

BAL Analysis: Businesses are reminded to plan ahead to minimize unnecessary delays to visa and work permit applications and business schedules.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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