Tuesday, July 21, 2020

No UAE residency visa, Indian expats’ kids can’t fly home yet

Mumbai: While UAE-residence visa holders stranded in India for the past three months have started flying back home, young children, largely sons, of Indian expats living in UAE can’t, yet. The boys were rendered ineligible to board flights by a triptych of factors—they had left their homes in UAE for universities, schools and colleges in the US, Canada, UK and India; their UAE-residence visas lapsed in the past few months; and lastly, they happen to be stranded in India.
Under the Indian government guidelines, currently only those Indian expats who are UAE-residence visa holders can board the Vande Bharat Mission Air India flights or Emirates flights from India to UAE.
Under the UAE norms, a male child’s residency visas, procured through sponsorship by their expat fathers, are valid only up to the age of 18. Thereafter, the teenagers have to apply for a fresh residency visa.
Till now, teenagers who leave for universities in the US and Canada and turn 18 when abroad, return home using their US visa, which grants entry into UAE with a visa on arrival. Once home, they apply for a new residency visa. Those studying in India and other countries fly back home before they turn 18 to apply for a fresh UAE residence visa. Children whose fathers have changed jobs and now have a new residence visa permit also have to fly back to UAE for a new residence visa.

But this year, the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions it brought along, put up stumbling blocks along their path.

Which is why, Prithvi Venkatkrishna has been stranded in a Bengaluru cricket academy since March. A student of an international school in India, he flew home to UAE during Christmas holidays last year to apply for a new UAE-residence visa. But a last-minute exam scheduled by his school forced the 17-year old to rush back to India. He was booked to fly back to UAE in March, but couldn’t due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. He turned 18 in early July and now has no valid UAE-residence visa to fly back home. He managed to procure a tourist visa though, but the Indian government lets only UAE-residence visa holders board flights.
21/07/20 Times of India
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