Some Pakistanis may have been alarmed by reports that Dubai was no longer extending the 90-day visa option to Pakistanis. However, it turns out that the news is fake, and officials from the UAE are calling for Pakistani officials to investigate the source of the news. There are certainly some clues from the initial reports that made the story sound rather strange, so Pakistanis will undoubtfully be happy to hear that this was fake news.

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Dubai said to terminate 90-day visa option for Pakistanis

Multiple media sources reported that Dubai had stopped offering Pakistanis the choice of a 90-day visa when visiting the UAE. The articles indicated that the change was effective June 1, citing travel agents in Dubai. However, Propakistani reported that it was unclear whether the change was permanent or temporary, while DAWN said that it was only for the next three months. The reports also claimed that the 90-day visa option was also not being offered to Filipinos, but it was only the two countries that were affected.

Supposedly, any Pakistanis or Filipinos who had submitted their applications for a 90-day visa in Dubai on May 31 or before would still be able to get one, but a travel agent in the city reportedly told DAWN that they were told to refuse all 90-day visa applications for Pakistanis starting on June 1. The travel agent also claimed that travel restrictions such as this had been enacted in Dubai in previous years, especially during Ramadan.

ProPakistani reported that Pakistanis could still apply for a 14- or 30-day visa in Dubai. The site also claimed that travel agents might be able to process visa applications through a different Emirate but that it would mean higher restrictions and cost. This part of the story alone is strange, because most countries have uniform immigration rules, so if Dubai was suspending the 90-day option, it would be unlikely that Pakistanis could go through another Emirate.

UAE officials call the fake news “propaganda”

Thankfully for Pakistanis and Filipinos, it sounds like the news is false. The UAE Embassy in Pakistan told the Pakistan Foreign Office that the 90-day visa suspension was not true and called it “merely propaganda.” According to DAWN, the embassy also called on Islamabad to take action against anyone who was spreading the fake news.

The UAE Embassy told the Foreign Office that there aren’t any visa bans on “any category of Pakistani applicants.” Officials also said the fake news must be investigated and that it is being spread from Pakistan. ValueWalk has contacted officials from several government agencies in Pakistan for a statement.

In its initial report claiming that the 90-day visa option was suspended, ProPakistani also reported that the UAE made its visa policies for Pakistanis stricter in November and that the change came as the UAE eased up the rules for Israelis and Indians. The topic of visas and immigration is a very hot button issue, especially when news outlets make it appear as if visa policies are designed to favor citizens from one country or group of countries over those from others.

Many were rightfully outraged earlier this year when the Trump administration tried to keep citizens of several Muslim-majority nations out of the U.S. entirely. The fight continues to rage, with the European Union even threatening a visa war of sorts with the U.S.