Travel to Qatar restricted, as several countries cut ties
  • In a signal that Qatar is facing increasing isolation from its neighbors, several countries – Bahrain, Egypt, the temporary Libyan government, Saudi Arabia, the GlobaeUnited Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the Maldives and Mauritius – have severed diplomatic and other ties with Doha, claiming that Qatar sponsors terrorism and threatens to destabilize the region.

    Jordan also downgraded its diplomatic ties with Doha and the Philippines placed a limited ban on workers planning on traveling to the small Persian Gulf nation. Kuwait positioned itself as a possible broker between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries leading the initiative. The crisis has impacted not just nationals, but also residents of countries involved in the dispute.

    However, Qatar's state news agency said that authorities will allow nationals of countries that have cut ties with Qatar to remain in the country. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates set up hotlines for some families that may be affected by the dispute. Kuwait and other countries tried to mediate, but the number of countries to cut ties with Qatar continued to grow over the weekend.

    Travelers should anticipate disruptions, as Saudi Arabia has closed air travel and its land and sea borders with the small Gulf nation, and the UAE expelled Qatari diplomats and suspended flights on Etihad, FlyDubai and Emirates Airlines to and from Doha. Qatar Airways has announced it will cease all flights to and from Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will likely ban the airline from its airspace. Egypt closed its seaports and airspace to all Qatari travel. Bahrain expelled Qatari diplomats and ordered their diplomats home.

    • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
    • Who is affected: Companies and individuals conducting business or traveling between Qatar and any of the affected countries, and especially those who commute to Doha from Dubai. Qatari residents and visitors have been given 14 days to leave the UAE, and UAE nationals have been banned from traveling to Qatar (even if transiting).
    • Business impact: Business travelers may face delays or canceled flights, and other restrictions may be imposed if the diplomatic disputes escalate.
    • Next steps: Employers sending individuals to Qatar may need to rearrange business schedules and should contact their BAL professional for alternate planning. For now, it appears that Kuwait and Oman are maintaining their relations with Qatar, and those two countries will likely be the most convenient transit points for travel between Doha and other GCC countries.

    Key Points:

    • Jordan said it would downgrade its diplomatic ties with Qatar. The move followed the decision by Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen to cut ties with Qatar. The Maldives and Mauritius have also cut ties. Jordan will maintain some relations with Qatar, but has imposed a ban on flights traveling to or arriving from Qatar. For the time being, it appears that Qatari nationals will be permitted to enter Jordan through a third country, provided that the third country has not separately imposed travel restrictions on Qatari nationals. The same is true for Jordanian nationals traveling to Qatar.
    • The Philippines moved to restrict Philippine workers from traveling to Qatar. The BBC  and Reuters reported that a day after saying it would not send Overseas Filipino Workers to Qatar, however, the Philippines partially lifted its ban. The Philippines said that OFWs on contracts or who have obtained an overseas employment certificate will be aable to travel to Qatar, but OFWs who have not yet been issued a certificate will be temporarily prevented from traveling to Qatar, according to reports.
    • Kuwait and Oman have maintained their relations with Qatar, and the two countries will likely play a key role as transit points for travel between Qatar and GCC countries. Kuwait has stepped in to try to mediate the diplomatic crisis, but so far there are no signs that tensions are easing.
    • The diplomatic crisis has ensnared not just nationals of the countries involved, but also residence visa holders. Foreign nationals who hold residence visas in Qatar will likely have difficulty visiting countries – including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – that have imposed travel restrictions on Qatari nationals or that have closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft. The same is true of residence permit holders in countries whose nationals have been barred entry to Qatar. Permit holders in affected countries should check with BAL before traveling.
    • Qatar's state news agency, QNA, reported that nationals of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have cut ties with Qatar will be allowed to remain in the country pursuant to existing regulations. Qatari nationals were told last week to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates within 14 days, but for now, Qatar has declined to reciprocate in kind.
    • While Qatari nationals have been told to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, official news outlets in each of the countries set up hotlines for families with Qatari members. The move signals an intention to reduce the humanitarian impact of the actions against Qatar. Those in need of assistance with case-specific questions should contact BAL.
    • Kuwait continued its efforts to mediate the diplomatic crisis, and while there are few signs of tensions easing, Morocco announced Sunday that, like Kuwait and Oman, it would stay neutral and offer to help resolve the crisis if the parties would like.
    • The number of countries to cut ties with Qatar continued to grow. Niger said it would recall its ambassador Saturday. Countries that have either cut or downgraded diplomatic ties with Qatar include: Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

    Background: The Gulf countries leading this initiative accuse Qatar of supporting terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and ISIS. Qatar's Foreign Ministry called the accusations "baseless" and said the blockade had "no legitimate justification." Qatar has maintained a rocky relationship with its GCC co-members for almost two decades, but the rift has widened in recent months over several issues. Qatar criticized the anti-Iran rhetoric following U.S. President Donald Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia; soon after, the UAE and other GCC countries cut access to media from Doha-based Al Jazeera.

    Qatar has maintained a rocky relationship with its GCC co-members for almost two decades, but the rift has widened in recent months over several issues. Qatar criticized the anti-Iran rhetoric following U.S. President Donald Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia; soon after the UAE and other GCC countries cut access to media from Doha-based Al Jazeera. Egypt has also accused Doha of meddling in its politics, and last month Qatar began denying visas and visas-on-arrival to Egyptian nationals.

    Analysis: The situation is evolving and may change quickly. BAL is following developments and will broadcast any additional changes or restrictions. Those planning travel to or from the countries involved in the crisis may wish to check with their airline in advance.

    This post has been provided by Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) Corporate Immigration. For more information please contact: Kristi Pauslen at RelocationToday or Jennifer Fisher at Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL)

    About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

    Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seventeen offices across the U.S. and Globe. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

    Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
    Copyright © 2017 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com

Travel to Qatar restricted, as several countries cut ties
  • In a signal that Qatar is facing increasing isolation from its neighbors, several countries – Bahrain, Egypt, the temporary Libyan government, Saudi Arabia, the GlobaeUnited Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the Maldives and Mauritius – have severed diplomatic and other ties with Doha, claiming that Qatar sponsors terrorism and threatens to destabilize the region.

    Jordan also downgraded its diplomatic ties with Doha and the Philippines placed a limited ban on workers planning on traveling to the small Persian Gulf nation. Kuwait positioned itself as a possible broker between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries leading the initiative. The crisis has impacted not just nationals, but also residents of countries involved in the dispute.

    However, Qatar's state news agency said that authorities will allow nationals of countries that have cut ties with Qatar to remain in the country. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates set up hotlines for some families that may be affected by the dispute. Kuwait and other countries tried to mediate, but the number of countries to cut ties with Qatar continued to grow over the weekend.

    Travelers should anticipate disruptions, as Saudi Arabia has closed air travel and its land and sea borders with the small Gulf nation, and the UAE expelled Qatari diplomats and suspended flights on Etihad, FlyDubai and Emirates Airlines to and from Doha. Qatar Airways has announced it will cease all flights to and from Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will likely ban the airline from its airspace. Egypt closed its seaports and airspace to all Qatari travel. Bahrain expelled Qatari diplomats and ordered their diplomats home.

    • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
    • Who is affected: Companies and individuals conducting business or traveling between Qatar and any of the affected countries, and especially those who commute to Doha from Dubai. Qatari residents and visitors have been given 14 days to leave the UAE, and UAE nationals have been banned from traveling to Qatar (even if transiting).
    • Business impact: Business travelers may face delays or canceled flights, and other restrictions may be imposed if the diplomatic disputes escalate.
    • Next steps: Employers sending individuals to Qatar may need to rearrange business schedules and should contact their BAL professional for alternate planning. For now, it appears that Kuwait and Oman are maintaining their relations with Qatar, and those two countries will likely be the most convenient transit points for travel between Doha and other GCC countries.

    Key Points:

    • Jordan said it would downgrade its diplomatic ties with Qatar. The move followed the decision by Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen to cut ties with Qatar. The Maldives and Mauritius have also cut ties. Jordan will maintain some relations with Qatar, but has imposed a ban on flights traveling to or arriving from Qatar. For the time being, it appears that Qatari nationals will be permitted to enter Jordan through a third country, provided that the third country has not separately imposed travel restrictions on Qatari nationals. The same is true for Jordanian nationals traveling to Qatar.
    • The Philippines moved to restrict Philippine workers from traveling to Qatar. The BBC  and Reuters reported that a day after saying it would not send Overseas Filipino Workers to Qatar, however, the Philippines partially lifted its ban. The Philippines said that OFWs on contracts or who have obtained an overseas employment certificate will be aable to travel to Qatar, but OFWs who have not yet been issued a certificate will be temporarily prevented from traveling to Qatar, according to reports.
    • Kuwait and Oman have maintained their relations with Qatar, and the two countries will likely play a key role as transit points for travel between Qatar and GCC countries. Kuwait has stepped in to try to mediate the diplomatic crisis, but so far there are no signs that tensions are easing.
    • The diplomatic crisis has ensnared not just nationals of the countries involved, but also residence visa holders. Foreign nationals who hold residence visas in Qatar will likely have difficulty visiting countries – including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – that have imposed travel restrictions on Qatari nationals or that have closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft. The same is true of residence permit holders in countries whose nationals have been barred entry to Qatar. Permit holders in affected countries should check with BAL before traveling.
    • Qatar's state news agency, QNA, reported that nationals of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have cut ties with Qatar will be allowed to remain in the country pursuant to existing regulations. Qatari nationals were told last week to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates within 14 days, but for now, Qatar has declined to reciprocate in kind.
    • While Qatari nationals have been told to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, official news outlets in each of the countries set up hotlines for families with Qatari members. The move signals an intention to reduce the humanitarian impact of the actions against Qatar. Those in need of assistance with case-specific questions should contact BAL.
    • Kuwait continued its efforts to mediate the diplomatic crisis, and while there are few signs of tensions easing, Morocco announced Sunday that, like Kuwait and Oman, it would stay neutral and offer to help resolve the crisis if the parties would like.
    • The number of countries to cut ties with Qatar continued to grow. Niger said it would recall its ambassador Saturday. Countries that have either cut or downgraded diplomatic ties with Qatar include: Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

    Background: The Gulf countries leading this initiative accuse Qatar of supporting terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and ISIS. Qatar's Foreign Ministry called the accusations "baseless" and said the blockade had "no legitimate justification." Qatar has maintained a rocky relationship with its GCC co-members for almost two decades, but the rift has widened in recent months over several issues. Qatar criticized the anti-Iran rhetoric following U.S. President Donald Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia; soon after, the UAE and other GCC countries cut access to media from Doha-based Al Jazeera.

    Qatar has maintained a rocky relationship with its GCC co-members for almost two decades, but the rift has widened in recent months over several issues. Qatar criticized the anti-Iran rhetoric following U.S. President Donald Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia; soon after the UAE and other GCC countries cut access to media from Doha-based Al Jazeera. Egypt has also accused Doha of meddling in its politics, and last month Qatar began denying visas and visas-on-arrival to Egyptian nationals.

    Analysis: The situation is evolving and may change quickly. BAL is following developments and will broadcast any additional changes or restrictions. Those planning travel to or from the countries involved in the crisis may wish to check with their airline in advance.

    This post has been provided by Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) Corporate Immigration. For more information please contact: Kristi Pauslen at RelocationToday or Jennifer Fisher at Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL)

    About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

    Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seventeen offices across the U.S. and Globe. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

    Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
    Copyright © 2017 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com