Indian parents in UAE seek visit visas to bring back stranded kids

Indian parents in UAE seek visit visas to bring back stranded kids

DUBAI: Indian expats, whose children are stranded in India, are urging the authorities here to issue them visit visas to return to the UAE during a special arrangement for flights between the two countries, which lasts until July 26.

India is currently not on the list of countries from which passengers are eligible to secure visit visas.

Indian parents, who spoke to Gulf News, urged the UAE Embassy in New Delhi to take up their humanitarian cases with the immigration authorities in the UAE and help them with special permission to bring their children home.

Many fear their General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approvals will expire along with their Covid-negative test results.

Nita Salam, administrator for the online initiative #takemetomom — a group that was formed by over 200 Indian mothers whose children are stranded in India — said: “Various kinds of requests from distressed parents are coming forward. Many have applied for residency visas and have not received approvals, some have their application statuses suspended due to the COVID-19 issue, and some have expired visas to name a few.”

Indian expat and tarot reader Shradha Salla has been stranded in Mumbai with her daughters Aarna (15) and Sunehra (13) since March, while her husband is here in Dubai. The family was in the process of making Dubai their second home when the pandemic hit. Though Shradha has a valid UAE visa, her daughters do not. “I need to get my girls’ birth certificates attested. Unfortunately, as the UAE Embassy in Delhi is closed, I cannot proceed with the paperwork,” Shradha told Khaleej Times from her home in Mumbai.

“Before COVID-19, I used to travel to Dubai every few weeks for the past four to five years. In February this year, we began our official move to the UAE. We were hoping to start the process after my girls’ school closes, and get their residency procedures completed as well,” she explained.

Ever since India has begun allowing flights for stranded expatriates, Shradha has knocked on every possible door to get back to the UAE with her daughters. She added: “Earlier since my girls had US visas, they did not need a separate UAE tourist visa. I applied for a visit visa on May 28 and got the approval on July 2. I immediately completed my COVID-19 tests, got the necessary approvals and we booked our tickets to Dubai.”

Even after receiving the boarding passes from Emirates and getting her luggage checked-in at the airport, Shradha and her daughters were not allowed to travel at the last minute. “After waiting hours at the airport, we had to return home dejected. My GDRFA approvals will expire by July 27. I have lost money, lost energy, and my kids’ hope and morale is so low,” she said.

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