In a display of support for Sudanese citizens amidst the continuing conflict in their home country, the UAE announced on Friday that it would waive fines incurred by Sudanese citizens in the UAE with expired visas during the past month.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) stated that financial penalties accrued since April 15 would be lifted under this directive.
The decision applies to Sudanese citizens who possess expired resident and work permits or have overstayed their planned departure dates, as reported by state news agency Wam.
The UAE’s move aims to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Sudan, who have been engulfed in intense fighting between warring military factions for over a month. The conflict has already claimed the lives of at least 800 civilians, according to the Sudan’s Doctors’ Union.
Moreover, more than 70% of hospitals in conflict zones are currently unable to operate, and the World Health Organization has condemned the looting of critical supplies in the country.
The UN Refugee Agency reported that over one million people have been displaced by the fighting, including at least 843,000 internally displaced individuals.
Maj Gen Suhail Al Khaili, the director general of ICA, emphasized that this initiative aligns with the UAE’s ongoing efforts to provide assistance to Sudan. The Sudanese embassy in the UAE expressed gratitude for the gesture.
As of 2020, approximately 100,000 Sudanese citizens resided in the UAE, according to figures released by Wam.
In addition to the visa overstay fine waivers, the UAE has demonstrated its commitment to supporting Sudan by sending aid planes and ships carrying essential supplies, including food and medical aid, to assist those affected by the conflict.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE had already implemented visa rule relaxations to ease the burden on individuals impacted by the health crisis. This included an amnesty period for visa fines for residents whose visas expired before March 1, 2020, offering crucial support to those who lost their jobs or were unable to travel due to global lockdowns and travel restrictions.