Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Mums seek permission to travel back to the UAE with their newborns

They are currently unable to travel because their newborn babies do not have valid residency visas

Maleha Ahmad Haq is one of many mothers appealing for special permission to fly newborn son. Courtesy: Maleha Ahmad Haq  
Maleha Ahmad Haq is one of many mothers appealing for special permission to fly newborn son. Courtesy: Maleha Ahmad Haq  

A group of mothers who are currently outside the UAE are appealing for their newborn babies to be granted special permission to enter the country.

The women, all UAE residents, travelled overseas to give birth in their home countries just weeks before the borders were closed in March.

They had planned to return to the UAE after giving birth, but were forced to stay put due to global Covid-19 flight restrictions.

This week some received approval to return to the country.

However, they said they are unable to travel because their babies do not have valid residency visas.

Because of this pandemic my baby boy has not met his own father yet, we desperately want to go back and be reunited as a family

Zainab Taimoor

“I finally have approval to fly but I cannot bring my newborn home as he does not have a residence visa,” said Zainab Taimoor, 28, who is in Pakistan.

“I came to my home country in early March, delivered my baby boy on April 4 and was due to fly back to UAE on May 9.

“Because of this pandemic my baby boy has not met his father yet. We desperately want to go back and be reunited as a family.”

As it stands, all travellers need permission to return to the UAE from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship before they can book a flight home.

Parents have been advised to contact clientsupport@tahaluf.ae regarding permits for newborns.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the ICA told The National that newborn babies were allowed to fly to the UAE if their parent has a valid residence visa.

Many of the mothers said when they tried to book a flight they were advised by the airline that they would need a separate entry permit for their child.

However, a spokeswoman for Emirates airline said that if the mother has obtained the required ICA approvals to return to Dubai, a ticket can be booked for her newborn.

Tina Hamilton gave birth to her first baby in the UK but was unable to fly back to the UAE to be with her husband. Courtesy: Tina Hamilton
Tina Hamilton gave birth to her first baby in the UK but was unable to fly back to the UAE to be with her husband. Courtesy: Tina Hamilton

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, any resident who gave birth in their home country had to acquire a birth certificate and passport via the relevant authority in that country.

Some parents would then apply for a visa at the local UAE embassy for their child to be able to enter the country legally, while others were permitted visas-on-arrival before transferring to a parent's sponsorship.

“I have been stuck in the UK since the lockdown after giving birth to my first baby on March 12,” said Tina Hamilton, 40, from the UK.

“My husband is in Dubai. He is devastated to have missed the birth of his baby and even more so that he is yet to meet his little girl.”

Due to the suspension of residence and visitor visas, Ms Hamilton said parents outside the country were in the dark not knowing how to return to the UAE with babies who do not hold visas.

Maleha Ahmad Haq, another first-time mother, has been in Pakistan since January. She gave birth to her son in early March and was due to return later that month.

“My son and I have been in Pakistan for the past three months,” the 26-year-old said.

“My husband has not been able to see his baby boy and I feel helpless.

“After three months of waiting I finally received my approval to return but my newborn cannot enter the country.

Zainab Taimoor, 28, has been in Pakistan for 94 days and cannot travel home to the UAE with her baby boy. Courtesy: Zainab Taimoor
Zainab Taimoor, 28, has been in Pakistan for 94 days and cannot travel home to the UAE with her baby boy. Courtesy: Zainab Taimoor

“I have been managing with the baby alone and it has not been easy.”

As per a new update on the smartservices.ica.gov.ae website, some residents said they had also received a notice alerting them that entry permits were only valid for 21 days.

As a result, many mothers said they now risk their permits expiring if they cannot travel with their babies within this time-frame.

Updated: June 17, 2020 05:46 PM

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