Lebanon says UAE lifts visa ban

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BEIRUT, June 16 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates has lifted a visa ban on Lebanese nationals, Lebanon’s foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib told Reuters on Friday, following a temporary suspension over “security concerns.”

Lebanese citizens have been reporting in recent weeks that visas for Lebanese outside the UAE were not being granted and travel agents said they were unable to request UAE visas for Lebanese nationals through the usual online system.

Bou Habib said he had been informed on Thursday evening by Lebanon’s ambassador to the UAE that visa access would be “reinstated” for Lebanese starting the following day.

There was no immediate comment from the UAE government.

One travel agent told Reuters on Friday that the change was not yet reflected in the online request system and that “many visa requests are still pending.”

A UAE official had told Reuters on Thursday that “temporary restrictions are in place in response to security concerns” but that they would be lifted “in the coming days.”

Thousands of Lebanese nationals are employed in the UAE and send remittances to their families back home, where an economic crisis has locked most depositors out of their bank accounts and pushed more than 80% of the population into poverty.

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