Egypt ends visa-free entry for Qatari citizens

Qatari nationals will have to apply for a visa at an Egyptian embassy abroad to enter Egypt, foreign ministry says.

Passengers walk at Hamad International Airport in Doha
Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, cut ties with Qatar on June 5 [File: Reuters]

Egypt’s foreign ministry has announced the end of visa-free travel for Qataris – the latest measure taken against Doha in the Gulf Crisis.

Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa to enter Egypt, the ministry said on Monday.

Gulf crisis hits stalemate

“It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman. 

The restriction will not affect spouses and children of Egyptian nationals, as well as Qatari nationals who are studying at Egyptian public universities, Abu Zeid said.

Media reports quoted sources at Cairo International Airport as saying that the decision would be implemented as of Wednesday or Thursday.

Egypt’s state-run Ahram Online publication said earlier on Monday that the move would affect not only the holders of ordinary passports but also those with a diplomatic or special travel documents.

The Gulf crisis

The development comes six weeks after Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed an air, sea and land blockade on the country.

The quartet accused Doha of supporting “extremists” – an allegation that Qatar denies.

More than two weeks after the Gulf Crisis began, the blockading countries issued a list of 13 demands that included the closure of Al Jazeera Media Network.

The move was condemned by various international rights organisations, the United Nations and heads of states.

Source: News Agencies