Qatar Airways warns travelers of new visa requirements to the US

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Passengers traveling to the US on Qatar Airways will not be able to board their flights without showing proper documentation, the airline has announced.

“We are enforcing the new rules,” a spokesperson told AFP, referring to a new restricted immigration policy set by US President Donald Trump.

Citing safety reasons, Trump has ordered a temporary ban on nationals from seven Muslim countries from entering the US.

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US President Donald Trump

The nations are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Last night, a federal judge in New York issued an emergency stay for anyone who had been traveling to the US when the order was signed and landed with a valid visa.

But many people have already been sent home this weekend.

One man transiting through Hamad International Airport on his way to the US for example was not allowed to continue his journey yesterday.

Speaking to NBC News, Mohammed Al Rawi, a Los Angeles County employee, said his 69-year-old Iraqi father was not permitted to board his flight to California on Saturday.

Al Rawi said his father was eventually sent back to Baghdad.

“This actually makes us as a country look bad. … I am generally concerned about all US citizens in the Middle East. Targeting Muslims this way puts people in horrible situations.”

Meanwhile, two Syrian families with permanent resident status in the US were detained at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday morning. They were then sent back to Doha, according to the Inquirer.

Travel alert

Qatar Airways flies to 15 American cities directly from Doha.

In a travel alert on its website this weekend, it said that citizens of the countries listed in the ban must have a permanent resident card (Green card) to enter the US.

Fadi Benne

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, US media has reported that green card holders are only being accepted on a case-by-case basis, even though they are legal permanent residents.

Qatar Airways also said travelers can enter the country if they present one of the following visas, according to US Customs and Border Protection:

  • A1 & A2 (Government Officials and immediate family);
  • C2 (Travel to UN);
  • G1 & G2 (Representative & employees of international organizations);
  • G3 & G4 (Representatives to and employees of international organizations); and
  • NATO

Student and tourist visas for citizens of the seven countries are not being accepted at this time.

Etihad also said it would honor the ban “effective immediately,” AFP said.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines can rack up thousands of dollars in fines for each passenger who arrives at their destination with improper documentation.

Reactions

The ban also targets refugees, barring Syrian ones indefinitely and others for at least four months.

Fallout from the move has reverberated around the world in the form of protests, sharp rebukes from leaders and confusion for travelers.

Blondinrikard Fröberg/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

And at least one country – Iran – is retaliating by saying it will ban all US citizens from entering its country.

In a statement, Iran’s foreign affairs ministry called the ban “a clear insult to the Islamic world” and a “great gift to extremists and their supporters.”

Officials in Qatar and across the Gulf have not commented publicly on the ban. But many in Doha had lots to say:

Thoughts?

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