Foreign nationals, including British citizens, who have fled Gaza are facing a tight deadline of 72 hours in Egypt before they must leave the country.
The evacuation of hundreds of foreign nationals from Gaza to Egypt through the Rafah Crossing took place on Friday, after which the border was closed for the entire weekend.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has been in contact with British nationals in the region to provide them with the latest information. They are actively working to coordinate with international partners to reopen the Rafah Crossing and extend the deadline for those in Egypt.
One poignant case highlighting the urgent situation is that of Yosra, a pregnant British national who was raised in the UK but moved to Gaza for university in 2015, where she met and married Ibrahim.
The couple resided in central Gaza until they had to flee during the recent conflict when their neighborhood was bombed. They were evacuated to Egypt through the Rafah Crossing and are now in Cairo.
However, because Ibrahim is not a British national, they must apply for a Family visa before they can travel to the UK. The 72-hour deadline in Egypt has left them anxious about overstaying and incurring fines.
Under normal circumstances, a British Family Visa application submitted outside the UK can take up to six months to process.
In response to this urgent situation, the FCDO and Home Office are working together to expedite visa approvals for non-British family members of British evacuees from Gaza.
While the process is expected to be significantly quicker than the standard timeline, the exact duration remains uncertain.
Dr. Nasser Alshanti, an academic from Manchester and Yosra’s father, has expressed his concerns about her well-being.
The challenging circumstances in Gaza and the uncertainty in Egypt have taken a toll on her health. The family is hoping for a swift resolution to reunite Yosra with her family in the UK and provide her with the care and support she needs during her pregnancy.