Dubai: A weekend drive to Oman with friends turned into an ordeal for a man after authorities at the border turned him away because of a mistaken passport entry.
Parvez Bakali, 39, from Mumbai, India, says he was stopped from crossing the Hatta-Oman immigration checkpoint earlier this year after officials found his passport was apparently used to exit the country on November 12.
Bakali says he wouldn’t have had an inkling of the situation had he not planned the day drive to Muscat.
“I was not scheduled to go anywhere out of the country and it is only because of this last minute trip that I came to know of my ‘exit’ status. It is scary to think that if it all remained that way for another three more months, my residency would have automatically been cancelled,” says the father of three who last travelled out of the UAE on September 13, 2014 to celebrate Eid Al Adha with his family before returning to Dubai 13 days later.
However, according to his immigration records, Bakali remained ‘out of the country’ until last week when authorities ammended his status.
Under UAE law, a residence visa becomes invalid if the person is out of the country for more than six months.
In Bakali’s case, his three-year residence visa – otherwise valid until December 2017 – would have expired in May.
“Thinking of that possibility gives me the chills today,” says Bakali who finally got a ‘clean chit’ from the relevant agency last week, after several rounds to the immigration and other government departments.
“It was one difficult week away from work, but in the end I am glad I am allowed to travel once again. It’s worth all the time, money and energy I spent,” says the relieved man who is a senior sales executive at a satellite television company.
“It can happen with anybody and it surely can cause sleepless nights,” he warns.