Dubai: Over 180 passengers travelling on tourist visas to Dubai have been stranded at Dubai International Airport since Tuesday as they did not fulfil certain entry requirements, an airline official told Gulf News on Wednesday.
Shahid Mughal, regional manager of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) in the UAE, said the passengers had arrived after the airline received instructions from local authorities about implementing the requirements, According to the instructions, passengers travelling to Dubai on visit or tourist visas are required to have funds of at least Dh2000 and hotel booking or relative’s reference to show their place of stay during their visit.
Minimum Dh2000 funds required
“We received a circular from the local immigration authorities yesterday. Visitors on tourist visas have to show they have Dh2,000 [to support their stay] and hotel booking or prove they have relatives whom they are visiting.”
He said over 180 passengers, who arrived from Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, were not allowed entry since they had not fulfilled these entry requirements.
“PIA team and a team from the Consulate General of Pakistan are in touch with the local authorities to see if they will be allowed to leave the airport,” he said. The official confirmed that the airline has started strictly implementing the rule and is currently not allowing non-compliant passengers to board the flights to Dubai.
Stop boarding from Pakistan
“We have instructed the policy to our teams and will make sure those who are not fulfilling the requirements will not be allowed to board,” he added. When contacted, a consulate official told Gulf News that the did not know about any new requirements for tourists. “We are trying to sort out the issue as soon as possible,” he said.
A Dubai resident, who gave his name as J.F, said his cousin from Lahore is among the stranded passengers. He told Gulf News that many passengers were worried if they would be allowed to enter Dubai or sent back.
“His flight landed here at 3pm yesterday. He doesn’t have that much money with him. He was coming to stay with me and look for a job. I have sent him my passport and visa copy to prove our relationship. I don’t know how to help him now. I also don’t have that much money with me. I don’t know if I can hand it over to him even if I borrow from my friends and go to the airport.”
Officials in Dubai respond
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai confirmed that a small number of travellers from Pakistan were denied entry at Dubai International Airport due to non-compliance with entry requirements for tourist visas. GDRFA clarified that these travelers did not have a valid hotel reservation or a relative’s reference, nor did they have a return ticket booking, as required by UAE immigration rules. GDRFA also said that the vast majority of passengers that are compliant with the visa rules and arrive at Dubai International Airport face no delays upon entry.