Dubai: Days after Dubai started enforcing entry requirements for visit/tourist visa holders and made it mandatory for them to carry valid return tickets, diplomatic sources said several passengers, mainly from Pakistan and India, continue to be stranded at the Dubai International Airport.
The Pakistani Consulate in Dubai on Monday confirmed to Gulf News that a total of 1,225 visit/tourist visa holders from Pakistan were denied entry so far. “Of these 1,019 have been sent back while 206 are still remaining at the airport. They will be sent back during the next 12 hours,” a consulate spokesperson said on Monday.
He said the passengers had not met one or all of the entry rule requirements, which included valid return tickets, hotel bookings and enough funds to support their stay. The consulate had earlier instructed Pakistanis flying to Dubai to carry a minimum of Dh2,000 as ‘show money’ to prove that they have enough funds to support their stay apart from the confirmed return tickets and hotel bookings.
The spokesperson said the mission had also instructed the airlines and immigration offices back home to strictly prevent those not meeting the entry requirements from flying. However, some people have still managed to fly in, he said. The diplomat added that the Consul General of Pakistan in Dubai Ahmed Amjad Ali has been holding meetings with the officials of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to sort out the issue. He added the mission was also trying its best to provide food to the stranded passengers and continues to work closely with the local authorities to resolve the travel crisis.
Meanwhile, Neeraj Agrawal, consul for Press, Information and Culture, at the Indian Consulate, confirmed on Monday that dozens of Indian visitors had been stranded at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport since Saturday night. “The preliminary information we received was that there were around 90 passengers who flew GoAir from Delhi to Dubai on Saturday night. A few of them were later cleared for entry. As of now, 59 passengers are still stuck at the airport.”
Apart from the Go Air passengers, he said the consulate has also been informed about seven other stranded Indian passengers who flew Emirates. “As of now, 66 passengers are at the airport and we are trying to assist them to either clear their entry if they meet all the requirements or send them back at the earliest.”
He said the consulate had already sent its representatives to the airport to personally ensure that each stranded passenger was carrying a confirmed return ticket. “We have only been informed about the circular about the requirement of valid return tickets for visit and tourist visa holders to Dubai. We have also received a copy of it. But, we have gone beyond that to ensure that all of them are carrying sufficient money with them as well.”
The diplomat added that the mission has taken up the matter with the highest levels of officials with the immigration and foreign affairs departments in Dubai to resolve the issue.
Dubai had started strictly implementing the entry requirements for visitors and tourists mainly from labour-sending Asian and African countries last week. Hundreds of passengers were denied entry for not meeting the requirements and most of them were flown back to their countries of origin.
Following this, the authorities have instructed airlines that they would be responsible to bear the cost of sending back the visitors who do not have valid return tickets.
Travel industry experts have said that the strict enforcement of the entry requirements will prevent job seekers from flying into Dubai on visit/tourist visas and getting stranded here amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move is also likely to prevent expats from countries that do not have direct flights to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 restrictions from getting stranded here if they cannot continue their onward journey to their countries of residence.
What Amer Centre says
According to the website of Amer Centre which processes UAE visas, visit/tourist visa applicants have to submit a copy of first and last page of visitor’s passport, the home address and the contact information of the visitor, details of where the visitor will be staying in the UAE and the contact person’s details as well as the visitor’s passport-size photograph taken against a white background.
“Each visitor’s passport should have a minimum validity of six months. If the visitor is your spouse, the same must be mentioned on your passport,” says the website.
“Upon submitting your details, our visa specialists will review your application, and if necessary, they would get in touch with you for further details like an airline ticket, guarantor’s documents, or voucher indicating hotel booking. If a guarantee is not a requisite, we assure you of quick processing and submission of visa,” the website adds.