UAE's visiting visa rules: What has changed, what should travellers keep with them

Many passengers, including Malayalis, who failed to fulfil these guidelines or produce necessary travel documents were detained at the Indian airports and were not allowed to board the planes. Photo: iStock/suiwuya

Dubai: The latest guidelines regarding the UAE visiting visa have become a matter of concern for many who were planning a trip to the country. Affi Ahammad, MD of Smart Travels said that the passengers should keep all the documents ready at hand to be produced at the airport, to ensure hassle-free travel. The guidelines state that the passengers arriving in the country on a visiting visa should carry:
1) A valid return ticket
2) Address of friends or relatives with whom they plan to stay. It's better if they travel from India with the relative with whom they are going to stay
3) Passport with a validity of six months
4) Copy of their Emirates ID
5) 5000 dirhams in account or equivalent amount as currency

Meanwhile, the guideline that one should carry a bank statement for the last six months isn’t strict. Also, if not 5000 dirhams, they should have at least 3000 dirhams with them or possess a credit card with the stipulated limit.
Rules relaxed in 2020, but...
The above rules existed earlier too, but they were relaxed in September 2020. The directives were repealed when the travel agencies expressed concern that it would disappoint job aspirants who wish to come to the UAE and that it would adversely affect the businesses. However, now, many are troubled that the government has made it stricter again. Many passengers, including Malayalis, who failed to fulfil these guidelines or produce necessary travel documents were detained at the Indian airports and were not allowed to board the planes.

Some others who managed to land in Dubai were reportedly detained by the immigration authorities there. The government’s move to make the visit visa guidelines stricter has quashed the dreams of many youngsters who were eager to find a good job in the UAE. People who belong to families that aren’t financially sound have struggled to arrange the money for purchasing visas and air tickets. Now, they can't arrange Rs 68,000 more so that they could adhere to the directives. In the beginning, the passengers were reportedly detained at the Dubai airport. However, now, checking has been made stricter at the Indian airports too. It was reported that a few passengers who hail from the Idukki district in Kerala were detained like this and sent back to India. But, the Dubai immigration authorities haven’t issued any official statement regarding this.

No new vacancies, boost for tourism
The number of job seekers who arrive on visiting visas has gone up significantly, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the vacant posts were filled as soon as the pandemic subsided and the financial sector was recovering slowing, new vacancies weren’t created. Currently, hundreds of job aspirants are in UAE, trying hard to land a job. Among them, most Keralites are highly educated and experienced too. Inspections are conducted regularly at the airports in Dubai to ensure the safety of the passengers. Lots of cases have been reported for overstaying. Experts in the travel and tourism industry observe that the latest actions by the authorities would only boost the tourism sector in the Emirates. They say that strict inspection would make the immigration procedures transparent and would save the passengers from difficulties caused by miscommunication.

Most didn't have address proof
The passengers who were detained at the airport in Dubai were the first batch of flyers who faced a crisis as they couldn’t produce proper travel documents. Even though most people could prove that they had the stipulated amount at hand, they failed to provide the address proof of relatives or other accommodation details. When some of them said that they were residing with their relatives, the officials inquired about their address and Emirates ID. But, the passengers had to return as they couldn’t produce these details. Meanwhile, some others had to wait at the airport for hours before returning. These people had to suffer such hardships at the airport as they weren’t informed about the guidelines by the travel agents. However, the travel agents say that they too had no idea as these weren’t stricter earlier. 

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