Dubai: Airlines and travel agents on Thursday said they have been asked to implement new procedures for visit/ tourist visa holders flying into Dubai from five countries, after hundreds of passengers stranded at Dubai International Airport since Tuesday were flown back to their countries.
They said as per the latest instructions from the authorities, visit and tourist visa holders from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh must hold a valid round trip ticket for entry into Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).
Travellers not complying with the regulations will be sent back to the same destination where they came from on the expenses of the airlines concerned, the airlines were informed. Following this, Indian airlines such as Air India Express and IndiGo issued travel updates for Indian passengers travelling to Dubai on tourist/ visit visas or planning to obtain “visa on arrival” here.
While Air India Express stated that all tourist/visit visa holders to Dubai must hold a valid return ticket to be accepted for travel, IndiGo said such passengers will be denied entry and shall be deported at their own cost and expenses in the absence of a valid return ticket. Travel agents said they have also been informed by that these passengers should have a minimum of Dh2,000 with them. However, the airlines had not made any announcement about this till the time of publishing this report.
Hundreds of Indians, Pakistanis deported
Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani missions in Dubai confirmed to Gulf News that hundreds of passengers from their countries, who were denied entry for non-compliance of regulations for visit/tourist visa holders, were flown back home while a few dozens were cleared for entry.
“Out of 561 stranded Pakistani passengers, the consulate managed the entry of 23 passengers into the UAE. Of the remaining, 386 have been sent back and 152 are still at the airport. Their repatriation is being arranged on various flights by tonight,” a spokesperson from the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai told Gulf News.
“We are with them at the airport and food is being provided. Our Consul General had meetings with UAE Foreign Office and DG Immigration as well,” he added.
Of around 200 Indian passengers who were stranded at the airport, 120 were flown back home, according to Neeraj Agrawal, consul for Press, Information and Culture at the Indian Consulate in Dubai. “Over 30 were cleared for entry. The rest will be sent back tonight,” he added.
Airline sources had earlier said that there were hundreds of passengers of different nationalities, mainly from the labour-sending Asian and African countries, who were denied entry.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, which had confirmed travellers from Pakistan getting denied entry at Dubai International Airport due to non-compliance with entry requirements for tourist visas, had also 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 the 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.