Times of Oman
e-visa reprieve for expats flying to the UAE
November 24, 2015 | 8:53 PM
by REJIMON K reji@timesofoman.com
Earlier, expatriates used to procure visa-on-arrival in the UAE depending on their profession.

MUSCAT: Expatriates flying to Dubai will be able to get visa upon arrival, airlines said.

Quoting a statement from Col Talal Ahmed Al Shangeti, the UAE’s General Director of Airports Affair Sector, an Oman Air official said that earlier visa-on-arrival was revoked and as of this morning, the Dubai government has re-started visa-on-arrival facility until the website is updated to receive e-visa applications.

“Oman Air will also accept passengers without e-visa until the December-end as per the UAE airports’ statement,” Usama Karim Al Haremi, Senior Manager of Corporate Communication and Media at Oman Air, said.

The statement from the UAE says they are updating the e-visa system and improving the process to make it user-friendly for the travellers. Therefore, they don’t have any objection to any airlines operating in the GCC region to carry passengers without an e-visa approved permit.

“This improvement will continue until the end of December this year and we shall update you about any progresses,” the statement added.

Two UAE-based low budget airlines —flydubai and Air Arabia—have confirmed that passengers on their flights are being provided visa-on-arrival by the UAE authorities, depending on their eligibility.

“Expatriates flying to Dubai on our flights are being provided visa-on-arrival by UAE authorities,” an official from flydubai said.

Even after the UAE authorities revised the visa-on-arrival facility norms for expatriates in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on October 1, passengers travelling on flydubai continued to get visa-on-arrival.

However, on November 18, they stopped providing visa-on-arrival for passengers and on Tuesday, they have again started giving it to passengers flying with them to Dubai.

On October 1, the UAE announced that regardless of their professional status, expatriates would have to apply for an e-visa to enter the UAE through air, sea or by road.

Earlier, depending on their professions, many expatriates were able to procure visa-on-arrival.

However, now everyone, barring passport holders from certain countries, will have to apply for an e-visa to travel.

“We have got the advisory from flydubai. Passengers flying on flydubai to Dubai will be eligible for visa-on-arrival depending on professional status,” Mohan Kumar, a top official at the Majan International Agencies Travel & Tourism LLC, said.

Majan acts as a general service agent for flydubai in Oman.

Hameed Moideen, manager at Oman Wings Travel and Tours, also confirmed having received an advisory from flydubai. An official from Air Arabia in Muscat also said that passengers flying to Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah are being provided visa-on-arrival by UAE authorities.

Air Arabia flies 17 times per week to Sharjah and four times per week to Ras Al Khaimah.

Meanwhile, an official from Emirates, which also flies to the UAE from Oman, said the decisions are taken by the UAE government. “Quick travel to the UAE has become a herculean task. It is affecting business. Some get e-visa and some don’t,” PE Lalachen, a Muscat-based businessman, said.

Under the previous rules, businessmen and women, and their families from countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or the Philippines living in Oman, whose countries don’t have a treaty with the UAE could claim visa-on-arrival if their job titles were of senior roles, such as accountants, doctors, lawyers or engineers. But now all have to seek an e-visa.

European Union countries with whom the UAE has a treaty are unaffected by the new ruling, as are countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Andorra, that all have pacts with the UAE. According to the new norms, a GCC residence entry permit is valid for 30 days before entry from the issuance date, and allows a stay period after entry of 30 days, which can be extended to 60 days.

Meanwhile, a GCC accompanied entry permit is valid for 60 days before entry from the issuance date, and the stay period after entry is 60 days, which can be extended by another 60 days.

However, upon arrival, if GCC residency is found to have expired or cancelled, the entry permit holder shall not be granted entry and if the profession of the GCC resident is determined to have been amended after issuance of the entry permit, the holder shall not be granted entry.

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