A special team comprising officials from GDRFA and the airport was formed to oversee the formalities.
The 300 passengers who had been stranded at Dubai International Airport (DXB) on Wednesday afternoon have been allowed to enter the country, authorities announced on Thursday.
A special team – comprising officers of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), the airport’s passport department, and the Roads and Transport Authority – has been formed to bring the stranded travellers to their residences late on Wednesday.
The passengers were left stranded at DXB’s arrival terminals because of a policy update. According to the new rule, in-bound passengers arriving at DXB and holding residence visas issued in other emirates must have pre-travel approvals from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).
In a video posted on the GDRFA’s Facebook page, the team was seen assisting residents as they boarded buses. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, director-general of the GDRFA in Dubai, thanked the special task force for their swift action in carrying out the evacuation.
Neeraj Agarwal, Consul for Press, information, and culture at the Consulate-General of India in Dubai, confirmed that nearly 290 flydubai Indian passengers were transported to the safety of their homes on Wednesday night.
“Flydubai arranged seven buses to transport passengers from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. We have also come to learn that passengers from DXB Terminal 3, Emirates Airlines passengers, were also transported to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain,” said Agarwal.
Explaining the policy update in a statement sent to Khaleej Times, Dubai Airports said: “According to new travel requirements travellers, holding residence visa issued in other Emirates need approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship to return to the country.”
Dubai residence visa-holders are still required to have approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) to return to the UAE.
However, as of Press time, late Thursday evening, UAE carriers Emirates Airlines and flydubai updated its passenger travel information sections on its websites, informing passengers that non-Dubai residence visas can land in DXB as long as they have ICA approval. Airlines have clarified that the GDRFA approval is only for Dubai passengers and all other visa holders must have ICA approval.
Emirates Airlines said: “If you hold a Dubai residence visa and you are flying back to Dubai, you must have return approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). This only applies to Dubai visas.” However, it added, “If you hold a visa from any other emirate outside of Dubai, you must obtain entry permission from the Federal Authority through uaeentry.ica.gov.ae.”
Meanwhile, budget airline flydubai said: “If you hold a residence visa issued by any other emirate, you will need to confirm your entry/re-entry to the UAE at uaeentry.ica.gov.ae before booking your flight. If you do not confirm your entry/re-entry to the UAE, you will not be accepted for travel.”
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