Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Act now think later

We had a report on Sunday that an official has confirmed that visit, transit & tourism visas are for one visit only. Visitors leaving the country can't re-enter for one month, after which they'll need a new visa to come back in.

This visa 'clarification' is another example of the sort of nonsense we get all-too regularly. There's no thought about what it actually means before an announcement is made.

Relate it to another subject we've had stories on recently, about Dubai being a regional cruise ship hub. That's not to mention huge government investment in infrastructure for it.

So are the cruises for residents only?

If visitors enter the UAE and get on a cruise ship they can't, according to this 'clarification', come ashore when it docks back in Dubai. They've already used up the one entry allowed by their visa. And they can't come back in for a month.

So what happens?

The report is also yet another example of something else I complain about ad nauseum, the lack of questions from 'journalists'.

An official makes a statement which raises more questions than it answers, yet the questions aren't asked.

In addition to the cruise customer questions, what about the 33 passport holders who get an automatic visa on arrival? Does the one month ban apply to them too?

Gulf News has the visa 'clarification' here.


Anonymous said...

Stupid as stupid can things get. You would get to listen to these things in the 70s and 80s.....are we back 3 decades?


Grumpy Goat said...

I think there should be a single entity to sort out this sort of thing: a final source of all government ministry announcements.

Let's call it the Ministry of Ministry Clarification Clarifications.

BetsyZ said...

Let's not forget the tour groups that take you through Oman on the Hatta tour. I am taking my husband on one Friday since he is visiting from the States. Hopefully, we have no issues.

J i Emiraten said...

Thanks for bringing this up, we are concerned for all our visitors planning to come as they all plan to visit Oman as well during their Dubai stopovers.

I am also concerned for my European business contacts. Normally they fly Europe-UAE return for their periodical trips to the GCC and use Abu Dhabi/Dubai as "base camp". They do some day trips within the GCC, but are in the UAE in between them providing plenty of opportunities to meet and catch up. If this new rule is true (article does not even say if it is a new rule or not), they will be less frequently here.

Naturally, this means less business for the airlines, hotels and restaurants in the UAE.
This should be of primary concern to the DTCM. I have asked my private contact there to find out more about this. Will keep you posted, if there is an answer.

Otherwise the answer will probably come soon from all the visa runners who will be caught in No Man's Land by the Hatta border control...

Mo said...

This is something that UAE and whole of GCC must address. We are planning a trip to Singapore then to Bali and Back to Singapore to catch a cruise to an Indonesian Island of Bintan and back to Singapore.

Now imagine someone doing that to Dubai, drive to Oman, back to Sharjah and then to Bahrain on Air Arabia and maybe back to Dubai on flyDubai for a flight on Emirates back to Europe. According to the article this wouldn't be possible. So, lost a tourist and the money that tourist would have spent.

Seabee said...

Betsy, I guess like all such official things it depends on the interpretation of the individual officers at the desks. The usual way to get around a 'no' is to go out, come back in to a different desk to get a different answer.

Let us know how you get on...

JiE, your business contacts can apparently get a Dh1,000 multi-entry business visa, so they should be OK. Let us know if you get 'clarification' from your contact.

Mo, very true. It doesn't only apply to the more complicated route you suggested - someone driving into Oman for the day can't come back in according to the statement.

Blanca said...

This is so bloody typical. It is like these officials just mumble something and you never quite know what the h**l it is that they mean. Or what the real rule is.

Even worse, try calling any of the government organisations to find out ... you will never get a clear answer. You'll be lucky if you even get someone on the phone who speaks proper English.

Sigh. We will wait and see...

Grumpy Goat said...

In December I specifically asked Immigration the following question:

"My mother, a British Citizen, (who is entitled to Visa On Arrival) is coming to visit. If we go to Muscat for the weekend, is there going to be any problem with her re-entering the UAE?"

And the answer:

"British? No problem."

As it happens, we didn't go. But I'm now as confused as everybody else in the light of this (possibly new) ruling.

Mohammad said...

Todays GN has a clarification that citizens of Gods chosen countries will be able to enter and exit at will, and its only us mere mortals who will have to stay out for 1 month.

The only surprise is how Paraguay is the only Latin American country in the list given that they are one of the poorer countries in South America

Muscato said...

Well, clearly, somebody has a Paraguayan girlfriend...

Anonymous said...

Well, of course now 36 nationalities are excempt. Why not from the beginning say that the purpose of this new law (which has been in effect "for a long time") was to prevent people from the subcontinent to obtain illegal work.

Hazel said...

All of the 34 (33 / 36 - it seems to change on a daily basis, depending on who you listen to) nationalities on the "exempt" list, are entitled to leave the country on a "visit visa" (which is obtained on arrival) and re-enter without waiting the 30 days.
I work in an industry which has all sorts of passport holders coming in and out many times and have never had a problem with the exempt passport holders coming and going.