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Monday, Jan 02, 2023 | Jamadi Al Thani 9, 1444
Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 6:00 AM
Last updated: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 11:07 PM
Now that visa stamps on passports are no longer required for UAE residents, Indian expats who are flying home are advised to bring their new Emirates IDs to avoid delays at airports.
A circular issued by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security in April stated that Emirates IDs now serve as proof of residency. The latest version of the card contains all the relevant details that used to be printed on the visa stamp, and immigration counters at various airports will be able to read the data on the ID.
Failure to bring the actual Emirates ID, however, could cause problems at airports in India, based on the experience of some expats who travelled recently.
Nita Nandi, who flew to Delhi with her six-year-old son, encountered an issue at Delhi airport because she didn’t have the original Emirates ID of her son.
“My son’s visa expired when I was in Delhi. But we had started processing the new visa well within the time before we left the UAE. However, I was stopped at the immigration in Delhi because I only had a picture of the new Emirates ID that my house help sent later via WhatsApp. I didn’t have the original one as it had arrived much after we had left for India, through courier,” Nandi said.
“I was stopped at the airline’s check-in counter, and when I explained the situation, they asked me to wait. The wait somehow lasted for over an hour, as the airline checked with the authorities and sought their approvals to allow us to board,” the expat explained.
The mother and son were then sent to the immigration department of the Delhi airport. The airline made Nandi sign a disclaimer that if her son is sent back to India from the UAE, they will not be responsible for it.
“I understand that it’s part of their protocol, but after this experience, I want to reiterate the importance of carrying the original Emirates ID while travelling abroad, especially since the new rule has kicked in.
“The EID acts like our visa for re-entry to the country and is as important a document as the passport. Upon arrival in the UAE, I faced absolutely no issues as their systems reflected the updated status of my son’s visa. So, thankfully everything was smooth on this front,” added Nandi.
Sharjah resident Nidheesh Kattil said he was stopped at the Kannur Airport in Kerala in November as his passport was not stamped with a residence visa.
“Arriving in India was smooth. However, during my return, I had to convince the customs that I am a resident visa holder,” he said.
“Then, I remembered that my Emirates ID is my residency visa with all the required information. When I showed them my ID, they were convinced and allowed me to go,” said the expat who works at a project manager at Reliance Aluminum and Glass Work LLC.
Dubai resident Ruksana Showkath Ali faced a similar situation when she was returning from Bangalore, India, in September after her vacation.
“The immigration officers in India were unaware of the situation, and I had even told them about my travel in the last couple of months,” said Ali, owner of Koncept Kreation.
“After showing them the news and the related articles online and my Emirates ID, they allowed me to board the plane. Carrying Emirates ID where ever you are travelling is advisable to facilitate ease in travel,” she added.
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