Confusion over issue of transit visas

ABU DHABI — Travel and tour operators in the capital claimed ignorance of the reported developments at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, regarding issuance of a 14-day transit visa at the airport counter at short notice.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 4 Jan 2006, 10:01 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:52 PM

A section of the Arabic Press had reported that visas, valid for a period of 14 days, will be issued promptly to companies and establishments, both in the private and public sector, on payment of a fee of Dh100. According to the report, the move was aimed at promoting tourism in the emirate as well as operations of the national airline Etihad Airways.

Travel agents, however, said they were not in receipt of any communique from any authority to this effect.

'At all times, the airport authorities chose not to open any communication channels with us and we are kept in the dark most of the time,' said the manager of a leading travel agency on Hamdan Street.

The manager of another travel agency said that his recent application for visas for a group of businessmen was turned down.

'I applied again, and the application again met with the same fate,' he said, adding that the applicants were high net worth businessmen and senior executives from corporate bodies, with high spending power.

Travel agents said that as far as they were concerned, the visa issue is at a status quo.

A source at Gulf Air said that though there was some talk of creating a visa counter at the airport, he had not seen any such counter on visiting the airport that morning.

Airport officials have declined to comment on the issue, except to refer to a move by the Abu Dhabi Department of Civil Aviation to introduce the eGate facility that provides passengers with residence visas, passing through the capital airport, to dispense with certain formalities of immigration clearance. This will be done through issuance of a card that will cost a one-time payment of Dh150. But they also clarified that this initiative had nothing to do with the 14-day visa issue.

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