RAK issues new visa rule for Indians, Egyptians

RAS AL KHAIMAH - Egyptian and Indian nationals, who have been issued employment, visit or transit visas from Ras Al Khaimah Naturalisation and Residency Department, will have to enter through the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport where their original visas will be transferred. Those failing to do so will be subject to penalties.

By From Williams George (Our correspondent)

Published: Thu 20 Feb 2003, 2:34 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:25 PM

This was agreed upon recently by the Ras Al Khaimah Naturalisation and Residency Department and Ras Al Khaimah Civil Aviation. The decision came into effect from the beginning of this week.

Under the new rule, visas issued for the Egyptian and Indian nationals coming to Ras Al Khaimah for employment, visit or transit, are now being transferred directly to the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, according to the airport's Director of Operations, Mohammed Al Khader.

He pointed out that the move is in line with the directives of Engineer Shaikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, President of Civil Aviation Department and Member of UAE General Department of Civil Aviation. It is aimed at encouraging the Egyptian and Indian nationals to utilise the airlines operating through the RAK Airport in a regular and direct manner.

Mr Al Khader said: "Holders of visas will be furnished with copies, while the original will be automatically transferred to the airport. If the holder desires to enter through another airport, a penalty will be collected before releasing the original visa. This will definitely support the operating companies and particularly passenger carriers."

He said that Egypt Air has one weekly flight on Thursdays, while Air India has biweekly flights - on Saturdays and Sundays. "Once the new rule is implemented, the traffic is expected to increase at the rate of 35 per cent," Al Khader said.

The Egypt Air and Indian Airlines managers said that they have not yet received any official information about the notification. However, the Indians living in the emirate are not happy. Most of the Indian expatriates in the emirate are Keralities and the state is currently having three airports, one at Trivandrun, the capital of Kerala, another two at Cochin and Calicut.

Except from Calicut, no other flights are currently operating directly to RAK airport. Their dilemma is how is it practical for passengers to board the flight from Calicut, which is far away from Trivandum and Cochin.

Moreover, the incoming flights are already fully booked by the passengers from Calicut and it will be difficult for the residents of Trivandrum and Cochin to get a seat in the only flight, which arrives at RAK on every Saturday.

"It is very difficult for us to board the Indian Airlines flight from Calicut, which is four hours drive by car to Cochin. It is senseless to go to Calicut Airport when I have the facility to travel from Cochin to Sharjah daily," Joseph Shaju, a resident of Ankamally town, near Cochin told Khaleej Times.

"This is not a wise idea. This rule was implemented earlier in Ras Al Khaimah, but abolished later as it was found not practical at all. If my wife wants to come to Ras Al Khaimah, she will have to travel eight hours to reach Calicut to board the flight. This rule puts us in a difficult situation," said Moideen Kutty, a businessman based in the emirate.

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