Dubai visas: New call centre for children to interact with immigration officials

‘Hotline’ for children was an offshoot of the dedicated children’s passport control counters at all Dubai International Airport terminals

by

Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 1:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 11:41 PM

Kids are generally inquisitive, and they deserve every piece of correct information. This is why the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai recently added an option where children between 7 and 12 years can interact with immigration officials to its call centre service menu.

They can ask questions about visas, passport renewal, and travel procedures – can they travel alone? – or which places to visit across the city.

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“Interacting with children will also help us get their ideas – how we can further improve our services,” said Lt Col Khalil I. Mohamed, head of the customer wellbeing section at GDRFA, adding the ‘hotline’ for children was an offshoot of the dedicated children’s passport control counters at all Dubai International Airport (DXB) terminals.

Both the call centre service and dedicated passport control are aimed at enhancing the travel experience and journey of young passengers. At the airport, children are given a chance to put a stamp on their passports, and the call centre service will give them information before travelling, noted Lt Col Mohamed.

24/7 call centre

The special call service is available both in the UAE and abroad. Kids can call the same toll-free Amer call centre at 8005111 (if they are within the UAE) and +971 4 313-9999 (outside the country).

Lt Col Mohamed assured any GDRFA personnel who will take the call is capable of interacting with the young callers. “We have even made it inviting for children to interact with us by using a welcoming, pleasant and lilting voice prompt,” he added. The menu number is 3 if the chosen language is English, while it is 4 for the Arabic language.

GDRFA director-general Lt General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri overseeing the Virtual Amer Service (video call) at GDRFA HQ. Photo: Angel Tesorero
GDRFA director-general Lt General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri overseeing the Virtual Amer Service (video call) at GDRFA HQ. Photo: Angel Tesorero
Lt Col Salem M. Bin Ali, GDRFA director of customer happiness department
Lt Col Salem M. Bin Ali, GDRFA director of customer happiness department

Another GDRFA official clarified the special service is for children to interact with immigration officials “and not for parents to call GDRFA and ask about the status of their children’s visa.”

Lt Col Khalil I. Mohamed, head of customer wellbeing section at GDRFA
Lt Col Khalil I. Mohamed, head of customer wellbeing section at GDRFA

“They (parents) can use the usual Amer call centre, which is open 24/7,” noted Lt Col Salem M. Bin Ali, GDRFA director of the customer happiness department

Meanwhile, officials noted an increase of around 240,000 online transactions, including calls, conducted by GDRFA in 2023 compared to 2022.

The total online engagement by GDRFA last year stood at 1,613,798, compared to 1,375,610 the previous year. GDRFA noted more residents and visitors are now using the more convenient video call or Virtual Amer Service.

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