UAE visit visa extension: Oman-bound buses 'fully booked' as demand spikes, say travel agents

'We do not have seats left for the next two days. The next seat is available on Monday,' says ticketing staff



by

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 16 Dec 2022, 5:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Dec 2022, 10:53 PM

More buses to Oman are pressed into service as seats have been filing up fast since the revised rule on UAE visit visa extensions took effect, travel agents say. Most visitors who wish to get their visas renewed will now have to exit the country, and taking a bus trip to the sultanate is said to be the most affordable option.

At the headquarters of a transport operator near dnata in Dubai, buses were packed over the last two days, Khaleej Times has learnt.

“We do not have seats left for the next two days either. The next seat is available on Monday,” said the ticketing executive.

“We have three daily departures from Dubai — 7am, 3pm, and 10 pm with a seating capacity of 35-40 for each bus. One ticket to Muscat costs Dh100. All seats are booked out for the next two days,” the staff added.

Travel agencies say visa run enquiries are also pouring in every day, prompting some to book more buses for the service.

“We have scheduled three buses daily to Oman and all the buses are running on full capacity,” said Libin Varghese, sales director of Rooh Tourism and Travels.

The new rules — which discontinued the option for visit visa holders to extend their visas within the country — came into effect on Tuesday. However, travel experts say it applies only in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi for now.

“Visitors in Dubai can still extend their visas at a price of Dh2,200,” said Varghese.

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Cost of visa change packages

Considering the surge in demand, travel agencies have introduced visa change packages starting at Dh950.

“The package includes two-way bus trips, visa cancellation charges, Oman visa charges, two-month UAE visit visa, and refreshments,” said Varghese.

“However, one must get the package in advance as it takes up to three days to get an Oman visa, and we have to apply at least three days before the departure,” he explained.

Ateeq Ahmed was among those who are travelling to Oman for a visa change. “I arrived in Dubai on a family visit on a one-month visa. However, I am returning as soon as I receive my UAE visa, as we normally have family gatherings in December and January,” he said.

His UAE visa expires on December 17, and he now received his Omani visa. “I will be returning to the UAE with a few of my cousins, who are residents of Oman," Ahmed said.

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