UAE: Visitors scramble for tickets to neighbouring countries following visit visa rule change

Before Covid-19, there were several bus and flight runs dedicated solely to those wanting to change their visa status

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 14 Dec 2022, 1:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 14 Dec 2022, 2:45 PM

New visa rules came into effect on Tuesday stating that visit visas cannot be renewed without exiting the country. Ever since. visitors have been scrambling for tickets to Oman and other neighbouring countries.

“The tickets to Oman are a little out of my budget,” said one visit visa holder who did not wish to be identified. “I am exploring other ways, including travelling to Oman by bus.”

Travel agents have confirmed that some flights have been added since the new rules were revealed. “There are some new flights to Oman to ensure that people have enough options to be able to travel,” said Afi Ahmed from Smart Travels. “Fly Dubai has added one flight tonight on which more than 500 of our clients are travelling for a visa change.”

On Tuesday, UAE brought in new restrictions for people wanting to extend their visit visa from inside the country. According to the new rule, visitors must exit the country and re-enter with a new visit visa or residency permit. This was the case for all visitors prior to Covid-19. During the pandemic, the rules were changed for humanitarian concerns.

The sudden change in rules with immediate effect has led to an increase in demand for air and road travel tickets from the UAE to Oman and other neighbouring countries.

“Earlier there used to be an entire industry of visa change flights by low-cost airlines,” said Bharat Aidsani from Pluto Travels. “Those flights which included trips to islands like Kish were discontinued after visa changes were permitted from within the country. Now that the rules have been changed back again, it is only a matter of time before these are reinstated.”

Before Covid-19, there were several bus and flight runs dedicated solely to those wanting to change their visa status.

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