India-UAE flights: Travellers with one name on passport heave sigh of relief as rules are amended

Revised guidelines to allow passengers with family or father’s name on second page of travel document to fly


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 25 Nov 2022, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 25 Nov 2022, 6:21 PM

Ever since new guidelines announced that travellers with just a given name and no surname would not be allowed to travel, there has been a lot of discussion on the issue.

On Monday, Air India was the first airline to have sent out a notice saying that “any passport holder with a single name (word) either in surname or given name will not be accepted by UAE immigration and the passenger will be considered as INAD" — a term which stands for inadmissible passenger.

As a consequence, hundreds of passengers were turned away from airports in India. According to travel agents, the new rules were applicable for all local and international airlines travelling from India to the UAE.

On Thursday, the Consulate General of India, Dubai shared a social media post which amended the guidelines and allowed people with their family name or father’s names on the second page of the passport to travel.

Bushra is one of those who has only one name on her passport and the reason for it was a comical family feud. “My grandmother wanted to name me Mubeena but my parents were quite set on Bushra,” she said.

“My parents wanted to appease my grandmother, but they felt Mubeena and Bushra didn’t match. So, they registered Mubeen Bushra as my given name and didn’t give me a surname as they felt it would be too long. So here I am with two given names and no surname.”

According to Bushra, it has never been an issue so far, but she wondered if she should get her name changed when the travel issue came up. “It was worrying for me but now that the amended regulations have come, I am relieved,” she said.

“On my visa, I have my husband’s name as my last name, so I am safe. I quite like my name as it is, and I am happy I don’t have to change it.”

Another person with a single name in the passport is Mehnaz Hyder. “I was born in Saudi and my father just gave one name,” she said.

“I have no idea why he did so or why the consulate accepted without a surname.”

Since then, the Abu-Dhabi resident has faced some hiccups, including being denied a visit visa to Saudi because of this. So, when the announcement by Air India came, Mehnaz approached authorities to change her name. “I know it wasn’t something that affected me, but I wanted to get it changed,” she said.

“However, it is not an easy process. I won’t be able to get my father’s name added as I don’t have any Indian ID cards. So, I think I will have to add my husband’s name, which I can do with the help of my attested marriage certificate.”

For Dubai resident Ahmed, it was an error by the passport officials in India that rendered him without a surname. “When I applied for my passport, somehow they missed out on adding my surname,” he said.

“I was a little worried that if I travel to India, I may not be able to come back and I was trying to get things figured out. I think I am safe because on my visa, my first name is followed by my father’s name. I am relieved now that the new amendments have come.”


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