UAE visit visa change: Buses to Oman 'fully booked' amid airfare increase

Tour operators add extra buses to meet demand as 'visa-change packages' are fully booked for the next 10 days

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SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Wed 17 Jan 2024, 4:26 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Jan 2024, 11:46 PM

UAE visitors looking to change their visa status by travelling to Oman by bus are facing a challenging situation as travel agents reported a surge in demand, resulting in fully booked 'visa-change packages'.

With buses to Oman operating at maximum capacity, UAE visitors are advised to plan well in advance. They must apply for the package "a minimum of ten days before their visit visa expires", according to experts.

Firoz Maliyakkal, founder and CEO of Tahira Tours and Travels, emphasised, “Buses are running to their capacity daily, and visitors wanting to avail of the service must reserve the package well in advance. The demand for visa change by bus travelling to Oman has shot through the roof. We are receiving over 100 inquiries per day."

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According to travel agents, three bus services were previously operated daily by a private aggregator, and to meet the demand, many private agencies have started their bus services.

Feroz added, “Currently, eight privately operated buses, with a seating capacity of over 300 run from Sunday to Wednesday and are fully booked for the next ten days."

The sudden increase in demand is linked to a rise in airfare, prompting individuals to explore more cost-effective alternatives.

Shihab Parwad, managing director of Rehan Al Jazeera Tourism, said, “Earlier, visitors preferred airport-to-airport service for visa changes, but the price for that service has increased by nearly 20 percent.

"The affordability of bus travel packages to Oman has become a preferred option for many, leading to a notable increase in the demand for this mode of visa change."

The package price for visa changes by bus ranges from Dh1,000 to Dh1,100, presenting a cost difference of Dh400 to Dh500 compared to flights for airport-to-airport visa change. “Travel visas to enter Oman, a two-month UAE visit visa, exit fees, and one-night accommodation in Oman are included in the package,” said Parwad.

Visitors availing of the bus services can stay for a day in Oman or return to the Emirates on the same day, depending on the issuance of their UAE visa.

The private buses from Fish Roundabout in Deira depart at 10am and cross the UAE-Oman border by 1pm, depending on the crowd at the crossing. “After border crossing, we initiate the visa application process, which is typically issued within 10 hours,” said Parwad.

After receiving the visa, visitors start their return journey to UAE in the afternoon from Oman. “In case there is any visa issuance issue, they can stay for up to ten days (in the Sultanate). However, starting the next day, there will be a charge of Dh25 per day if you have to extend your stay waiting for visit visa issuance,” Parwad added.

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