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Dubai offers 96-hour visa to transit passengers

posted on 10/09/2002: 22552 views

Transit passengers stopping at the Dubai International Airport for a minimum of five hours are allowed to obtain a 96-hour transit visa to go on a city tour of Dubai under a new service launched recently by the Dubai Civil Aviation Department and DNATA in cooperation with the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD), Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Net Tours. Colonel Saeed Mattar bin Bleilah, Director of DNRD, said that the new service is aimed at promoting Dubai and at the same time making use of the long hours the transiting passengers spend waiting for their connecting flights.

"The 96-hour transit visa is usually granted when the waiting time between connecting flights for a transit passenger is a minimum of eight hours, but it was exceptionally made five in the case of passengers wishing to avail themselves of the new service which has already been launched," Col. bin Bleilah told Khaleej Times. While the city tour service is chargeable, the 96-hour transit visa is issued by DNRD free of charge.

Transit passengers arriving at the Dubai International Airport Arrival will easily notice the banners announcing the service and can approach the DTCM or DNATA counters and information desks for information on the service. Passengers planning to go on the city tours have to approach the City Tours Desk available in the arrival lounge to make a booking for one of the several tours on offer against a nominal fee ranging from Dh95 to Dh115 for adults and Dh 55 to Dh65 for children.

In order to be allowed to register on the tours, the passengers should have confirmed bookings on their onward flights and they should obtain the DNRD transit visa. The City Tours Desk staff will fill-in the DNRD application form for Transit Visa, Dubai City Tours Manifest, specifying the name of the passenger, passport number, flight number and the time of arrival and that of departure of the connecting flight.

The DNRD will grant the short-term visa to transit passengers on case-to-case basis to ensure that those taking the city tours facility would not misuse it and ran away from the tour once they are inside the city. The form will bear two immigration stamps: one to show that the passenger has exited the airport on the tour, and the other to prove that he or she had re-entered to the airport and was back from the tour. Since any visitor on any type of visa needs a sponsor, DNATA will be sponsoring the transit passengers registering for the city tours, said an airport source.

Col. bin Bleilah said that the service was still new, but it would see further improvement in the near future with the setting up of an immigration counter next to the City Tours Desk and with the automation of the process to ensure a smooth processing of transit visa application forms through a computer link between DNATA and DNRD.

The DTCM and DNATA have designed interesting tours by bus in addition to a Dhow cruise option. Each tour carries a different theme and leaves at a specific time from the airport. All passengers have to be present at the meeting point on time, under the terms and conditions of the service.

The service features five different tours: Glimpses of Dubai departs at 10am and returns at 11.30 am. The journey features the modern structure of the Aviation Club, passes by the Deira City centre, Al Maktoum Bridge. Passengers take a short break by the Creek side before continuing through the old part of Bastakia, where they visit the fascinating Dubai Museum (20 minutes only) and get a glimpse of the colourful textile market and Sheikh Saeed's House. On the way back, the tour passes by the famous Gold Souk, the traditional Dhow trade at the Creek side and the old landmark of Dubai, the Clock Tower.

The Glory of Dubai Tour departs12 noon and returns at 13:30 pm. The tour starts with the Aviation Club and a glimpse of the Dubai Creek Golf Club, passing by the Wafi shopping mall and the green landscape of AI Wasal Hospital Road. Drive by the City Palace of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Minister of Defence, Old Trade Centre, Satwa shopping area and one of Dubai's popular landmarks, the Jumeirah Mosque. The tour will stop for 20 minutes at the AI Fahidi Fort Museum and will pass on the way back through the Creek Road, view modern Dubai (Deira) and the old landmark, The Clock Tower.

The Heritage of Dubai Tour departs at 17:00 pm and returns at 18:30 it crosses the Garhoud Bridge enjoying the view of Dubai Golf Club, Dubai Creek Park and the Dubai Court. Passengers will go on a journey into Dubai's past through the AI Fahidi Fort, drive through the textile market and stop at the old Sheikh Saeed's House and the diving village, then pass through the Gold souk, watch the traditional Dhow trade and the water taxis along the Creek side, then pass by the Deira City Centre and the Aviation Club.

The fourth tour offers passengers an idea of Dubai By Night. It departs at 8pm and returns 9.30 pm allowing passengers to get an overview of the Dubai creek Golf & Yacht club from atop the Garhoud Bridge, dash through Dubai's Manhattan, the Sheikh Zayed highway, view the contrast between the old Trade Centre and the new Emirates towers as well as other modern glass skyscrapers. Photo stop at Jumeirah Mosque and a brief stop at Sheikh Saeed House and the Diving Village, pass by the Gold Souk, the electronic market and view of Abra crossing.

The Dhow Cruise option offers a tour with Glimpses of Dubai that departs 10 am and returns11.30 am and another option with Glory of Dubai that departs12 noon and returns at 1.30 pm. Passengers taking these tours will experience the modern and the traditional sides of Dubai through a drive and a cruise. They will enjoy an unforgettable cruise in a traditional wooden Dhow along the Dubai Creek. (The Khaleej Times)


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