UAE studying plans to allow transit passengers ‘day out in the city’

Travelers from a number of countries need prior approval for transit visas before they are allowed entry into the UAE. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018
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UAE studying plans to allow transit passengers ‘day out in the city’

DUBAI: The UAE government is drawing up plans that will allow transit passengers “a day out in the city,” state news agency WAM reported.

The UAE Cabinet has created a working group, led by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, to formulate the new policy.

When implemented, transit passengers will be encouraged to stay in the Emirates longer and have a chance to explore the country’s tourist attractions, and boost the country’s tourism sector.

“The local aviation industry is one of the most successful international models, having achieved world records and topped many international indicators in a relatively short period,” state news agency WAM reported.

“Transit passengers in the UAE made up 70 percent of the total passengers last year, and an enhanced entry-visa system would have a huge potential to benefit local tourism and economy.”

Travelers from a number of countries need prior approval for transit visas before they are allowed entry in the UAE, while those provided a 96-hour transit visas must fulfil certain criteria including a hotel booking for the duration of their stay as well as the time between their arrival and departure from the country is not less than eight hours.

The general policy being worked on would include visa fees and mechanisms to increase the number of visitors.

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UAE stops visa to Pakistanis, Afghans

Author: 
By Syed Faisal Ali, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2001-10-03 03:00

JEDDAH, 3 October — The United Arab Emirates has stopped issuing visas to Pakistani and Afghanistan nationals the world over in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, said Muhammad Nadeem Khan, head of chancery at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai.

Speaking to Arab News by telephone, Khan said that though the consulate has not yet received any official communication in this regard from UAE officials, it has been confirmed from other sources.

The Gulf emirate stopped giving visas to Pakistanis and Afghans for the last 10 days, but there was no official confirmation from any side.

Khan said that a letter was sent by DNATA — the UAE’s civil aviation body — to all airline managers informing them about the government’s decision to stop issuing visas to Pakistanis and Afghans until further notice.

Pakistan International Airlines’ General Manager in Dubai Shahid Latif had forwarded that letter to the consulate, Khan said. “Until today that is the only official communication we have received, and on that basis we have already written to UAE authorities.”

It is also reported that UAE visas of all categories have been stopped for nationals of the two countries. Even transit visas have also been stopped, Khan said. He further said that a lot of Pakistanis are facing hardship due to this decision and have approached them to solve it at the earliest.

Khan said that this precautionary step has been taken by the UAE due to the fear of an impending US attack on Afghanistan, which has refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, to the US.

If visas were being denied only to tourists and others who can wait until the present crisis is resolved, there would not have been much trouble. But according to reports, a blanket ban has been imposed for all the categories. Even those who had gone on vacation and whose visas expired are being denied re-entry to UAE, which may cause them their jobs.

“We are trying our best with UAE authorities to avoid a blanket ban on all Pakistanis,” said Khan. “Businessmen will suffer greatly if denied entry and others cleared by us should at least be given visas.” Khan was, however, optimistic that “the issue would be resolved favorably within a week.”

Pakistani businessmen in the Kingdom, worried by the development, made a representation to their embassy in Riyadh and urged the officials to raise the issue with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to resolve the issue immediately.

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UAE slaps bond requirement for visit visas

Author: 
By a Staff Writer
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2002-05-08 03:00

DUBAI, 8 May — The UAE government yesterday started imposing a 2,000 dirham deposit or bond on sponsors of people who come to the country on a visit visa.

The rules governing this bond requirement, announced by the Ministry of Interior, however, are not clear as yet. It is not stipulated how the deposit is going to be handled or whether it will also cover people who come on transit visas, usually given to select nationalities at the airport, the Gulf News said in a report yesterday.

According to the Immigration and Residency Department at the Ministry of Interior in Abu Dhabi, the 2,000 dirham bond is being imposed to lessen the abuse of visit visas, especially by people who come for extended periods of time looking for jobs. The ministry supervises the immigration and naturalization departments in the seven emirates.

In theory, once the visitor leaves and proof is presented of his or her exit, the money can be refunded.

Sources from the naturalization and residency departments in Ajman, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi said they would impose the "visitor bond" following the ministry directive.

The visitor visa deposit must be deposited in a bank, and the person sponsoring a visitor must present a bank letter or slip bearing evidence of the amount deposited.

Sources from the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department, however, said they have not received any official instructions about the bond yet.

An Interior Ministry source said visit visas are issued to everybody if their sponsors meet certain requirements, including salary limits. Visas are routinely issued to any nationality as long as they are not on a blacklist or have a previous criminal record.

The source explained that the sponsor would be required to pay the deposit 2,000 dirhams for each visa.

"This deposit is to ensure that the visitors will leave the country when their entry permit expires and that they are not staying illegally in the country. It will not be refunded in case they overstay the visa period unless a fine for overstaying is paid," said the source.

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‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

Updated 17 June 2019
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‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

  • Fatih Birol’s comments were a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges
  • Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving problems such as global warming

DUBAI: Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, cracked a joke in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago.
“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be,” he wrote about the fuel that many experts agree could hold the key to the world’s energy problems.
It was a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen — generation, storage, and transportation — make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges.
Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving such problems as global warming and environmental degradation.
“The world has an important opportunity to tap into hydrogen’s vast potential to become a critical part of a more sustainable and secure energy future … The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future,” the report said.
That argument will get a critical boost today, when Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, opens its first hydrogen fueling station in Dhahran Techno Valley, in the heart of the Kingdom’s oil producing region.
Aramco has partnered with Air Products, a US company that has been a pioneer in the use of industrial gases, to produce a filling station for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

 

It is very much a test. “The collected data during this pilot phase of the project will provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment,” Aramco said when the project was first announced.
But it is something Aramco has been investigating for a long time. Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s chef technology officer, said: “The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport.”
Hydrogen — essentially what is left when you take the oxygen out of water — has been recognized as a potential fuel source for many decades. Motor manufacturers developed a hydrogen motor engine 50 years ago, but the ease and accessibility of hydrocarbon fuels — oil, gas and coal — made it uneconomic to develop this technology beyond the prototype stage.
Now, as the debate over the role of hydrocarbons in the global environmental balance has become ever more intense, some experts, including Birol and other influential parts of the thought-leadership establishment, believe hydrogen is the next Big Thing in global energy trends.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) said recently that “green” hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, and that is the problem the theoreticians are struggling with: Hydrogen is released naturally in the process of burning hydrocarbons, but it is self-defeating, in an environmental sense. if you have to burn oil, gas or coal to produce it.
On the other hand, renewable sources, like sun, wind and water, do not produce enough hydrogen to be practically or commercially viable, and not at the right times, when people actually need it.
But, as the WEF noted recently “low-cost green hydrogen is coming”, as technology advances mean the cost of renewable energy falls dramatically each year. The Middle East already has a very big and very cost-efficient program for solar energy generation.
The other challenges lay in how to store and transport hydrogen. It can be loaded onto a tanker like LNG, or pushed through pipelines, but it would require a huge investment to change current logistics systems — essentially designed for oil and LNG — to handle hydrogen.
Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, already have the infrastructure associated with oil and gas refining and petrochemicals production to be able to equip “hydrogen hubs,” as long as there is government will and commercial incentive to do so.
For the Kingdom, it looks like a no-brainer for the future. As Birol said: “So, hydrogen offers tantalising promises of cleaner industry and emissions-free power. Turning it into energy produces only water, not greenhouse gases. It’s also the most abundant element in the universe. What’s not to like?”

FACTOID

Technological advances mean low-cost ‘green’ hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, according to the World Economic Forum.