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

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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Tankers defer retrofits to cash in on freight rates

Updated 33 min 30 sec ago

Tankers defer retrofits to cash in on freight rates

  • The rates for chartering a supertanker from the US Gulf Coast to Singapore hit record highs of more than $17 million and a record $22 million to China earlier this week

SINGAPORE: Tankers that had been scheduled to install emissions-cutting equipment ahead of stricter pollution standards starting in 2020 have deferred their visits to the dry docks to capitalize on an unexpected surge in freight rates, three trade sources said.

US sanctions on subsidiaries of vast Chinese shipping fleet Cosco in September sparked a surge in global oil shipping rates as traders scrambled to find non-blacklisted vessels to get their oil to market.

The rates for chartering a supertanker from the US Gulf Coast to Singapore hit record highs of more than $17 million and a record $22 million to China earlier this week.

By comparison, prior to the sanctions, shipping crude from the US Gulf to China cost around $6 million-$8 million.

The extraordinary spike in freight rates proved too good to miss for some shipowners who were due to send vessels to the dry docks for lengthy retrofitting and maintenance work.

“We can confirm several owners have postponed dry docking earlier scheduled for the months of October and November to take advantage of the skyrocketing freight rates,” said Rahul Kapoor, head of maritime and trade research at IHS Markit in Singapore.

The shortage of ships to move crude oil was so acute that some shipowners also switched from carrying so-called “clean” or refined fuels like gasoline to “dirty” cargoes that include crude oil, despite the costs of having to clean them later.

“Current rate levels are a no-brainer for pushing back scrubber retrofitting,” said Kapoor.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires the use of marine fuel with a sulfur limit of 0.5 percent, down from 3.5 percent currently, significantly inflating shippers’ fuel bills.

Only ships fitted with expensive exhaust cleaning systems, known as scrubbers, which can remove sulfur from emissions, will be allowed to continue burning cheaper high-sulfur fuels.

Ships must be sidelined for up to 60 days for fitting these, according to IHS Markit and DNV GL.

While freight rates have abruptly come off their recent highs, shipowners can still profit from the higher charges.

“One cargo loading at current elevated rate levels can not only finance the scrubber capex, but also account for extra costs incurred to install the scrubber at a later date,” said Kapoor, referring to the capital expenditure of fitting the scrubber.

Freight rates are expected to hold firm for the rest of the year.

“With seasonal demand support and tanker supply deficit still pronounced, we expect (fourth-quarter) tanker freight rates to stay elevated and end the year on a high note,” Kapoor said.