Over 150 Israeli passengers were trapped in Dubai Airport after confusion over a new visa policy concerning Israeli passports. Eventually, the issue was resolved but not before several hours of confusion and waiting.
Travelers With Israeli Passports Initially Denied Entry Into Dubai
Israeli passengers arriving from Tel Aviv on flydubai were held up for several hours in passport control due to confusion concerning a recent change in passport regulations.
In September, Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalize relations. As part of that normalization process, both nations agreed to visa-free travel on arrival for their citizens.
But confusion reigned after all Israeli passengers onboard a flydubai flight were denied entry into the UAE on the basis of their Israeli passport. The matter was escalated to authorities in both Israel and the UAE, who intervened and eventually arranged entry for every traveler. One outlet reported that pre-issued visas were cancelled and Israeli travelers had to apply for new e-visas on the spot.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat told the Khaleej Times that the “misunderstanding” had been resolved. Haiat added:
“The issue was addressed by the highest authorities of both the UAE and Israeli Foreign Ministry. The tourists filled out the electronic visa form and were allowed to enter the country.”
Thus far, Flydubai has only offered an apology and promise of a thorough review:
“We apologize to the 155 passengers who were delayed on arrival this morning. We are reviewing the reasons behind the delay and fully understand that this was inconvenient to our passengers’ schedules.
“This is not the standard of service we expect for any of our passengers and we are also revalidating the processes and procedures to prevent any delays to subsequent flights.”
The UAE has re-affirmed that Israelis are welcome and traffic from Tel Aviv is surging. This seems more like a clerical error or oversight rather than a deliberate rollback of the newly-relaxed visa regime between the two nations.
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