Air India Express on Monday announced that guests travelling to and from the UAE must ensure that their passports have their primary (first name) and secondary (surname) names.
Khaleej Times has learnt that several Indian citizens with only their first names on passports are being barred from flying out of the country's airports after airlines reportedly implemented the new rule.
Dubai resident Zahra said, "My cousin, who had reached the airport to come to Dubai from Mangalore airport in India, told me he could not travel. My mother also doesn't have a surname on her passport. She is currently in the US and is due to travel to the UAE. Now my family is trying to figure out whether she will be allowed to travel. I wish they had given us time and intimated us to sort everything out."
Fardan Haneef, a spokesperson of Deira Travels, confirmed that Air India Express was one of many airlines that had sent out a notice to this effect. “We have also received a notice from Indigo airline that people without surnames were not allowed to travel,” he said. “Today morning, we received a call from a lady who was prevented from travelling due to the same issue.”
The circular also states the rule will apply to those travelling on a tourist or visit visa but will exclude residence or employment visas.
A call centre representative of Rayna Tours and Travels said that the rule change primarily applied to those coming to the UAE from India on visit visas. “If you have UAE residency, it will not be a problem,” he said. “We are still awaiting information from the embassy regarding this issue. So currently, we are advising people to wait 48 hours before applying for a visa.”
The representative also said that they are recommending people to wait before they take further steps. “For people who don’t have surnames, we are advising them to add their father’s or spouse’s name to avoid confusion,” he said. “However, as we are still waiting for details, we are asking people to wait before they make any changes to their documentation.”
According to travel agents, the new rule applies to all airlines, including international ones. Meanwhile, Khaleej Times has reached out to the Indian missions here, and their response is awaited on the matter.
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