Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Dubai: The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs has warned the public about procuring tourist or visit visas from unofficial channels and paying ostentatious amounts for them, saying it is likely that the visas are forgeries.
The warning came after a man was arrested in Ras Al Khaimah airport for having a fake entry permit which he obtained from a tourist agency in Morocco. “Recently, a Moroccan woman contacted us via our Amer Service after her cousin was arrested at Ras Al Khaimah airport for having a fake visa in his passport,” Maj Gen Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the GDRFA-Dubai, told Gulf News.
Maj Gen Al Merri said the visa’s forgery became evident after its holder arrived in the country.
“Her cousin had acquired his visa from a tourism agency in Morocco. He only found out it was fake after he arrived in the country,” he said. “The Moroccan woman called us for help after her cousin was arrested. Despite the case being in Ras Al Khaimah, we are trying to do what we can to help the woman’s cousin. Investigations on the matter are still under way.”
Maj Gen Al Merri advised the public to apply for their visas through official channels only, to avoid being cheated and/or incriminated.
“Visa fees are standardised by the Ministry of Interior and are generally inexpensive,” he said. “People should not pay outrageous sums of money. We’ve had reports of people paying more than Dh10,000 for their visas. In many cases, these visas turn out to be fake.”
Maj Gen Al Merri stressed that tourists should only use credible agencies when planning their holidays.
He called on the public to check the validity of their visa before travelling by calling the ‘Amer Service’ toll-free number 8005111 or access the GDRFA-Dubai website in order to communicate with Amer service in this regard.
He noted that all airlines flying into Dubai airports must first ensure entry permits are valid before allowing passengers to board the plane.
“The GDRFA coordinated with all airlines using Dubai airport to avoid cases such as this from taking place,” he said. “According to standard procedure, airlines must first confirm the validity of entry visas of all passengers via a link of the GDRFA-Dubai before departing for Dubai.”
During an inspection tour of the external offices, which included the Free zone at Dubai International Airport, Al Twar centre in Deira and Al Manara centre in Bur Dubai, Maj Gen Al Merri said the department is continuously working to improve its services and to raise customer satisfaction.
“Through our Amer Service, website and smart apps we are aiming to bring our services to the public and expedite all transactions,” he said. “We are also trying to make the rules and regulations of the country as transparent as possible to avoid any misunderstanding.”
Maj Gen Al Merri was accompanied by Brigadier Salah Saif Bin Salloum, Assistant of the Director-General for entry permits and residence, as well as delegates and heads of sections from other departments.
By Razmig Bedirian Staff Reporter
Gulf News 2015. All rights reserved.