(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Visitors to Dubai can be free of worries about visa scams now, as the onus is on the airlines using the emirates airports to verify the validity of entry permits before issuing any ticket.
As per the service launched on the Dubai Residency Department website portal, both airline companies and offices, and individuals can enquire about any visa.
Failing to verify the validity of the entry visa, the airliner will have to shell out deportation and return fees of the passenger, Major General Mohammad Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the Residency and Foreigners Affairs Department, told Khaleej Times.
An airline or individual needs only to key in some details for privacy grounds to avail the first-of-its kind service in the region. The areas to be completed include the type of information to inquire about, as well as the applicants name, gender, date of birth and nationality.
The service can be reached at: http://www.ednrd.ae, he said.
Through the same link, one can inquire about the validity of entry permit, residence visa, e-DNRD application, e-form application and residence application status.
The move, basically aimed to curb down visa scams, will help avoid waste of time, money, effort and legal responsibility, he said. Pinpointing a momentous drop of around 90 per cent in forged visas this year, Head of Technical Control Section, Lieutenant Amer Rashed Almehairi, said only 2,959 invalid visas were found over the last 16 months.
Those include 953 in the first six months of the year as compared to nearly 2,000 over the same period in 2009, he said, adding that 135 invalid visas were registered in July this year against 230 in the same month last year.
The new service is hailed by airliners here, as it saved them deportation charges up to Dh5,000 against each passenger with invalid visa. There is an overwhelming response from both airline companies and individuals here to use the online verification service.
The advanced online inquiry is part of the 168 electronic services provided by Dubai Residency Department. The Dubai Residency Department has processed 9,297,725 electronic transactions from January 2009 to June 2010, Lieutenant Almehairi said.
Meanwhile, 54,160 e-gate cards have been issued this year while 1,755 passengers have used those cards at the 100 e-gates in the three terminals of the Dubai International Airport.
By Ahmed Shaaban