By Ghulam Haider
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has mandated individuals’ entry to the Emirates, only with surname or given name in their passports in the latest revised guidelines. However, the rule only applied to people holding visiting visas, visas on arrival, employment visas and temporary visas. The UAE resident card holders or people with work visas are exempted.
As per the amendments, passengers with only one name will be granted entry to the UAE if they have their father/family’s name mentioned on the second page of their passports. It also says passengers with only one name will be eligible for visa on arrival (VoA) if they have their father’s name or family name on the second page.
The rule came into effect Monday (November 21), and has now been amended, with passengers on visit visas or visas on arrival would have to clearly declare both their first and last names on their passports.
Earlier, any passport holder with a single-word name — either in the ‘given name’ or ‘surname’ column of their passport —was considered as an ‘inadmissible passenger’ (INAD) and not granted entry into the country by immigration officers.
This rule had created panic among many passengers. Reportedly, some travellers with only one name on their passports were barred from flying into the UAE. For example, a traveller can no longer enter a single name such as ‘Ahmad in either the ‘given name’ or ‘surname’ columns of his passport, was deemed invalid.
From now on, a name such as ‘Ahmad Ali, however, will be acceptable. ‘Ahmad Ali’ may be entered as the given name, as the surname, or with ‘Ahmad’ as the given name and ‘Ali’ as the surname. This formats will be acceptable now.
However, a passenger whose passport has both first and second names written in either the first name column or the second name column will be admissible, since this will be considered a clerical error. Also, a passenger with a single name on the passport, but whose visa mentions the father’s name or family name on the second page, will be allowed.
What goes into choosing a name?
Even though the most common naming convention is to have two parts to a name, it varies from nation to nation across the world. For example, according to a research report, ‘Law Enforcement Guide to International names’, Hispanic names contain both their father’s and mother’s paternal family names and traditional Arabic names are comprised of at least four components and can include five or more generations of ancestry and/or other components such as religious title, location of family origin, and an honoured ancestor’s name etc.
To implement the new rule, the UAE government relied on the convention of writing the name cited in Part 3.4 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which states that the “name of the holder is generally represented in two parts; the primary identifier and the secondary identifier.”
UAE’s 60-Day Visit Visa
Last month, the UAE began issuing 60-day visit visas for AED 500 under its revised laws for entry permits and visas, which were put in place to make the procedure easier for expatriates.
According to UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, the new rules were part of broad reforms called the Advanced Visa System (AVS).
Besides, a five-year multiple-entry tourist visa is one of the most popular choices of travelers because it does not require a sponsor and allows the visa holder to stay in the UAE for up to 90 consecutive days, which can be renewed for the same number of days in the same year.
The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi city is the capital of the UAE.