The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) has announced plans to do away with the passport control counters from the departures wing of Terminal 3.
According to GDRFA, If this plan is implemented, passengers will no longer have to queue at passport control counters. Instead, the traveller’s details, at the time of booking their ticket with Emirates airline, will be passed on to the passport control officers. Once the ticket is booked, passengers will simply be able to walk through to the departure gates after checking in.
“The plan is still under study and has to be approved before implementation,” a GDRFA official said, “If it is, all that is going to change is removal of the passport control counters. All other procedures will remain the same.”
Major General Mohanmmad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the GDRFA, said that this step will enhance the GDRFA’s services at the airport.
“We want our clients to enjoy fast and hassle-free travel. It requires efficiency on the GDRFA’s part to handle the large number of passengers using the airport,” said Maj Gen Al Merri. More than 71 million passengers used the airport in 2014. We are expecting 78 million travellers to use Dubai airport this year.”
Visa smartphone app
According to Maj Waleed Ahmad Saeed, Director of the Dubai Airport Passport Control at Terminal 3, an app will be available soon on smartphones that will allow visitors to check the duration of their stay as per their visa. If they have overstayed their visit, the app will allow them to pay the fine.
“We try our best to speed up the process for each and every traveller, even for those who have cases against them,” said Maj Saeed. “We try to complete processing their details at the counter in under 40 seconds.
“Despite working under pressure and dealing with angry travellers at times, we deal with passengers in a civilised manner and pay them due respect,” said Muna Saif Al Muhairi, a passport control officer at Terminal 3.
“Sometimes, people have issues with their passports which may have expired, or with expired visas. We try our best to help people avoid legal issues,” said Warrant Officer Haytham Ali at the GDRFA airport office.
Smart Gates and E-Gates
The objective of moving huge volumes of passengers with efficiency has led Dubai airpot to adopt many measures.
Lt Col Talal Al Shanqity, assistant of the director General of the GDRFA-Dubai for Airports’ Affairs Department, said the airport has installed more than 100 e-gates at Terminals 1 and 2.
Smart gates are available at Terminal 3 arrivals, which allows registered travellers to clear the immigration process in only 10 to 15 seconds by using either a passport, Emirates ID, Smart Gate card or even a QR barcode via the GDRFA DUBAI smartphone app.
A special needs counter at the smart gate is available which allows passengers in wheelchairs to go through it easily, said Lt Col Al Shanqity.
Currently, there are 28 smart gates at the arrival wing of Terminal 3, he added. There are 100 e-gates across the terminals at the airport and they can be accessed by e-gate card or by Emirates Airline Skywards.