Posts Tagged With: UAE

 
 

Dubai Water Canal

I must confess that, had I not lived in Dubai, it would never make it in my list of top must-visit places. Simply because it is a man-made city created from a desert and personally, I’d have no desire to travel somewhere to see a bunch of well-made concrete structures.  Having said that, I appreciate and am highly grateful as a resident of Dubai for all the comforts it continues to provide on a professional and personal front. And over the last couple of years, I am in awe of all that the government has done and continues to do in trying to make the city one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world.

On that note, I spent an evening strolling by the recently constructed water canal. The Dubai Water Canal was inaugurated in Oct 2016, three years after it was first announced. The changes made to Sheikh Zayed Road, the arterial road that connects the emirates, is commendable considering all that has been done in a short span of time and within the stipulated deadline.

The water canal is a 12-kilometre waterway that connects Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf and will eventually feature a jogging track, restaurants and cafes along the promenade and marine stations with regular ferry of passengers. As always, Dubai wants to make a noise about it –  I even noticed that they have Bose speakers installed along the walkway!! This project will also feature ‘smart’ electric poles and other tech-elements to fulfill requirements of Dubai’s aim to become the Smartest City in the world!

Here’s a first glimpse of the water canal and the bridges, view of Downtown Dubai and of course, Burj Khalifa.

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Categories: Middle East | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indian passport & travel issues

Note: This post is not really on travel but rather a problem that I faced because of my travel document. Hence relevant only to those with an Indian passport and living in certain countries outside India.

I made a brief weekend trip to India in July to attend a wedding. On my return, at the Emirates check-in counter of Bangalore International airport, I wasn’t allowed to exit and board the flight to Dubai. Eh, why? Because I had an ‘ECR’ stamp on my passport.

I have been in Dubai for the last 3 years, made a couple of trips to India and never faced this problem. However recently, I moved to my own work visa, having been earlier being on a spouse visa. What I didn’t realize was that my passport when issued and renewed, had an ECR stamp.

Indian_PassportSo what’s ECR?

“ECR = Emigration Check Required and as per the Emigration Act, 1983, ECR categories of Indian passport holders require to obtain ‘Emigration Clearance’ from the office of Protector of Emigrants (POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for going to following 18 countries:  United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Brunei, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand, Iraq .

However, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (Emigration Policy Division) have allowed ECR passport holders traveling abroad for purposes others than employment to leave the country on production of valid passport, valid visa and return ticket at the immigration counters at international airports in India w.e.f. 1st October 2007.”

So effectively, I wasn’t allowed to pass immigration and what followed was figuring out how I’d get my passport renewed when all my original documents were back home in Dubai. It meant spending atleast a week in Bangalore, dealing with the Passport Office there and its known bureaucracy, arranging for the papers to be couriered, missing days of work and getting a new passport before I could ‘legally’ exit India.

And then we did something crazy. But legal, I must add.

In short, I used a valid 6-month UK visa and exited India. It was the quickest way out of this unwanted mess. I had no problems at Indian immigration and of course, there was never an issue with entering Dubai. All in all, a stressful 24 hours. And an expensive one too. But all’s well that ends well.

So this one’s for those of you NRI’s, who issued or renewed the passport in the past and not realised that some idiotic passport officer didn’t check your educational qualification and stamped an ‘ECR’ on the passport. Get that rectified now.

I have to get my passport renewed at the Indian consulate in Dubai (which I assume should be far less complicated) so that I can enter my country-of-origin again without fear of being held back again!

Categories: India | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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