Dubai is to soon examine the eligibility of passengers to enter the country upon reservation in their home countries and before their arrival in the emirate.
A senior officer told Khaleej Times on Tuesday that the system, billed ‘Advance Passenger Information’ (API), is part of a federal project to be implemented across the country in the near future.
Col Khalid Nasser Al Razouqi, Assistant Director-General for e-Services Sector at the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, said the system, still under study, will help collect all data needed about passengers.
“It (the advance passenger information system) shall rather importantly help the residency and immigration authorities concerned decide accurately if a passenger is banned from entering the country or not.” Adding, he said the system, already implemented in many countries, is meant to save time, effort and money, enhance passenger flow and comfort, and curb violators early enough before their arrival to the country.
“Of course, we shall not prohibit anyone from entering the country. Rather, we shall disallow already banned people as registered in the systems of the country.”
Explaining, Col Al Razouqi said the system will help air carriers spot the banned passengers, and cancel their reservations in the beginning before checking in at their original countries.
“Otherwise, the authorities concerned here shall nab them and force the air flight company to charge the passenger’s return ticket home.”
While Dubai Airports are expected to see over 98 million passengers by 2020, the API system will simply show if the possible passenger does have all the documents required. “It will determine for sure if a passenger has a valid, invalid, fake or expired entry visa or not, and if he or she is wanted or banned from entering the country,” he said.
The Directorate General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, early in September this year, announced that 351,318 banned expatriates have been denied access to the UAE when trying to re-enter the country after undergoing an eye scan at the country’s entry points since the enforcement of the iris recognition system in 2003.
The Directorate, in December 2012, announced that it caught 1,304 forged travel and official papers and certificates in the first 11 months of this year in comparison to 1,090 in 2011.
These included fake credentials, manipulated certificates, and impersonation cases.
“Such vigilant and professional performance is mainly attributed to the advanced scanning devices in use, and, of course, the intensive and regular training, along with the most recent and advanced devices available to our staff,” he said, noting that the API system will be an advantage in this regard.