MIAMI – Around 200 Israeli passengers were held up at Dubai International Airport (DXB), following a last-minute change in immigration regulations.
FlyDubai (FZ) flight FZ1628 departed from Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) and landed in DXB at 6 am local time. According to Channel 12 News, passengers carrying only Israeli passports were not permitted to enter the country on arrival. Channel 12 News also claimed that Israeli visas were suspended by the UAE beginning at 7 pm Sunday, citing sources from the travel industry.
Although four planeloads of travelers were eventually able to reach the country, the channel said, Israeli passengers who arrived on Sunday had already run into difficulties.
According to aerotime.aero, Lior Haiat, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, said that after filling out an e-Visa application, passengers would be able to enter the country “in the coming hours.” After a five-hour wait, the problem was resolved and the Israeli tourists were finally allowed entry.
According to timesofisrael.com, separate statement from the Foreign Ministry said the issue was resolved via the intervention of officials at the “most senior levels” and that Israelis would soon be allowed in.
The Minutiae of a Historic Agreement
On November 26 of this year, FZ flew its first commercial flight to Tel Aviv allowing UAE citizens to travel to Israel. Conversely, last week, Abu Dhabi’s foreign ministry announced that tourist visas would be available to Israeli passport holders via airlines and travel and agents while the countries began to manage their burgeoning business and tourism ties.
Days later, the UAE said it would allow Israelis to enter on tourist visas while a permanent visa waiver arrangement was being worked out between the two new allies. However, there is still no formal visa agreement between the two nations even though Israel and the UAE signed a normalization agreement in September and agreed to a reciprocal visa waiver.
A reciprocal visa exemption agreement with the UAE had already been ratified by Israel’s cabinet, the Jewish state’s first such agreement with an Arab country. The agreement was to come into effect sometime this month.
Featured image; A FlyDubai Boeing 737-800 lands at Dubai International Airport. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP.