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UAE restricts travel with single name on passport amid new guidelines

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) prevents travel of passengers with a single name on passports per the new rule; those who have not clearly stated both, their first and sir names will be declared INAD, meaning ‘inadmissible passenger.’

The authorities of the United Arab Emirates have recently declared that all passengers with only a single name on their passports are prohibited from traveling to/from the UAE, effective Nov 21, 2022.

According to a statement released by Air India on Nov 24, 2022, the authorities declared that those passengers in possession of a residence permit or permanent visa would be accepted by UAE immigration to travel, despite having one name appearing on the passport. However, the rules state that this must be amended by updating the first name into the surname column.

The tweet also mentions the guidelines to follow for those intending to travel to the UAE with only a surname or given name on their passport:

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If the passport has one name, but the visa is issued with more than one name: the passenger has his/her father’s/family name mentioned on the second page.

Passport has one name: Passengers are eligible for a visa on arrival (VOA) if it is issued with the father’s/family name mentioned on the second page.

Single Name On Passport

According to a circular issued by Al and Al Express on November 21, 2022, the UAE guidelines prohibit those with single given names from visits, employment, and issuing temporary visas. Now that a single name will not be accepted by UAE immigration, such travelers are no longer allowed to be issued a visa. If an existing visa was issued previously, the visa shall no longer be valid and the passengers will be considered inadmissible.

Following the new guidelines concerns and queries are rising amongst prospective travelers, considering other countries possess no such rules. The US, for example, declares passengers with just one name as ‘first-name unknown (FNI).’ If you have a single name on your passport, your full name is stated under the surname field, and the first name field is replaced with FNI, the official US visa website says. Thus, the new rules, seem rather unreasonable.

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UAE bars entry to single-name Indian Passport holders

It appears that the rule was implemented immediately as several travelers from India have reported being turned away for having a single name on their passports. A Dubai resident, Zahra expresses her concerns over the newly established guidelines:

A representative from Rayana Tours and Travels has addressed that the rule change primarily applied to passengers from India holding visit visas. He also stated that prospective passengers must begin to take measures and make changes to their respective documents to comply with the new guidelines in order to enter UAE. “If you have UAE residency it will not be a problem,” he added.

Passengers, who currently do not have surnames are also advised to add their father’s or spouse’s names in compliance with the guidelines, however, due to the present uncertainty, they are also advised to wait before making any major changes to their official documentation.

How airlines responded to the new passport rule

Several Indian airlines have sent information to travel agents providing advice following the new rules including Spicejet, Air India Express, and more.

Single Name On Passport
Credits: Arabian Business, Uae Passport Rule: Air India Announces New Guidelines For Passengers

In regards to the new rules, IndiGo has explicitly declared:

The airlines have made clear, however, that UAE resident card holders or those in possession of employment visas are still allowed entry.

Concerns are continuing to rise since having one name, either a first name or surname is not uncommon in many countries.

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