UAE Traveller Alert: Be sure to check if you need an exit stamp

UAE citizens and residents, in addition to tourists, are able to enter and exit the UAE with a single swipe through the e-Gate facilities at airports.

But there may be some cases when this might not be ideal.

Some countries require to see a physical exit stamp of the UAE before you may cross into their borders, warns Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razouqi, Assistant Director-General of e-Service at Dubai’s Naturalisation and Residency Department.

When entering or exiting the country in the traditional way, a stamp in the passport provides proof of this. On the contrary, when using the e-Gate, no paperwork is involved, and the passport remains as it is.

In the UAE, the travel data of the person is documented in the system. When the person wants to leave the country by land borders after entering through the e-Gate, there is no problem as the information is available at all border points, Al Razouqi said.

But when exiting the country through e-Gate and entering another country, the destination country will not have this data and may not accept the explanation that the person exited through the e-Gate.

It is, therefore, important the traveller double-check if an exit-empty passport page will be accepted in the destination country, he adds.

The e-Gate was initially launched at Terminal 3 and planned to be installed at all terminals at Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum Airport. The device uses facial and eye-recognition technology to identify and verify the user, after the e-Gate card is swiped.

Recently, the technology was upgraded to recognise the Emirates ID data, after the ID card was activated for e-Gate card use. More advanced is the mobile application, which enables travellers to swipe their mobile phone device along the e-Gate’s monitor.

In all cases, the process is completed within seconds and no paperwork or airport staff is required, avoiding the long queues usually seen at airport borders. But if people want to get an exit stamp on their passport, they still can, explains Al Razouqi.

"There is an immigration desk where travellers can always ask for a stamp in their passports. However, in this case it is better to go through the normal route in the first place."

In 2013, the number of travellers making use of the e-Gate was 5.3 million and this year the DNRD is targeting to process some 7.5 million passengers through the different terminals.

"At this point the service is available for citizens, residents, and nationals of 33 countries," added Al Razouqi. "Many other people need visas to enter the country. We need to check their documents, they cannot use the e-Gate. The e-Gate is an alternative means."

The e-Gate card can be purchased for Dh200, while the Emirates ID card can be upgraded to be used as an e-Gate pass for Dh150.

Registration can be done at several points in the emirate, being Terminals 1 and 3 arrival halls, the DNATA office at Sheikh Zayed Road and the headquarters of Emirates airlines and the DNRD, in addition to immigration arrival counters at Terminal 3, which passengers use to register and enter. A passport and passport photo must be presented.

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