Indian tourists with a single name cannot fly in or out of this country any longer

Travellers walk at Dubai Airport Terminal 3 in the Gulf emirate of Dubai, on 16 August 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Travellers walk at Dubai Airport Terminal 3 in the Gulf emirate of Dubai, on 16 August 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

An embargo has been put by the United Arab Emirates on the entry of Indian passengers who have just a single name on their travel documents, including visas and passports.

A circular issued by Indian airlines Air India confirmed the UAE’s revision of its travel guidelines, which state that “any passport holder with a single name (word) either in surname or given name will not be accepted by UAE immigration”.

“Then such a passenger will not be issued a visa and in case the visa was issued previously then he will be [inadmissible passenger] by immigration,” it added.

IndiGo airlines also issued a similar circular for travel agents on Monday. “As per instructions from the UAE Authorities, effective 21 November 2022, passengers with a single name on their passports traveling on tourist, visit or any other type of visa shall not be allowed to travel to/from UAE,” it added.

The new rule, however, excludes UAE resident cards and employment visa holders with a precondition.

“Passengers with a single name on passports and in possession of a residence permit or employment visa shall be allowed to travel provided the same name is updated in the ‘First Name’ and ‘Surname’ columns,” according to the statement issued by IndiGo.

It remains unclear why the restrictions were brought by the Gulf authorities. The UAE’s government has relied on the convention of writing the name cited by part 3.4 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), reported the Indian Express.

“The name of the holder is generally represented in two parts; the primary identifier and the secondary identifier,” as per the ICAO rules. “The issuing State or organization shall establish which part of the name is the primary identifier. This may be the family name, the maiden name or the married name, the main name, the surname, and in some cases, the entire name where the holder’s name cannot be divided into two parts,” it said.

Following the announcement, the Consulate General of India, Dubai also tweeted the revised guidelines for passengers with single names.

Meanwhile, several Indian citizens with only their first names on their passports have already been barred from flying out of the country, reported the Khaleej Times.

“My cousin, who had reached the airport to come to Dubai from Mangalore airport in India, told me he could not travel. My mother also doesn’t have a surname on her passport,” Zahra, a Dubai resident, told the outlet.

“She is currently in the US and is due to travel to the UAE. Now my family is trying to figure out whether she will be allowed to travel. I wish they had given us time and intimated us to sort everything out."