Immigration at Dubai Airport

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Dubai International Airport is said to be the busiest airport serving international passengers, third-busiest in passenger traffic and sixth most active in cargo. Dubai Airport Company manages the airport and hosts major airlines like Emirates, Dubai International airlines and Flydubai. It is the biggest airline hub in the Middle East. 51% of the passenger traffic and 42% of the aircraft situations are handled by the Emirates airlines.


All the legal documents such as your visa, passport, and supporting documents like your itinerary will be checked in the immigration section. The government officials keep a check on the whereabouts of people arriving in the country.

You have to keep your legal documents handy as the immigration officer will typically check them on your arrival and departure. Additionally, they check twice on a one-way journey.

The government officials have the authority to ask you a set of questions and inquire about your documents as needed. There is a mandatory session of biometrics scan and retina scan, exclusively for Indians. All this information is recorded for future purposes.

Before boarding a flight to Dubai from Ahmedabad, Delhi or any other Indian city, it is always better to have an e-visa as there is no visa on arrival facility in Dubai. The procedure to get a visa for Dubai is simpler. The permit is issued to you within four to five working days if you apply for it online.

Fast-track immigration

The immigration process at the airport is faster than ever now, and it consists of an electronic gate for faster check-in and check-out. You then have to register your identity at the airport, get your passport and show at the e-gates.

What are these Smart Gates and where are they located?

The up and running smart gates are located at Terminal 3. These e-Gates are the fastest way out of the airport. The three steps of getting through the gate include:

  • scanning the barcode and your photograph on the passport
  • stepping into the portal
  • getting your retina scanned

It takes a few seconds to go through the process. People who have never used smart gates before have to register their ID after the retina scan.

Difference between e-gates and smart gates. How do they work?

e-gates and smart gates are different

E-Gates : When the UAE government officials profoundly investigate a traveller, a particular card is permitted to the fellow so that they can avoid lining up and talking to the agent. Only citizens of the UAE & people of a few other categories can access the e-Gates. The procedure is similar to the EasyPass/Australian SmartGate/Privium/ Global Entry.

SmartGate : The idea of the smart gate is similar to Automated Passport Control (APC) booths in the USA. However, all passport holders of visa-on-arrival or visa-waiver are allowed to use smart gates by the UAE.

Unlike, APC in the US, you don't need to have any membership or pre-application to use the gates.

Security and customs

Passing the security check and customs is one of the most critical processes that you have to go through while you are at Dubai International Airport. There is a list of flagged items that one must not carry while travelling to the UAE; also, there are some other aspects that you have to keep in check:

  • Carrying any drugs or narcotics is strictly banned in the UAE. If anyone tries to smuggle these items, they will be imprisoned.
  • In case the metal detector beeps, items such as shoes & socks, belt and wallet are ought to be taken off and put in a tray.
  • To carry medication while travelling, you'll have to keep the assigned prescription from a registered doctor. You can only take your medicines for 120 days while travelling to Dubai.

The regulation prohibits a few items while travelling, like reading material that can oppose Islamic decency & teachings, plant or soil, trammel, ivory or rhinoceros horn, narcotic drugs, radios, self defence equipment, sharp-edged swords or knives, cooked or homemade food, weapons or military equipment, duplicate currency, fireworks, and explosives.