Residents can use Emirates ID to skip passport control lines
Dubai: You can now, technically, enter or exit the UAE in just 10 to 15 seconds — by using your Emirates ID at the Smart Gates at Dubai International (DXB) Airport.
The automated immigration gates at passport control do away with lines, saving time and effort for UAE residents leaving or arriving at DXB.
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “With a transaction time that averages 10 to 15 seconds, this is clearly a smarter way to travel. It speeds up the immigration process significantly and shortens queues. Our focus going forward is to get more residents using it.”
Many residents — more than 234,000 — have already used it since its phased roll out began earlier this year.
Amna, a Sharjah-based Pakistani university student who is currently studying abroad, said: “I used my Emirates ID twice at the Smart Gates, while entering and leaving, and it was a breeze. It saved me the hassle of standing in line at passport control.”
Completely free of charge and requiring no preregistration, the new service makes passing through immigration Smart Gates fast and convenient for all UAE residents. The first of its kind in the region, it is the result of the joint efforts of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), the Emirates Identity Authority and Dubai Airports.
The new service is available on all 127 Smart Gates across all three terminals at DXB. It has been enabled by creating a secure and efficient link between various operational systems and databases managed by Emirates Identity Authority, GDRFA and Dubai Airports.
Upon inserting the Emirates ID Card into the Smart Gate, the system can quickly, accurately and efficiently confirm the identity, travel plans and eligibility of UAE residents to enter and depart the country.
All UAE residents holding a valid Emirates ID card and who are older than 18 years can take advantage of the new system by using the card at any of the self-service gates at arrivals and departures across all three terminals at DXB. Families travelling with children below the age of 18 can approach the manned counter adjacent to the smart gates to complete the immigration process.
“I think what would be even better is more awareness or guidance about the service, because some people still don’t know about it or are hesitant to use it. I once had an issue using it, so an official processed my case at a nearby counter instead. There was no explanation why my Emirates ID didn’t work at the Smart Gate,” said an Asian traveller.
DXB was the first airport in the region and among the first globally to introduce automated immigration gates — the e-Gates — in 2002.
In April, Gulf News reported about Eyen Gate, a proposed new smart immigration gate at Dubai Airport terminals that, if implemented, will allow registered passengers through by just scanning their eyes, with no need to scan or check passports or e-Gate cards.
Box: Unlimited Wi-Fi at Dubai Airports
Passengers can now enjoy unlimited free high-speed Wi-Fi at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central after the operator Dubai Airports officially rolled out the upgraded service across both airports on Sunday.
The unlimited free Wi-Fi takes only one click to connect, thanks to a much-simplified landing page, and offers speeds that set a new benchmark in airports globally.
To ensure the speed and reliability of the new service, Dubai Airports is currently investing in over 6,000 new Wi-Fi access points to upgrade the entire wireless network infrastructure across both airports, and enhanced the internet links to over 5Gbps to provide the required bandwidth capacity — sufficient to power a small city.
New web applications have also been specially developed for each terminal and concourse to improve information for passengers.
“As the world’s largest international hub we are the heart of many journeys across the world today. When our passengers arrive in Dubai after a long journey they now expect to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. To enable this, Dubai Airports has invested heavily in developing a state of the art infrastructure to deliver industry leading Wi-Fi capability. It is just one of many initiatives we have undertaken to serve and delight the 83 million passengers that will pass through our airports this year,” said Michael Ibbitson, executive vice-president of Business Technology at Dubai Airports.