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Officials delay over 150 Israelis in Dubai airport amid visa issues

FlyDubai apologized after 155 Israeli travelers' entry into Dubai was delayed Monday over visa issues. File Photo by Emil Salman/UPI
FlyDubai apologized after 155 Israeli travelers' entry into Dubai was delayed Monday over visa issues. File Photo by Emil Salman/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Officials temporarily denied entry to the United Arab Emirates to over 150 Israelis due to visa issues encountered when their flight landed in Dubai.

The issue occurred early Monday after about 200 Israeli tourists arrived in the United Arab Emirates on a FlyDubai Flight, Channel 12 News reported.

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The holdup occurred due to a change in visa regulations Sunday evening.

Passengers with Israeli citizenship were required to fill out electronic visa forms, which was not required before the regulations change. After Israeli's Foreign Ministry senior officials intervened and the travelers applied for electronic visas, the clearance was resolved, taking about four hours.

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National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat also helped settle the issue.

The change in visa regulations may be due to Israel suggesting that Dubai would be marked as a red state, which would mean its citizens could not enter Israel, according to Israeli media.

The regulation changes Sunday do not affect passengers with non-Israeli citizenship, but all Israeli visitors will now be required to fill out E-visa forms.

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FlyDubai apologized in a statement.

"We apologize to the 155 who were late when they arrived this morning. We review the reasons behind this delay, and we understand that this was inconvenient for our passengers," the airline said in the statement. "These are not the service standards we would expect for any of our passengers, and we re-check the process and procedures to prevent delays on subsequent flights."

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Israel and the UAE formally normalized relations in September, agreeing to a mutual visa waiver, but there is still not formal visa agreement between them. Meanwhile, tourist visas are available for Israeli passport holders through airlines and travel and tourism offices, Abu Dhabi's foreign ministry announced last week.

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