We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

Which Dubai hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
20 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

A wee word of caution for anyone who may have a few hours layover at DXB and fancy leaving the airport for a while.

I arrived here last night on KLM at Terminal 1..the distance to get to immigration is long, then arrived at the immigration area, quite a lot of desks were open (maybe 60%), joined one of the queues with maybe 30 people in front of me... NINETY MINUTES later I was still in this queue, everyone getting very ratty by this time and what did not help was the queue beside ours was for 1 desk, then 2, then THREE!!... this queue went down very fast... Quite a few people in our very very slow queue suggested maybe one of the 3 desks cater to our queue to some of the MANY staff wandering about aimlessly which was met with a shoulder shrug grunt and walk off attitude. The guy manning our desk seemed clueless to what he was doing with him taking an average of 6 mins to process ONE passenger whilst a guy in a booth next was about 3-4 mins per passenger... They firstly check your passport, then take a photo of you, then faff about getting you to stare into some eye scanner machine for ages until it works before stamping your passport and sending you on your way. my flight was luckily fairly early in the arrivals hence getting to join the queue, by the time I got through immigration the entire hall was rammed with thousands of passengers stretching way back outside the immigration hall... then in what seems completely utterly pointless you join a queue to put your HAND LUGGAGE through a scanner, this queue wasn't too bad as passengers getting past immigration was at a trickle(still took another 5 minutes)I have NEVER experienced such a shambles as this anywhere I have been (Even the US is easier to get into) I dread to think how long it will take to get to departures when leaving....so from getting on stand at 2255 I finally got into my hotel (literally 5 mins from the airport) at 0130. I spoke to someone today in the hotel who came by Emirates and she said they never experienced this level of trouble, so,clearly the immigration in the EK terminal have got it right, but, the powers that be at DXB need to sort this insanity out properly trained immigration officers, realising a backlog is happening and opening more desks up.... as many immigration officers wandering around checking their texts as were manning a station..(By contrast I arrived yesterday in the morning rush at Amsterdam and was landside in under 10 mins of exiting the aircraft)So anyone thinking of taking a quick visit to the city be sure you have a very long transit time.

Istanbul
Level Contributor
164 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

Hi, passport queue at arrival is always very crowded in Dubai. It depends on your luck whether the line you are standing will move fast or slow. It is a big airport so many planes are landing and officers have no rush to provide a fast service. That very long transit time can be smartly bypassed by purchasing the fast track service. An assistant takes the arriver through a dedicated line. In 10 mins, you are at exit.

Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
20 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

Yeah I was jealous at those using that lol, I have had delays at immigration but really nothing like this 6 minutes to process 1 passenger has to be unacceptable,, I am just glad my flight never arrived an hour later.. I shudder to think how long the midnight rush pax took to get thru.

Here and there
Destination Expert
for Dubai, Pissouri
Level Contributor
41,697 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

Unusual for terminal 1, normally terminal 3 has the complaints about queues.

Not normal but may have been very busy at the time you arrived with a delayed flight - who knows.

Edited: 20 September 2013, 21:39
Dubai, United Arab...
Level Contributor
78 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

It is really annoying but a slow immigration line certainly isn't a problem experienced only in Dubai. However, the lack of urgency with the Immigration staff is certainly a common sight.

Level Contributor
12 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

I went through immigration in Dubai twice last year and had exactly the same experience both times. Approx 90 minute wait and the guys checking passports move in slow motion. They need to do something about it, its the worst I've ever experienced. Going through Abu Dhabi this year so fingers crossed its better.

home
Level Contributor
68 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

Dubai immigration staff have to rank highly as the most ignorant officials I have had the displeasure of encountering. I now treat them as I find them. When in Rome?

Mount Maunganui...
Level Contributor
5 posts
97 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

I agree the staff at Dubai airport are totally arrogant and not very welcoming to visitors or pleasant to deal with. Transit was ok coming from New Zealand going to Europe but coming home I had a 30 hour stopover so had to clear immigration. They were anal and slowwwww and completely unfriendly when entering the country.

When I flew out I had stupidly packed my duty free (purchased in Barcelona) in my carry on as it was a heavy bottle of liquor that wouldn't fit in my suitcase. It was unopened and in a specially sealed duty free bag with the receipt inside. It was confiscated but no one explained why. I could see them looking twice as my carry on was scanned and the scanner called over his supervisor. This woman ( burkha nazi) couldn't hide her glee at "catching" me even though I willingly opened the bag to show them what it was and explain it was sealed duty free. She was trying to grab it off me so I asked to speak to her manager. He didn't explain what the problem was but eventually I realised it was because it contravened the 100ml limit for liquids. I asked if I could go back and check it in and he said, "No, you cleared passport control, you are no longer in Dubai".

Burka girl took it and without looking at me or speaking to me walked away and dropped it in the bin. What upset me most was that she absolutely got off on it. I had even asked if it could be passed on and put on the plane in a sealed box which I found out is what they do with duty free liquor purchased at Dubai airport.

If you buy perfume or liquor over 100mls duty free prior to your Dubai stopover, ensure you pack it in your checked luggage before returning o the airport or you can kiss it goodbye.

Here and there
Destination Expert
for Dubai, Pissouri
Level Contributor
41,697 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

You may not be familiar with that ruling but the liquids ban over 100ml has been in force since 2006 in Europe, the USA and many other countries, including the UAE; which adopted the practice at a later date.

Your alcohol was confiscated for that reason and no other. If the duty free at Barcelona had been doing their job properly they should have asked before selling it to you if Dubai was your final destination and when they established that it wasn't, then they should have given you that advice

Actually if you'd waited until Dubai duty free to buy your alcohol then you could have carried it onto the plane in a carrier bag so what you say about sealed boxes is nonsense and needs pointing out because other people may read your report and think that is what they have to do. Thousands if not millions of people buy duty free liquid of any description in Dubai airport every year and carry the liquid onto the plane in carrier bags..

Your post reads as though they had some personal vendetta and took pleasure in their jobs - they treated you no differently to any security official in any airport where someone kicks up a fuss when they've breached the rules - and you broke the rules - if in doubt just take a look at the mountains of confiscated liquids in any transit security area at any airport next time your travel.

What you have written in your last sentence is true of any transit stop, regardless of where it is in the world.

Edited: 21 September 2013, 22:19
Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
20 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

ditto

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Dubai
Level Contributor
10,865 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Cautionary warning Dubai airport immigration

I find immigration people in most countries are not very friendly or welcoming, that's just standard. I don't find Dubai worse than anywhere else - if you want ''ignorant'' visit Kuwait.

In Dubai it gets you a long way to smile and make an effort at a few words of Arabic. As it does in most countries in the world. An effort to interact helps. I generally speak to the Dubai immigration guys about English football.