Emirates makes travel for Sri Lankans easy

The DVPC in Colombo

* Becomes local sponsor for Sri Lankan travellers * Opens Dubai Visa Processing Centre in its Colombo city office

Dubai, 19th July 2005 - Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has simplified visa procedures for Sri Lankans travelling to or transiting through Dubai by launching the Dubai Visa Processing Centre (DVPC) at its Colombo city office.

With the opening of the processing centre, Sri Lankan travellers flying on Emirates from Colombo to Dubai or points beyond can obtain a Visit Visa (60 days) or Transit Visa (96 hours) with Emirates as their sponsor. This significantly reduces the visa processing time as travellers are no longer required to locate a U.A.E based sponsor.

An electronic visa is granted to the applicants in three or less days, subject to passengers meeting the required eligibility criteria and all documentation being in order. The new centre is located at Hemas House, 75 Braybrooke Place, Colombo 2.

Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West Asia & Indian Ocean, Nabil Sultan said: "Dubai has become an increasingly popular destination for Sri Lankans who visit the emirate either on business or holiday; or as a stopover destination when travelling to America and Europe. We can now expect a larger number of Sri Lankan visitors with the Emirates assistance in visa processing."

Nabil said: "Simplified visa procedures were first launched in India in October 2002. The overwhelming response it generated there prompted us to launch the processing centre in Sri Lanka. We hope to extend this facility to other countries within the Indian sub-continent, which we serve with 101 weekly flights."

`A0Over the past years, Dubai has witnessed an increasing number of visitors from Sri Lanka. In 2004, 146,691 travellers from Colombo arrived at the Dubai International Airport. The total number of Sri Lankan guests at Dubai hotels registered a growth of seven per cent in 2004 vis-`E0-vis last year.

`A0"The launch of the new centre is one in a series of value-added services from Emirates to ensure our passengers have a hassle-free experience", added Emirates Sri Lanka Area Manager, Tissa Bibile. "At the centre, applicants will receive guidance and counseling so that proper documentation and faster turnaround time can be guaranteed."

A.G. Faridi, Head Dubai Visa Processing Centre commented: "Travelling to Dubai - Middle East’s fastest growing business and leisure hub - will definitely become easier for scores of Sri Lankans as they no longer need to locate a sponsor in the U.A.E. Also with visas being granted electronically, passengers are no longer required to queue up at the Visa Delivery Counter in Dubai International Airport upon their arrival; instead they can proceed directly to Immigration."

Operated by VFS, part of the Kuoni Travel Group, the Dubai Visa Processing Centre accepts Visit and Transit visa applications from leisure travellers, business travellers and passengers visiting relatives and friends.

Travellers can submit their visa application forms along with original documents at the centre. The information collected is processed by the centre and forwarded to Dubai Immigration authorities which take the decision whether or not to grant the visa. If the application meets the eligibility criteria, the visa is electronically uploaded on the PNR on the passenger’s ticket.

The winner of more than 270 major international awards, Emirates operates 13 flights a week from Dubai to Colombo. From 1st October, the airline’s schedule will be expanded to 18 services a week.

Note:`A0`A0 Dubai Visa Processing Centre does not accept employment visa applications The facility is only available to passengers flying with Emirates Airline to Dubai and points beyond.


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