I would like to thank the Philippine Consulate in Dubai for giving me something to write today. Sadly, it won’t be anything but a rant.
So a cousin who lives in the Philippines want to come visit me in Dubai. I got her visa and plane tickets but was informed through hearsay* (there has been no official circular whatsoever) that there is a new policy for Filipinos traveling to Dubai on Tourist/Visit Visas: a document called “Affidavit of Support and Guarantee” containing the personal details of the sponsoring family member here in Dubai and declarations like “I guarantee that the subject (visitor) shall not be in any way or manner whatsoever a public burden in the UAE”, etc has to be notarized at the Philippine Consulate as this is a requirement at the Phillipine Immigration counters at the airport prior to departure.
Simply put, the new rule means: No notarization? (Even with an official visa issued by the UAE Immigration + plane tickets) Your butt stays put in the Philippines.
Unless maybe you agree to some “under the table” transaction which is a regular scene there.
The number of days to get that notarization: Ten working days, with a fee of 100 dhs (US$27). The amount won’t hurt much but the nuissance of going to the embassy and waiting for that ten working days is not a joke. I arrived at the consulate at 6:30 am because I was told people practically “camp” out there at the crack of dawn. I was already the 10th in the queue. There were countless others who have lined up for passport renewal, etc. The embassy does NOT open until 8:30 am but if you come at 8:30, expect to spend the rest of your day there until they close at 3 pm.
When I was finally called in after two hours of standing in the line, my documents were rejected because the first line in the Affidavit of Support and Guarantee, says “I, _____, of legal age, Filipino citizen…”
I am not a Filipino citizen anymore after acquiring Japanese citizenship through naturalization in 2003. I asked them to just cross out the “Filipino” part and just accept the document because regardless of the citizenship I am holding, I am a legal sponsor but was told, “This is not your embassy anymore. You have to go to the Japanese consulate to authenticate your signature and to ask for a document that certifies your nationality. Then you come back to us.”
What serious bullshit. They mean to say that non-Filipinos who want to sponsor relatives or friends living in the Philippines to come to Dubai need to go through an extra round of paper work that will cost them their time, money and sanity – the Japanese embassy doesn’t have a clue what the Philippine embassy requires, neither do they understand the need for it. Just for the record, the said document or the notarization is NOT required by the UAE goverment.
As a common sense and I bet in any international law, once a visa to the country of destination is issued, the traveller is cleared of all the requirement and has passed eligibility for entry. What the hell is the notarization hullabaloo of the “Affidavit of Support and Guarantee” for!? Oh, I get it, additional income stream for the Philippine government. Then just take the money and spare the people suffering outside your embassy gates hours before you even open. In the desert heat!
Please let’s not start with the debate that it’s with a good intention – to curb “human trafficking” that’s why the visa sponsor has to make a personal appearance at the consulate office. If the Philippine government is serious in preventing entry of would be unfortunate victims of human trafficking, I suggest they start cracking down on employment agencies shrouded with lies – sending women abroad, promising them good jobs while they end up as slaves in the Middle East, some going back home in wooden boxes. Totally heartbreaking.
AND? In all this circus, I heard there’s this miracle person called “THE FIXER”. He/she charges triple the amount at 300 dhs (US$81) but guarantees that you won’t have to be absent from your work, queue outside the embassy at dawn to submit your documents and queue again to get it after ten working days. Smooth operator, huh.
So what if a real human trafficker hires the efficient service of THE FIXER? Then so much for that “good intention”.
You can download the PDF version of the Affidavit of Support and Guarantee here.
* This new rule was reported in one of the UAE newspapers, Khaleej Times last September 20, 1010.
UPDATE: Unjustified offloading of Filipino travelers to Dubai have been getting attention in the UAE lately, as posted in UAE newspaper Gulf News. Please read my recent blog post about this as there is information as to where to file your complaints if you have been victimized by corrupt airport officials.