Going for UAE visa change package? Be careful and choose your travel agency wisely
Before anything else would like to clarify that this article is about my personal experience. I created it just to share and not to give any negative impact to the reader or related company.
I will be sharing with you guys the problem that I just recently encountered about this famous package in Dubai.
This package is very known and in demand for many travel agency here in UAE. The Filipino community is so aware of this none other than the “Visa Change Package”
Having this package is actually a relief to many new job seekers. Newbie, those who resigned or lost their job but still wishing to stay here normally avail this. This actually means a new opportunity for them. An opportunity to search for a better job or for some reasons.
Recently I availed this package for my husband. As I’ve shared in my recent blog hubby just lost his job. Relocating to other countries are not an option so far. So our decision was to get this visa package and he will look for another job.
However, the travel agency we dealt with seems so unprofessional and unorganized. How I really wish I never deal with them.
The first transaction was not for me though. Instead, I recommend them to a friend of mine. I felt so guilty that time as the arrangement turns into a mess. Still, I gave it another try I didn’t want to assume easily that they did not do their job well.
And that decision is really a big mistake on my part. Why I still pursue in dealing with them for hubby’s visa!
To make it more detailed guys I will explain the 2 scenarios that happened:
1. I recommend them to my friend
My friend’s cousin needs to exit for her visa change. She normally does her exit either Airport to Airport or to Armenia. But this time she was looking for a cheaper option.
She needs to be practical as this is her 4th exit and running out of funds. Her mom even helps her to produce enough money to buy a new visa package. They are actually thinking that this might her last exit. If the opportunity will still be hard for her she might go back to the Philippines.
She coordinates directly with that agency, she mentions what she needs and explains the expiration date of her existing visa. During that time the available option in that agency is the Oman exit by bus. She was a bit worried and suggesting maybe better to travel again in Armenia. But the flight cost was extremely high as it was during the Eid holiday week. So there is no option at all but to avail the Oman bus package. They assured her not to worry at all as their bus departs Dubai at 0530pm. Before midnight she will be in Oman. Unlike other travel agency who normally leaves at night time.
An hour before the departure time she was already in the pickup point. As expected few of Filipinos going for exit are there as well. It was really disappointing that the bus driver arrives for almost two hours late she was so nervous. The moment they reach the Oman-Dubai border it is already past midnight. A penalty of overstay slapped on her and with few Filipino having same issues.
They are begging the officer for consideration as their money was enough only for their stay in Oman. And also they highlighted it is the travel agency mistake. But understandably the officer cannot do anything. That is the rules and it is already generated in the system.
Because of this chaotic, the bus got a delay in the border. The Omani driver even threatened them that he cannot wait longer and will leave those people who can’t pay the fine.
They are arguing a lot and explaining that mistake is from the agency side. No matter how hard they explain it seems that the only solution is paying the overstay penalty. Those Filipinos contribute just to pay the amount and agreed that they will pay back once returned to Dubai.
It was really a trauma to my friend’s cousin. I can’t even look at her face when she told me what happened I was really shy.
According to the agency, it was out of their hands. They tried their best by giving a discount of AED50.00 in hotel rooms. Seriously? what is the value of AED50.00 compare to the problem they caused.
2. My personal experience.
I purchased a 3 months Airport to Airport package via Sharjah Airport. I’ve done my part in giving all the documents, clearly mentioned we need a 3 months visa. And most of all I paid on time with the right amount they required.
Hubby total waiting hours in the airport upon landing was 4 hours. Impressive! they really made it fast.
I immediately called hubby when the agent informed me that his visa is finally ready. As soon as he receives my news he hurriedly went to the E-Gate, tried tapping his passport and surprise! A message shown was “Congratulations you may enter”. We are thankful that his visa was successfully done.
After a few minutes, the agent called me and telling that the issued visa was wrong. Instead of 3 months they mistakenly issue a 1-month visa. She just simply told me to inform my husband of their options;
- They will cancel the one month visa and reissue the correct one. This option is not just as simple as that the waiting time is another 24 hours. It would be fine if they will be paying for the hotel accommodation but they will not. They just simply want their client to wait and sleep on the benches with their mistake.
- The second option is they will do a refund. Sounds good however this option is just for their benefit. The amount we paid for 3 months visa was AED1500 and they will give us back the AED300.
I told her I am not sure as hubby already informed me he was already out. They said he might not be out yet so better to call. And that’s what I did and he was really out that time.
When I informed that to the agency they told me sarcastically they will charge me the one month amount. I was really furious that time and inform her I need this matter should handle by her supervisor or manager. The mistake was not from our side why we need to suffer for it.
I coordinate with the supervisor and demand for the full refund. She asked me how can I demand that such thing if we use the one month.
By email, I listed down the problems they caused us.
- The new visa fee in the next 30 days which is not yet part of our budget.
- Roundtrip transportation to the airport around AED200 (Sharjah)
- Hala Fee
- Food consumption
- Hassle and so on.
According to her, the mistake was done by their typist. And the best they can do is to shoulder the next round-trip ticket. Basically, we will pay the amount of AED900.00 for the next visa package. (AED600.00 new payment + the refund owed to us of AED300.00)
I was not happy at all in their offer coz that is not our point. Why do we need to pay for the mistake that they honestly acknowledged? addition to that I am not crazy to take a risk of getting the new package with them again.
It seems we will not reach a good solution to this issue. We informed them by email and chat that we will check with Dubai Consumer rights if their solutions are valid.
However, we didn’t receive any response from them and seems they are ignoring us.
As per our call to DTCM and Dubai Consumer rights office, the mistake was totally made from the agency. They instructed us to coordinate with the agency again and ask a copy of trade license. But still, they don’t bother at all to reply and reach us.
As much as we want to resolve this matter with the simplest solution but the agency was so uncooperative. So, we run out of choice but to submit our complaint to DTCM email. The government office was so helpful and assisting us so well. They replied quickly and inform us they will look on that matter.
Their last update was they are coordinating to that agency directly and will get back to us.
It was really a stressful incident. I felt so sad that the agency supervisor is my fellow countrymen but so inconsiderate and unprofessional.
I am not sure if people will take my experience with this agency a big deal. But for me, it is so alarming that their carelessness at job affects other people. How about for their clients who really don’t have enough fund to support their visa change expense. Is their word sorry would be enough to help them?
Has anyone of you guys experience the same thing? I don’t know if it’s too much to send our complaint to DTCM? is it wrong to ask for a refund and check for our rights? Please feel free to give us your comment so our fellow expat will be aware of things they should be careful about.