One of the first hurdles to cross when one is planning an international tour is getting the visa for the country. While some countries offer e-visa or paper visa through the online application, most of them get the visa stamped on your passport after a lengthy visa application process followed by the interview. Once you get your visa, you can be sure that you would be able to fly to your dream holiday destination. However, this is not true for citizens of Asian countries (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) who are planning to fly to Dubai or anywhere else in the UAE. In their cases, they need to have an OK to Board (OTB) status along with a valid Dubai visa.
What is Ok to Board
Ok to Board is a verification procedure done by the airlines you are traveling in. As UAE visa for Indians, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans are paper-based, they have to send the visa for verification to the airlines they are traveling with. Once it is verified, your PNR status would reflect as Ok to Board.
Importance of OTB
In the past, the cases of people visiting from the Asian subcontinent with fake visas had increased. To fight this, the UAE government made Ok to Board mandatory. All airlines have to verify the authenticity of the passport and e-visa or paper-based visa of their passengers. A fine would be levied on the airlines if this is not done. Hence, airlines flying to Dubai or UAE enforce their passengers to get Ok to Board before starting their journey.
Who is Exempt from OTB
OTB was mandatory for all people traveling from Asia to Dubai or anywhere else in the United Arab Emirates. However, there is a slight change in this. If you have a non-ECR or ECNR (Emigration Check Not Required) on your passport, you would not need to get Ok to Board. On the other hand, those who have an ECR (Emigration Check Required) status on their passport would definitely need OTB. If you are not sure whether you have an ECR or ECNR passport, talk to your travel agent or airline to be sure.
Process of Ok to Board
Once you get your UAE visa, you need to contact the airlines you are traveling with. You have to send a few documents which include a copy of the visa, scanned copy of your passport (first and last pages), confirmed return ticket and copy of your Pan card. While some of these are included in the Dubai visa requirements, you have to submit them once again while applying for OTB status. After the airlines receive all these details, they would recheck your visa and make sure that it is not a fake one, and issue Ok to Board to your PNR.
While there are some airlines that offer the OTB service for free, there are several where you would have to pay to get an OK to Board. The OTB fee would vary from airline to airline. It can be anywhere between Rs. 300 to Rs. 750. For instance, the fee for ok to board Indigo is Rs. 750 while Emirates OTB is Rs. 300. If you are applying for a visa through a travel agent, you must remember to ask whether the visa fee includes the OTB charges. In most cases, you would have to pay extra for the same.
It takes somewhere around 24-48 hours for the airline to change your PNR status to Ok to Board. So, make sure you apply for one at least 3-4 days before the date of travel. Your travel agent would inform you about the confirmation of OTB. Alternatively, you can call your airline to know about the same. Make sure to have the OK to Board status at least 48 hours before departure.
An extremely crucial thing to remember is that you have to get your OK to Board to travel to Dubai. If your PNR status is not changed to OK to Board, the airline has the rights to prevent you from boarding the flight. As you would have already spent money on buying tickets, applying for visa and booking tour packages, do not waste it just for a few rupees. So, call your airline or tour agent to get OTB Dubai visa and get ready for an unforgettable holiday in the Emirate city.