Complex Made Simple

GDRFA-Dubai plans to launch Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) by end-2014

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) has announced that it will implement the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) by the end of 2014 or early next year after final approval of the UAE’s Ministry of Interior.

The GDRFA-Dubai Director General, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, said: “Big organizations require a progressive and ambitious administrative philosophy. The one that is capable of coping with the challenges and at the same time add to its growth and development. GDRFA-Dubai, which deals with millions of people every month from all the segments, follows the same principle. Our cadres are our true treasures.”

Providing details about the APIS in an interview for the July edition of Manafez Dubai, the official bilingual newsletter of GDRFA-Dubai, Major General Obaid Muhair Bin Suroor, Deputy Director General of GDRFA-Dubai, said under the directives of Lieutenant General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of UAE and Minister of Interior, the new system will be implemented to help airlines process their passengers’ personal and traveling details before their arrival in the UAE.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, is the chairman of the higher committee for the project, while Major General Al Marri is the vice chairman.

He said the ministry had assigned GDRFA-Dubai to oversee the project since the launch of its concept in 2009. The APIS, which was put on trial for a couple of years to test its efficacy, aims to raise the security at airports and at the same time reduce the time of passenger-checking procedures to less than 20 seconds. He said: “The use of technologies like APIS also helps reduce complications and disparities in security-check procedures faced by passengers while dealing with different airport operators and airlines in different countries,” he added.

He said the system will link airline companies that use Dubai International Airport with the GDRFA-Dubai in order to help them enhance their abilities to discover fake or expired documents, including passports and visas, before they transport the passengers to the UAE.

He said the APIS is ready for implementation at national level and a final approval from the government is likely any time soon.

He disclosed that the first phase of APIS will start with the First and Business class passengers of Emirates Airlines. Gradually, it will expand to include the Economy class passengers. At a later stage, the government will circulate guidelines to all the airlines to follow the suit and benefit from the APIS, he added.

The system is currently being applied in the US and some European countries. The UAE too need to implement the API System at its airports, which was used by more than 90 million passengers in 2013.

In his welcome note, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA-Dubai, said: “There is no doubt that adoption of the state-of-the-art technology is crucial in achieving these objectives. But technology alone cannot help us in achieving the desired results until we work on improving our human resources. It is the human capabilities and skills, boosted by education and training, that can help us utilize the technology in the best possible way for the welfare of the country and its people.”

Major Yasser Rashid Al Khanbooli, Director of Training and Performance Development Department at GDRFA-Dubai, disclosed that there has been a 37 percent average annual increase in the number of trainees at GDRFA-Dubai between 2010 and 2013.

The newsletter has published several interesting studies; one of them is about cybercrime which is impacting the economies to the tune of $400 billion annually.

This study is important considering the fact that Dubai government has established a cyber security centre in Dubai to protect government information systems and the telecom network.

Another study is about the latest LinkedIn report that reveals what it takes to work around the world with the UAE topping the list as the most-preferred destination for migrating professionals. Another study looks into the factors that play an important role in professionals deciding about the relocation for employment.

In the Technology Section, the newsletter has provided insights into how Identity fraud is a serious and growing problem in different part of the world. In the US and Europe, Identity Theft is one of the fastest-growing, most expensive criminal enterprises. Readers will find interesting developments and trends in various domains in the pages dealing with International, Middle East and the UAE news.

In the Opinion Column, Elizabeth Collett, Director of Migration Policy Institute of Europe, highlights the importance of valuing citizenship, while Tony Smith, Former Director General of UK Border Control, argues that Smart border control is not just about immigration control.

The entire content of the July edition of the newsletter in English and Arabic is available in digital format at

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