Last 2014, I decided to take the risk of coming to Dubai. I don’t have any relatives in the UAE which made the sponsorship a little bit difficult and complicated. I was sponsored by my god-sister and was issued a Tourist visa from a registered agency in Abu Dhabi. My flight was booked on the 14th of 2014 at 20:05.
I long prepared all the necessary documents needed for the passport control or the immigration:
1. NSO Birth Certificate
2. Clearance (issued from DepEd Regional Office stating my filed Vacation Leave)
3. Certificate of Employment
4. BIR/TIN Certificate
6. Payslips (all)
8. Affidavit of Support
9. Invitation from the Travel Agency
10. Round-trip tickets
11. NSO Birth Certificate of my sponsor
12. OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate of my sponsor (needed but I did not have it)
13. Show money of $1,200 (amount is my choice)
14. Proof of Income of my parents
15. PRC ID
16. DepEd ID or Company ID
17. GSIS ID
18. ID’s of my parents
I arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport at exactly five o’clock in the afternoon and went directly to check in my baggage. After checking in, I paid the terminal fees. Guests were just few so I didn’t queue long. Everything went smooth until I was finally inside the immigration office. The immigration officers were in a small cubicle (Like of the banks. I thought they were individually seated in an office).
It was a good thing that I arrived so early as queue was not yet long. I chose a younger male officer who looked kind and calm. When I approached him, I greeted him and handed my visa and passport. Our conversation went this way:
IO (Immigration Officer)
Me: Good evening, Sir. (with eye contact)
IO: Where is your destination?
Me: Dubai, Sir.
IO: What will you do in Dubai?
Me: I’ll have a tour, Sir.
IO: Tour? What is your work here?
Me: I am a SPED teacher, Sir.
IO: Which school?
Me: in **** School, Sir.
IO: Can I have your Vacation Leave?
(I handed the vacation leave and IO read it intently.)
IO: How many years have you been working as a SPED teacher?
Me: It’s been a year, Sir.
IO: A year??! Your vacation will start on April 15 until May 14. How can it possibly happen when public school teachers whose service is below 12 months are only allowed for 15 days paid leave?
(I was starting to get nervous. I didn’t know about this.)
Me: Yes Sir. I am paid for 15 days and it’s okay with me not to have salary for the remaining days.
IO: Who is your sponsor?
Me: It’s ______. She’s my godsister, Sir.
IO: Why are you alone in this travel?
Me: Sir, my parents have no vacation since they are administrators and my sister is only 11 years old. They can’t be with me in this trip.
IO: Is this your first trip abroad?
Me: Certainly yes, Sir.
IO: Since this is your first time, I’d like you to fill this form up and wait on the other side.
The form was actually for passengers who can be offloaded. I just filled it up with basic information and details of travel.
After two minutes, I was called by a lady who seemed to be on a higher position. She was wearing a suit which was different from all other officers. Our conversation went something like this:
IO: Where are you going to?
Me: I’m going to Dubai, Ma’am.
IO: Who’s there?
Me: My godsister, Ma’am.
IO: What is her job?
Me: She is a Phlebotomist, Ma’am.
IO: What is that?
Me: It’s someone who takes blood from patients for medical testing.
IO: When was the last time she came home?
(Oh my gosh! I did not know!)
Me: She came home last October, Ma’am. (I still answered confidently.)
She stood and went to check on her system on the other side of her table.
IO: Again, when did she come home?
Me: October, Ma’am.
Me: Yes, Ma’am.
IO: Why’s the system telling it was June?
Me: I don’t know, Ma’am. She came home last October because it was our city fiesta. (I was really confident.)
IO: What’s your job here?
Me: I’m a SPED teacher, Ma’am.
IO: I know you’ll work there in Dubai and you will be AWOL later on.
Me: No, Ma’am. We are family of teachers. I have job here. I will come back.
IO: No, you won’t.
Me: I will come back, Ma’am.
She stood up and encoded my information in her system. She asked me to go back to the first IO and have my passport stamped.
I handed my passport to the first male IO.
IO: How much cash are you bringing?
Me: I have $1,200 here, Sir. Do you wish to see the cash?
IO: No. When is your returning date?
Me: May 14, Sir.
He stamped my passport and said, “Okay na.”
Me: Okay na, Sir? (My voice is still calm but I was shaking inside.)
I went straight to the waiting area and realized that I was able to pass through the Immigration. I almost jumped inside the washroom and called my father right away to tell the news.
The situation was hard because my sponsor was not a family member or a relative. The documents I have listed were prepared just in case. I’d rather bring more of them than be offloaded because of one missing document.
1. COME EARLY. Be at the airport two hours before flight schedule. When I was already in the waiting area, those who came late queued longer. Note that other IO’s interviewed them long and they didn’t mind the time. Other passengers on queue were not able to board the plane.
2. PREPARE ALL DOCUMENTS. As I have mentioned, it is always better to have more documents than be offloaded because of one, single paper that you might fail to present. If your sponsor happens to be a sibling or a parent, prepare proofs of relation which should be certified by NSO. If your sponsor is a friend, it is advised to prepare some proofs that you are employed and that you are permitted and cleared to travel.
3. PREPARE FINANCIALLY. Going abroad is also costly. Unless you have a family member or someone willing to cover your expenses, then issue of money is not a problem. Your sponsor will advise as to which visa you should take. It’s always on case-to-case basis. Consider expenses when you get here: the transportation, your food, your flat (which is really expensive), among others. Come here prepared. Someone might be willing to help you but it is always better to come loaded and self-reliant.
4. TAKE RISKS. Risks are taken and conquered by people who are really fully-decided of coming. Have a balanced notion that coming here is always 50/50. You might land a job or go home – either way is always possible.
5. PRAY! Your fate is not yours alone. Pray that God will reveal His plan and will in your life. Pray that He will bless your desire so that He will lead you on the right path. If God wills you to be here, then no one can stop that.
God bless everyone!
Disclaimer: This blog does not promote or encourage unjust or illegal ways of travel. It only aims to share the author’s experience for personal accounts and everything mentioned is purely illustrative only. Please refer and ask legitimate advices should you consider travelling abroad.