OK- to -BOARD (OTB)
AVOID DEPORTATION (Do your “Ok-to-Board” verification)
International Travels can pose a lot of challenges if you don’t know the basic travel tips. Many have been deported based on little issues that would have been taken care of before embarking on that oversea trip.
Just yesterday I received a phone call from a prospective client in Abuja, Nigeria who was just deported upon arrival in Kuwait because he did not have “OK-to-Board” approval/stamp on his visa. It’s quite a pity and very painful too. So I decided to share this with us, so we don’t encounter similar ugly experience in future.
Last year, the plethora of deportation issues/complaints received was disturbing. So, please share this information with family, friends, loved ones and all your contacts.
Do your home work well before travelling please. Ask basic questions and be guided accordingly. Thank you.
What is OK-to-Board (OTB)?
OK to Board is basically an update made by an airline after verifying the passenger's visa, so that the passenger can board his/her flight and reach his/her destination hassle free.
In a nutshell, OTB is a message entered in the airline’s reservation system against your PNR (Passenger Name Record) number. It means that your paper-based visa (one that is not stamped in the international passport) has been inspected and validated), and that airline check-in staff can issue you a boarding pass and allow you to board the flight.
Why is OTB used?
Generally, if an airline lets a passenger without a valid visa to board a flight, it is fined by the authorities in the destination country, and the airline is also made to bear the cost of repatriating the offender. To combat this, airline check-in staff ensures that the passenger has a valid passport and visa prior to issuing a boarding pass.
This job becomes more challenging when passengers are travelling to a country where visas are either issued electronically, or are paper based and not stamped on the passport. In such cases, passengers have a print-out of the visa, which could easily be faked. Typically, in such countries, passengers falling under this category include those travelling as tourists/ short-term visitors, or those travelling for employment or residence on a new visa.
To avoid this, airlines ask that the visa be presented at its office in the visa issuing country (either by the applicant, visa sponsor, the travel agency providing the visa, or any other representative), so that the airline can validate the visa and add the OTB message against the passenger PNR. Some airlines do this for free (e.g. Etihad), while others charge fee(s). Some airlines allow you to do this via email (e.g. Etihad), while others require you to physically visit their office for it.
Who does OTB apply to
OK-to-Board (OTB) is required for passengers in the following criteria
• Passengers travelling to UAE (United Arab Emirate), Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia (and some other countries too ….)
• Passengers travelling on a specific airlines (e.g. Emirates, Etihad).
• Some airlines don’t require OTB, so it is always a good idea to check with the airline at the time of booking your ticket and also the Immigration/Custom & Border control department of your destination country abroad.
• Passengers travelling on a paper based visa (tourist visa, visit visa, work entry permit, residence entry permit, etc.).
• OTB is not required for people with a visa stamped in their passports.
Many passengers who come from the countries like ours (Nigeria) carries fake visa to enter Dubai, Oman, Kuwait and so on. So, to prevent the entry of these fake visa holders into the country UAE Government and some other countries passed the rule to obtain OTB stamp on your visa.
How Can You Get Ok To Board Stamp?
Once you receive the original visa, you just have to send the photocopy of the visa to the respected airline. They will verify your visa details and approves it with Ok-To-Board stamp. If you didn’t get OTB stamp on your visa, the airline will not allow you to board the flight and if you succeed in boarding the flight, you may be deported upon arrival and the visa will be cancelled accordingly if was a valid visa, but if it was a fake visa ab initio, then you have no question to answer.
In later posts, I will tell you why you should avoid non-appearance visas (obtaining visas without appearing physically at the designated Visa application Center, Embassy or Consulate for biometrics)
I hope this information has been helpful. Should you need further explanation or if you have Immigration challenge of any kind, please contact us
Your Global Travel Partner.
NOAK HILL CONSULTS
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