My daughter bought a ticket for a flight with a layover in Emirates (from Dallas, Texas to India). She had a stop of 48 hours in Dubai. When she was checking in in Dubai for Delhi, she was informed that her visa for India has expired in 2012. Did Emirates not have an obligation to check the visa for India before selling a ticket?

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    The airline did what they are required to do. They checked her passport before allowing her to board. That's all they are OBLIGATED to do. You should be grateful that they prevented an administrative refusal in India.
    – Gayot Fow
    Nov 27, 2014 at 20:51
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    Doesn't your daughter have an obligation to check whether she has a visa before travelling somewhere?
    – bobbyalex
    Nov 28, 2014 at 5:16
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    @GayotFow: I do not think they are obligated to check your passport, this is not their job. They just need to make sure that the number of check-ins = the number of boarded passengers. My passport usually stays in my bag when flying within Europe and checking-in online with no luggage to check-in.
    – WoJ
    Nov 28, 2014 at 12:25
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    @WoJ, no. The airline faces serious fines and other sanctions if they arrive with undocumented passengers. Not just fines and sanctions either. The penalties can include revoking their license to land in that country altogether.
    – Gayot Fow
    Nov 28, 2014 at 12:33
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    Hmmm... When did the Emirates and India join the Schengen agreement? I seem to have missed that one.
    – Gayot Fow
    Nov 28, 2014 at 13:21

5 Answers 5


You are shouting (unnecessarily) and blaming Emirates for what is your fault. Emirates provide lots of very helpful visa advice, such as:

Please double-check foreign entry requirements for travellers from your country of nationality

from their website, and their Terms and Conditions (in this respect effectively identical to all other passenger airlines) include:


Please insure you have a passport valid for the duration of your trip. (Some destinations require your passport be valid for a certain length of time; in general, 6 months after completion of travel). You may also be required to obtain a visa for some destinations and it is your responsibility to do so.

When making a booking you must ensure that your name (and the name of any person(s) for whom you are making a booking) matches exactly the name as it appears in your (or the person(s) for whom you are making the booking’s) passport.

If you require any further information on passport or visa requirements, please contact one of our local offices or the embassy of the country to which you will be traveling. A failure to travel with the correct documentation could result in the passenger being refused travel, entry to the country of their destination or stop-over, deportation or incarceration and in such circumstance(s) you will be solely responsible for any cost, loss or damage which you or we (or our agents or servants) incur.

My emphasis.

Emirates did you a favour by picking this up in Dubai rather than have the passenger refused entry in India.


In many cases it is impossible for the airline to require a visa or to check for a visa prior to selling you a ticket.

Tickets can be purchased up to 330 days in advance of travel, but many countries will not issue a visa more than 60 days ahead of arrival.

Many countries require proof of travel in the form of an e-ticket or confirmed itinerary before they will issue a visa.

As others have already discussed, the airline did exactly what was required of it. The burden of responsibility to make sure their personal documents are in order lies solely with the traveler. It is not the responsibility of the airline or tour company or hotel or travel agent.

  • Definitely--I would say that I have had a visa at the time of purchase substantially less than half the time, and never because I needed to show it to get the visa. (And in the cases where I had the visa first about half the time involved multiple-entry visas left over from a previous trip.) Nov 28, 2014 at 21:35
  • Indeed, the OP's expectations are pretty much backwards. How the airline could be expected to check the visa is beyond me, given the likelihood you can get the ticket from Kayak or Priceline. They are going to hold that (cheap) ticket waiting for you to scan your visa and email it to them? (Leave alone Photoshop!) Nov 29, 2014 at 5:46
  • Indeed- for my most recent China visa application they required the complete flight reservation information. I guess there's a risk that if the visa is not granted for some reason, and the flight is non-refundable you're out the money. Nov 29, 2014 at 18:28
  • Hmmm … depends on what you arrange with your travel agent; you could pay them to get you a visa in which case they should also make sure the passport is in order. But naturally the travel agent will still have safety clauses in the contract in case a visa is refused out of their control.
    – Jan
    Dec 15, 2016 at 0:33

An airline is not required to check your visa and entry compliance before selling you an air ticket. You can buy a ticket for any destination even when you do not have a passport.

Check-in staff normally checks your visa before they give you your boarding pass and the first flight was to Dubai where your daughter did not require a prior visa so the airline staff would have issued a boarding pass and I don't blame them. When your daughter turned up at Dubai airport for check-in, that's when the airline staff checked her visa for India as that's what the destination was and they didn't let her fly because she didn't have a valid visa.

I do not think airline staff/airline was at fault. Had this been a flight where you through check-in your luggage to the final destination and get both the boarding passes at Dallas then it would have been Airline's fault.

  • An airline is required to check visa before they let you fly. When a passenger is refused entry or deported from the final destination it becomes the airline's responsibility to fly the passenger back if the passenger refuses to pay for a new ticket. This is the reason every airline checks visas. Visa for India was not checked at Dallas because final destination for that leg of the journey was Dubai. Dubai to India journey wont even be looked at when you are going to collect your baggage at Dubai. The Indian visa only becomes relevant when you want to board a flight to India.
    – PSC775
    Nov 27, 2014 at 20:51
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    I agree they are not responsible to the passenger.
    – PSC775
    Nov 27, 2014 at 20:56
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    @ParminderSinghChahal The airline is not required to check visa status before they let you on a plane. They check because it's to their advantage to do so. Nov 28, 2014 at 14:12
  • @DavidRicherby it is generally in their advantage to do so because they face fines if they do not. When someone faces a fine for failing to perform an action, is it not proper to say that the action is "required"?
    – phoog
    Jun 14, 2017 at 11:45

Short answer to an easy question: the airline is not responsible for your legal issues regarding obtaining a visa. They don't have to jump in as a consultant when you purchase a ticket. Obtaining a visa often implies, among other requirements, to already have a ticket, so, if the airline required a visa, it would be impossible to obtain a visa without a ticket and a ticket without a visa. That would make traveling impossible.


Some countries require you to purchase a return ticket before issuing a visa. So no, the airline won't check your visa when you purchase the ticket. I am surprised The visa wasn't checked when she boarded the flight in Dallas

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    It sounds like it was two independent flights on two separate tickets: a flight from Dallas to Dubai and then, two days later, a flight from Dubai to Delhi. If that was the case, the check-in staff at Dallas wouldn't have even known that the passenger was later travelling to India. Nov 28, 2014 at 14:25
  • @pnuts Yes, you're right. If both legs were on the same ticket, I'm also surprised they didn't check the visa in Dallas. Nov 28, 2014 at 15:28
  • Yes, this is actually what has been the procedure to get a Schengen visa for Russian citizens -- you simply buy the ticket and pay the visa application fee, and you basically automatically get the visa -- you cannot get the visa without the ticket.
    – cnst
    Nov 28, 2014 at 17:45
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    @David - even if both are on the same ticket, the Dallas counter staff is only concerned with the flight (including any "same day" connecting flights) they are boarding, not future flights on the same itinerary. The customer could be getting the visa(s) in Dubai. Granted an employee could go out of their way to check further down the flights and ask the guest, but it is beyond their legal responsibility for the flight they are boarding.
    – user13044
    Nov 29, 2014 at 1:48

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