Not All U.S. Passports Are Eligible To Enter Or Transit Dubai

At the start of the Biden administration, the State Department stopped requiring medical documentation to change the gender on a passport and introduced a new gender marker to “for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons.” The U.S. government now issues passports with “X” instead of “M” and “F”. For some official purposes “U” (undisclosed) is also used for gender.

However a reader shared that a passport with X or U as gender is ineligible for entry into or transit through the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi):

Passengers with a passport with gender “U” or “X” are not allowed to
enter and transit.

Interestingly gender reassignment surgery is legal in the U.A.E.. But that’s still being one gender or the other.

And they do insist that a person present themselves as the gender which matches their ID. Last year there was a bit of a viral story about a Thai model who was deported from Dubai because she presented as female but her ID said male (gender cannot be changed on Thai passports).

  • You have to be one gender or the other
  • And your documents have to represent that gender

As a result there are U.S. passports that are ineligible for use in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And since I didn’t realize that, there may be people booking travel (including award travel) on Emirates or Etihad connecting there.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I couldn’t care less how somebody identifies or lives, and care even less how other people raise their own kids and make choices to care for their own children, but it’s not reasonable to expect foreign nations to adopt American deconstructionist gender ideology.

  2. Like Chad says, there is a complete confusion between Sex and Gender.
    Passports and IDs all around the world show the Sex of a person is and there is only 2: M or F. If you undergo a sex change operation (that is the proper term, it is NOT called a gender reassignment surgery) then you can officially change the sex on your documents.

    All my passports and IDs show Sex. If the new US passport displays Gender instead of Sex, then it could make it invalid in some countries. Bringing political agenda into the passport business is a bad idea. The US politics make their passport becoming less and less valuable over the years.

    Also, for all international travelers, remember when you go to a foreign country, you should not only study and know the rules for entry (passport, visa, vaccinations, …) but also you are a guest in that country so respect their culture even if you don’t agree with it. If you don’t like it, don’t go there! There are 193 countries, so lots of choices!

  3. In those countries the F Is a lower class compared to a M thus there has to to a hierarchy if how you make a bladder movement. This is how the country operates. In many countries the people from these non X places also have to acquiesce into the norm that F has equal rights as M. If you do not like the laws leave the country and do not do business with it

  4. @Mike “If the new US passport displays Gender instead of Sex”

    Most passports worldwide are standardized: document type, name, document number, nationality, date of birth, SEX, and document expiration date.

  5. Remarkable amount of ignorant comments here, especially from people who have (presumably) traveled the world and gotten out of the sticks where this attitude tends to live.

    Do some reading. Educate yourselves. Maybe (gasp!) talk to someone who is trans and learn.

  6. @Ben: In a country of 330-million, how many have undergone gender reassignment, i.e., sex change, surgery?

    Statistically, the chances of coming across one to engage is a conversation is close to nil

    Yet you expect us to accept this as normal.

    It’s not.

  7. Ben is right.
    This topic evokes astounding ignorance and intolerance no matter the venue.
    It’s simpler for me…as a gay man, I could travel there but choose to never set foot in a country where I and my partner aren’t fully welcomed and protected.
    Sadly and alarmingly, that now includes many red states in the US, eg, Florida where LGBT is now equated with evil and guns are valued more than children’s lives or mine.
    Fortunately, there are many more places we can travel safely.

  8. @1KBrad tough to know where to begin here, but I’ll give it a shot.

    (1) Gender affirmation surgery (which is the correct term) is not a prerequisite for being trans. It’s unclear why people are so relentlessly focused on the surgery, but it reminds me of how people are so relentlessly focused on penetrative sex when it comes to gay men. Not sure why your head’s there, but it needs to be elsewhere, like on asking, “what does it mean to be trans”?

    (2) Being trans, on a general level, is about not identifying with the gender you were assigned at birth. If that seems strange or foreign to you, it’s probably because you’re not trans. But other people are. And what they feel is real. And as a compassionate member of a cooperative society where a shared morality calls for us to show care to other people, it’s worth pausing, acknowledging that there are people different from you with different needs, and asking what those needs are. This isn’t limited to trans people. Imagine that you’re a white, cisgender (not trans), heterosexual man. Do you know what it feels like to be Black? Do you know what it feels like if every fiber of your being tells you that you are not male? Do you know what it feels like to have a same-sex attraction? Probably not. But we’re a love-thy-neighbor kind of shop here in the United States. It’s worth trying to figure out what your neighbor needs and wants (especially if you ever expect them to care about your needs and wants).

    (3) Speaking of neighbors: one quick Google search away, Reuters reported last year that 1.6 million people in U.S. identify as trans, and that’s probably an undercount. Statistically, the odds of you encountering a trans person are not close to nil. If you don’t think there are any trans people in your area, you are wrong. And if you’re still convinced there are none, it appears from your username you’re a 1K frequent flyer, and posting on a site with ample travel advice. I suggest boarding a plane for New York.

    Trans people are not going away. Gay people are not going away. Black people are not going away. The list of people who are not like you, and who are also not going away, is endless. You can ignore them and parade ignorance on a message board because you haven’t bothered to educate yourself, or you can educate yourself. I hope you choose the latter.

  9. Ah, the consequences of stupid decisions. In this case, made by the Biden regime’s administration. Not every culture has stupidly forgotten how biology works.

  10. @Ben: I couldn’t care less what an adult does. Black, white, yellow, green, purple. All the same to me.

    The problem here is that children, who are still forming their thoughts and beliefs, are being encouraged to start the process of transitioning to the other gender.

    Giving hormones or allowing surgery on children is just wrong. Let them develop naturally and, when they are adults, they can do as they please.

    Oh, and when a 16-year-old boy wanders into the girl’s shower room in high school with my daughter there because he says he identifies as a girl that day, we are going to have a big problem.

    BTW, I am identifying as black today. Where are my reparations?

    I will also note you didn’t respond to my query of HOW MANY have surgically transitioned?

  11. @1KBrad: I didn’t respond to your question about gender affirmation surgery because as I wrote it isn’t relevant. Some people who are trans have gender affirmation surgery, some don’t. Some people who have had gender affirmation surgery get a different marker on their passport, some don’t. Gender affirmation surgery isn’t a requirement either for being trans or for choosing a different marker on your passport. It’s something that you don’t need to focus on and I’d suggest you don’t.

    Children are not being randomly encouraged to start transitioning any more than children are being randomly encourage to seek any other medical or psychological treatment. I have a young niece and a nephew and neither of them have talked to their parents about any feelings that they don’t identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. If they ever raised that, it would lead to a series of conversations between them (the child), their parents, and their doctors. The idea that there is some nebulous organization or group of people that just is running around like the boogeyman trying to convince children that they aren’t the gender they were assigned at birth is absurd. This is a conversation initiated by the child and handled with parents and medical professionals.

    If anything is being compelled by an organization or a group of people, it’s quite the opposite – it’s organizations and groups of people who are trying to *prevent* children who identify as trans, and parents and medical professionals who care for children, from exercising choices. If you want to talk about adults forcing children to do something, look at state legislatures who are interfering with parents and doctors who are simply listening to to their children.

    As for 16-year-old boys wandering into girl’s restrooms, please use your brain: I implore you. The sign at the door that says “women” or “girls” is not magic. It does not magically lock the door except to those who identify as women or girls. It is not going to stop someone who wants to commit a crime. If someone wants to go into the bathroom that is not their bathroom so that they can commit a crime, they are just going to do it. Why would someone who is going into a bathroom to commit a crime – the definition of wrongful behavior – going to go through the trouble of transitioning so that it is “OK” for them to use a particular bathroom, and THEN go commit a crime? How does this make any sense to you?

    It also represents a misunderstanding of gender identity versus sexuality. Just because, in your example, someone is who is assigned the male gender at birth later identifies as female doesn’t mean that they’re also a lesbian. They might be interested in men!

    It also represents ignorance that you think that someone who identifies as trans is more likely to commit a crime. There is no evidence to support that. Quite the opposite, as trans people are dramatically more likely to be attacked, raped, and killed. If you’re worried about victims in a restroom, I’d suggest you worry ABOUT the trans people being victims.

    Trans people are some of the most vulnerable people in our country, with higher rates of substance abuse, higher likelihood of suicide, higher likelihood of being a victim of violence. Literally, google this.

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