The infamous Kish Island. Most expats, if not all, know this as an exit point from UAE to have their tourist or visit visas changed into employment visa. Same to those who have not landed a job and have consumed the days in their tourist visas. Under UAE laws, foreigners on such visas are required to exit the country once their travel documents have expired and Kish Island, which is part of Iran, is a common place for visa runs because it is the nearest freezone area where no visas are required including to Filipinos.

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It has a bad reputation because some expats who are waiting for their employment visas are not given the said document by their employers and have waited there for so long, 1 month – 2 months- sometimes even longer. The main reason why there are some Filipinos, even other nationalities, are stranded on the island is because they ended up without funds for staying too long.

Stories say that some are indulging in illegal activities like drug pushing and prostitution just to get money for their food and hotel stay.

I have met 2 kabayans there doing an odd job as a cleaner in the hotel where I stayed at. Their hotel accomodation is free and they have meals thrice a day. I adore them to bits, there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing and they just wanted to save money for their flight back to Dubai.

Before going to Kish, my employer gave me 2 options: First, to go back to the Philippines to wait for my employment visa and second, to go to Kish Island. I chose the second option because of fear in facing the immigration officials once again and be offloaded this time since I already have an entry/exit stamp to UAE (In case the company will give me another Tourist Visa). On the other hand, if I’ll be given an Employment Visa, I need to shell up expenses for medical, OFW seminar, PDOS and other requirements needed. I decided to go to Kish, I was very scared but all I can do at that time is pray and take the risk. I have friends who have been there and they told me it’s okay. Just be careful and alert, always bring your money with you, do not go outside at night alone, do not take a cab alone and everything will be okay.

My employer sent another newly hired with me and we instantly became friends. They also paid for our round trip tickets and 7 days hotel accomodation. Kish Airlines’s airplanes (well, the two I’ve been) are oldish with hoary sounds. It scares me! Good thing it is only 40 – 45 minute flight from Dubai.

Maybe because I am with someone, I easily got acquainted with the place. We also met a Filipina at the airport and decided that we stay in the same room. Kish Island is not a scary place after all.

Things to remember while in Kish.

  • Clothing. For women, the top should be longer than your behind/ buttocks and with sleeves longer than your elbows. Skirts, leggings and pants are allowed but it should be ankle-length. You should also cover your hair with a shella, hijab or a veil.
  • Alcoholic Drinks. These are not allowed, although smoking is accepted.
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  • Iran Visa. Foreigners are allowed to stay in Kish without a visa for 14 days. On the 14th day, if you do not have your employment visa yet you should go to the immigration and apply for an Iran Visa to extend your stay. It costs 60 dirhams plus you also need to provide a passport sized photo wearing a shella/hijab.
  • Hotel. We stayed at Goldis Hotel, the place is okay. I did not see any bedbugs but it is 5 – 7 minutes taxi ride from Kish Airlines. There is someone who cleans the room everyday. Men and women are staying on different floors and men are not allowed inside women’s rooms.

    Check out the hotel’s price list in dirhams (AED):

    hotel per day – 40 with free breakfast (first night free if you stayed longer than 3 days) We were not able to try their breakfast during our stay.
    internet – 10/ hour
    wifi – 10/ 24 hours (very slow wifi connection)
    complete meal – 10 (serving is big with enough rice and one viand)
    rice – 5
    chicken viand – 5
    beef viand – 8
    etisalat – 28 for 25 charge
    Iran sim – 30
    water – 1/ liter, 5/ 6 pieces
    soda – 4/ 1.5 liter

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  • Malls and Supermarket. Surprisingly, there are numerous malls and supermarkets in the island and dirhams is widely accepted.
  • Transportation. Buses charge around 1.20 dirhams and taxis charge minimum of 10 dirhams.
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  • Tour. We went on a Kish Tour when we received our employment visas, to explore the island and check out their culture. It costs 10 dirhams for a 3 hour tour.
  • The Green Tree Complex

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    The Kish Traditional Water Reservoir

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    The Beach

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    Harireh Ancient City

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    The Mysterious Greek Ship

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    The Beautiful Sunset in Kish

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    After 12 days, we received our employment visas. Yay! We immediately booked a flight to Dubai but all are fully booked for that day and the next. So we need to wait until our 14th day for our flight back. I never imagined that I would enjoy my stay there. Kish is a beautiful island indeed. What I liked about the place is the greens, unlike in UAE where you seldom see plants and trees. I also noticed that medicines are way cheaper in Iran than in UAE. I bought some in their local pharmacy. Kish is not so bad after all, it was a nice experience. πŸ™‚ But I am more glad to go back to Dubai and continue my journey.

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