New visa regime comes into effect in UAE

July 29th, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, July 29 (IANS) A new visa regime, primarily aimed at curbing illegal migration, came into effect in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Tuesday. Under the new regime, there are 16 different categories of visas and health insurance has been made compulsory for all visa types. It will also allow people of all nationalities to enter the UAE.

“The entry permits will become more diversified and will include long and short term visit visas, and new types of visas for festivals, tourism, medical treatment, conferences and educational category…,” Obaid Moheir Bin Suroor, deputy director of the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD), said at a meeting with managers of typing centres in Dubai ahead of the new regime coming into effect.

Under the new rules, applicants will have to pay a refundable deposit of 1,000 dirhams ($272.4) for all types of visa.

Documents required for visa applications are the applicant’s passport copy, data of the visitor, including his or her address in the home country, and a health insurance.

In the meeting, Bin Suroor stressed the importance of attaching a photo of the visa applicant and making sure that all data is accurate to avoid rejection.

He also asked all typing centres to cooperate in implementing all amendments, pointing out that new fees would be applicable for the new visa categories according to the schedules and listings shared with the typing offices.

With the new visa regime coming into effect, authorities here expect the UAE to be free of all illegal residents by December this year.

“The new regulations provide for different levels of medical insurance with each type of visa. No visa shall be issued without medical insurance or without the 1,000-dirham deposit which will be refunded at the end of the visit,” Nasser Al Awadhi Al Minhali, acting director of Abu Dhabi Naturalization and Residency Department (ADNRD), was quoted as saying.

From now on, all types of visit visas will be issued only after the company or the sponsor has paid for the health insurance of the visitor.

This includes different types of insurances, including health insurance by companies for their employees, health insurance for tourists by tourism agencies, and international health insurances that can be used by the visitor overseas.

Another salient feature of the new regime is that visit visas will be issued in 10 to 15 minutes subject to deposit of all proper documents and no extra fee will be charged for urgent visas.

Authorities are also looking at ways to make it possible for individuals to apply for visas online. As of now, only companies and typing offices can make visa applications online.

“We are studying the ways by which our applicants across the country could enjoy more facilities and save their time and efforts,” Al Minhali told the typing office managers.

“We have contracted a leading IT company for preparing online applications for individuals as well,” he said.

The new visa regime, announced in June this year, was scheduled to come into effect Aug 1. However, it was brought forward as Aug 1 falls on a Friday, the weekend holiday here and July 31 is also a public holiday.

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