Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How the new UAE visa rules will affect you

Changes to visa regulations in the UAE could result in the country being free of illegal immigrants by the end of the year,, but new visa regulations, which will be introduced today, have created a lot of confusion among local people and visitors.

Here is the guide to how the changes will affect you.

Citizens from the 33 countries which currently receive entry permits on arrival will largely be unaffected by the new rules. The only difference is that these entry permits can only be renewed for an additional 30 days rather than 60 days at a cost of 620 dirhams.

The following nations are exempt: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, US and Vatican City.

Passport holders in countries not exempt must pay a refundable deposit of 1,000 dirhams (US$272) and be covered by health insurance for the period of their stay.

A visit visa will not be required for tourists who book into hotels or who book holidays through a registered tour operator or agency. Instead, they must carry a tourist visa, costing 100 dirhams, which can be issued through the hotel or agency.

The tourist agency will have to pay 75,000 dirhams to the government when opening the agency and a refundable 1,000 dirhams for every visa for tourists from certain countries. The company must also provide a full itinerary for the traveller for their stay.

A visit visa can be applied for 60 days, prior to entering the country, is valid for 30 days, and can be renewed once for an additional 30 days at a charge of 610 dirhams if processed online and 620 dirhams if submitted manually at the Department of Naturalization and Residency offices (DRND).

The cost of issuing a tourist visa is 210 dirhams if processed online and 220 dirhams if submitted by hand at the DNRD office.

Residents can apply for a 30 day or 90 day visit visa for their spouse or blood relative, but will not be allowed to sponsor friends.

The new regulations will put an end to ‘visa runs’. Those without residency will have to pay the renewal fee or leave the country for at least 30 days before returning.

Visa runs to Kish Island, Oman and other neighbouring countries have also been stopped. People wanting to change their visas must return to their home countries.
Every week we issue about 250 visas for Iranian and Filipino passport holders at a cost of 600dhs each.

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