Tuesday, May 12, 2015

No More on Arrival Visit Visas of UAE for GCC Iqama Holders

All the expatriates that are currently residing in any of the GCC countries now have the convenience of applying for entry permits to visit the UAE through Dubai, Online. This convenient service was initially aimed to expedite a major chunk of the passenger movements at the airports and also to relieve the residents of GCC countries from waiting in long queues for their visit visas. The announcement was made by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. This new online visa application system also has the feature of online payment method which will help the passengers greatly by again avoiding waiting in long queues to pay for their visa fees. As of the launch of the service, the service has not been made compulsory but serves as a convenient alternate option for all those who would like to complete the procedure of Visa issuance before they arrive into the country.

However the officials have added that from October onwards all of the processes for the Visa Applications for the Residents of the GCC countries must be completed online through this service.  The Director General of the GDRFA Dubai, Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri stated that he strongly encourages all the residents of the GCC countries to apply for their entry permits through this easy and convenient online portal. The Major General added that the government plans to gradually introduce the new system to allow the general public of all the GCC countries to become familiarized with the system before it is eventually made compulsory, while talking to Gulf News, he also added that the aim of this new service was to make the entire entry permit procedure a whole lot more convenient for residents of GCC countries than before.

The Major General Al Merri stated that the new online Visa service is openly accessible to all expatriates currently residing in any of the GCC countries and also those that might be accompanying them, for instance domestic help. He added that by applying online and paying the fees online, they are avoiding standing in the long queues at airports for the issuance of their visas.

The department of residency in Dubai is also currently working to facilitate the procedure for all residents and visitors from GCC countries so that their Visit to Dubai can become an extremely enjoyable experience, as stated by Major General Al Merri. The assistant of the Director General for airport affairs at the GDRFA Dubai, Lieutenant Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti stated that as the month of October starts, residents of the GCC countries will no longer be able to obtain entry permits upon arrival from the airports.

He added that all of the procedures for issuance of visa will be redirected online. Currently both services are being offered which include online visas and visas upon arrival, however as of October 1 2015, all GCC residents will be obligated and required to complete their online Visa application before entering the country. He has also stated that questionnaires are being distributed which aims to raise awareness of this service and also answer some questions and deal with some problems or queries that people might be facing.

Source: Gulf News

Latest Update
As per the new laws issued by the UAE authorities, the requirement for GCC residence permit holders to apply for e-visa in order to obtain an entry into UAE has been postponed till further notice. See the notification below from Emirates airlines. Considering their inefficient system to apply online, I personally think that this is a wise decision by the UAE government. Hopefully the system will be fixed soon.

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