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Apply later in day for visas, says top Dubai official

Department open until 8pm under newly extended hours in response to increased demand

Gulf News

Dubai: Early morning is not the only time residents can visit the Residency and Foreigners Affairs office to secure visas, says its top official.

Contrary to the view that afternoons and evenings are too busy at the office, officials say traffic is lighter later in the day and they are encouraging people with applications to spread out their visits to avoid a bottleneck of visitors in the morning.

The Dubai residency department opens its doors from 7am and remains open until 8pm under newly extended hours in response to increased demand for services.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, director-general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA), told Gulf News that despite the extended working hours at the department the public tends to visiting the department in the morning.

“Morning hours at the department are always crowded and there is a rush while in the afternoon and night, less people are coming,” said Al Merri.

He said applicants often bring family and friends along with them when applying for a visa and the extra people often means the premises become overcrowded.

“The concerned person who needs to do any kind of transaction must come and people should avoid bringing their friends and families if they have nothing to do over there,” he said. “We are keen to offer the best and unique services to public.”

Al Merri added that in order to give the best services, public cooperation is required.

“If anyone has no work at the GDRFA they should avoid causing overcrowding and they should give a chance to others to complete their transactions,” he said.

Major General Al Merri said the department had opened up 23 external offices to receive and speed up public transactions.

“In addition to our external offices, the airport office at Terminal 3 receives the public 24/7 to finish all their transactions in addition to the service of issuing the e-Gate card,” he said.

Major General Al Merri said in the last six months of 2012 there were 10,522 different kinds of related visa and residency transaction completed at the GDRFA airports’ external office.

He said those transactions included 3,316 residency transactions such as renewing and cancelling visas.