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Dubai visa services now on smartphones

Free app allow users to renew permits, access M-Visa services, and post queries

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
The counters offering Amer mobile services at theGDRFA Headquarters in Dubai. The GDRFA app allows users to apply for M-Visa servicesin which a customer’s mobilephone becomes an enabling deviceto replace the original visa.
Gulf News

Dubai: The General Directorate for Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has launched a new smartphone application that allows residents to make queries on visa issues.

The free app will allow users to apply for visa renewals, access M-Visa services, and elicit answers for their queries on general visa issues.

The GDRFA introduced its new e-service during the 32nd edition of Gitex Technology Week which kicked off yesterday.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, director general of GDRFA, told Gulf News that the new service is meant to speed up transactions for the issuance of different kinds of visas and ease procedures. “The new e-services of the GDRFA will offer the public an easy access to our services and also make it easier for them to apply for different kinds of visas,” he said.

“The public can reach many of our services through our smartphone app which includes applying for visas, contacting Amer mobile vans, applying for visas,” he said.

The Amer van is a mobile office which was introduced last year. It has added several new services since its inception.

“Amer van, which renders most of the services given by the GDRFA to its customers, is a vehicle dispatched to the doorstep upon the request of a customer or company. The van is fitted with the necessary equipment which can process and complete the GDRFA’s transactions fast,” Major General Al Merri said. “These mobile services will enable our customers in any place in the world to be provided with better and fast services by using the latest technology,” he added.

The GDRFA app allows users to apply for M-Visa services in which a customer’s mobile phone becomes an enabling device to replace the original visa.

“The sponsor will be informed immediately after M-Visa is issued from GDRFA through mobile phones in an SMS, Major General Al Merri said. “Sponsors will receive two different text messages: one of them contains the visitor’s name with a visa number and the second message includes the image of an encoded barcode which is compatible to the visa.”

These messages will be sent to visitors irrespective of their country or mobile network.

The employee to whom a visa is issued in such manner must display the text message stating his visa status to the visa officer upon arrival at the Dubai International Airport. The visa officer scans the barcode on the cellphone to track the original visa which is then printed out.

A special counter has been designated at the airport to offer this service.

Major General Al Merri said: “The M-Visa service will shorten the passport control entry process and will save visitors’ time. M-Visa service is valid for visitors who are coming across through Dubai International Airport only,” he said.

Customers will also be able to enquire about the status of their transactions through mobile phones thanks to the new app.

A smart TV application allowing the public to enquire about all visa and residency-related issues around the clock is also set to be launched soon.

The special TV-based service can be accessed at home or at the office.

Major General Al Merri said the smart TV application also allows users to obtain information about the department’s transactions and offers users all needed information related to residency and visa laws. “By using the smart TV application, the public can use the social media tools of the department,” he said.