Dubai: People of all nationalities can now enter the UAE on a tourist visa under new rules that come into effect from next week, a senior official from the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.
Earlier, nationals from 79 countries in the subcontinent, Middle East and elsewhere were not eligible for tourist visas and could come to the UAE only on a visit visa. "The new rules will encourage the tourism sector in the country," said Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD).
Al Merri announced the new rules after a meeting with hotel and tourist agency representatives yesterday. He said travel agencies will no longer be allowed to apply for visit visas. "Now these companies will only be allowed to apply for tourist visas," he said. "This will regulate the business and make the process of people travelling to the UAE easier and smooth, as tourism is a high priority for us."
Al Merri reiterated that people should apply only through licensed tourism agencies and hotels. Individuals cannot apply for the tourist visas, he added.
Short trips to the Iranian island of Kish, Oman and other neighbouring countries to change visit visas has also been stopped. "People wanting to apply for a new visit visa after the expiry of their visa, must go back to their home countries or distant countries," he said. However, Al Merri did not elaborate which countries would be considered distant.
"Nobody can now go on these visa runs. We don't want people to get stuck [on these trips]," said Al Merri. A visit visa will also not be converted to a work visa, he said. "Applicants will have to go back to their home country and wait for the work visa, which will be authorised by the Ministry of Labour," he said.
No free entry
The new visa rules will come into force from July 29 and all typing centres will get the software for the new online forms and fee payments by July 28, the official said. He added that those who apply before July 29 will be dealt with on the old system.
People applying for any visa will have to pay a refundable deposit of Dh1,000. Separate visas will be issued for various purposes such as medical treatment or studies. "We will know why each person is coming here for and the sponsor will be responsible for the visitor. This will address the issue of illegal overstayers," Al Merri said.
As per the new rules, 34 nationalities who earlier got a free visit visa for 60 days upon arrival in the UAE will now have to pay Dh100 for a 30-day visa.
--Tourist visas can only be applied for by a licensed hotel or a tourism agency.
--Residents can apply for a visa for their spouse or blood relative.
--Expatriates will no longer be allowed to sponsor friends, and all visitors should have a health insurance cover.
--Medical treatment visas can only be applied through licensed hospitals and clinics.
--Education visas can only be applied by a licensed educational institution.
--Exhibition and conference visas can only be applied for by the organisers.
Do you think the new rule will prove beneficial?
Yes I think this is a good policy. I am a Bahrain Resident with Indian Passport usually when I visit my friends in UAE I used to get visa upon arrival. According to new rules am I still allowed to get visit UAE upon arrival or I have to go through hotels or agencies to get visa? Your valuable advice on this matter is greatly appreciated.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 09:43
It is beneficial eventually. And the people ( especially Expatriates ) will now be hopeful to get an equal treatment from the employers. Companies could no longer hire the visit visa holders on a stipend (very less) salary to the exchange of the experienced
Posted: July 24, 2008, 08:44
It is not clear what sort of health insurance is required. Can it be obtained from Insurance Companies here in UAE? Are there any specific Companies from whom it has to be obtained or can we ask the Travel Agency to obtain one such for the person who wishes to visit?
Posted: July 24, 2008, 08:35
This will have a big negative impact. From my previous tortured experience of bureaucracy in the UAE its going to be a shambles. Currently my spouse arrives in the UAE from the UK on a free visa with no hassles .Apparently now, from next month, not only do I have to organise her visa, but pay Dhs 1000 deposit and retrieve it after her visit. There is also the possibility that there will be chaos at the airport when each visitor queues for their visa. Come on UAE - this is punishment! Many of my colleagues feel the same way!!
Posted: July 24, 2008, 08:32
I can really say the new rule "Residents can apply for a visa for their spouse or blood relative" will certainly have a big impact on the tourism sector.I can bet more than 90% of the UAE residents sponsor their friends and relatives to visit UAE not for employment purpose rather to give them an oppurtunity to see and enjoy dubai.Many visitors like to stay with their friends
Posted: July 24, 2008, 08:12
It will help reduce a lot of illegal activities going on here in the country. Good effort on DNRD.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 07:59
I went to apply visa for the my mother, you know what they have asked me, 5000 dhs deposit, 6 months bank statement, my tenancy contract, and some consulate form something they added. When I heard this I thought what happened to Dubai, they dont want anyone to stay if they dont have money.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 07:52
No, the new rules will not be beneficial especially for us Filipinos, fares going back to Philippines are very expensive. That?s why most of us run for visa change in the neighboring country because it is much cheaper than going back to Philippines. Hope my comment will help to get consideration from the government.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 07:52
The new visa system implemented by UAE government may curb illegal stay as well as multi purpose visits. Only fair-minded and reasonable people could be entered in to UAE. The new rule is welcomed.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 07:50
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "RESIDENTS" AND "EXPATRIATES"?? FOR E.G. I HOLD A RESIDENT VISA, THUS I AM A "RESIDENT", BUT I AM AN INDIAN, WHICH MAKES ME AN "EXPATRIATE" ALSO!!!!! SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN, "RESIDENTS" CAN APPLY FOR VISIT VISA, BUT "EXPATRIATES" MAY NOT???
Posted: July 24, 2008, 06:33
I just read the line "People of all nationalities can now enter the UAE on a tourist visa under new rules that come into effect from next week". Does this mean Israelis can enter UAE on tourist visas? Doesn't sound good
Posted: July 24, 2008, 04:06
The link is not enought, please let me know where I can find more details about this new rule and how long is the visit visa for canadians.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 02:36
I'm American and used to get a free 60 day visa on arrival. The new "100 Dh for 30 days" will definitely make me avoid Dubai when traveling to Oman, Yemen, Bahrain etc. 30 days is short and 100 Dh is expensive for a wealthy country that certainly does not need to generate more revenue.
Posted: July 24, 2008, 01:17