Dubai: Still have a few parking or speeding fines in the proverbial closet that need tending to?

It may be wise to clear any long-standing fines from your driving history if you have plans to upgrade your UAE visa any time in the near future, said a senior official with the Ministry of Interior.

Under a new directive to clear a backlog of outstanding fines as well as recoup revenue from errant drivers, the Ministry of Interior has been working on a new program to electronically link outstanding fines directly to visa applications.

Police departments across the country have linked the traffic files of motorists with their residency visas to ensure collection of unpaid fines when visas are renewed, transferred or cancelled, officials confirmed.

Until outstanding fines are cleared, government-issued UAE visas will be denied or placed on hold, the ministry said.

Brigadier Dr Rashid Sultan Al Khodr, Head of the Legal Affairs Department at the Ministry of Interior, said in a statement to Gulf News that, “Those who have committed road offences will not be allowed to leave the UAE unless they pay all their traffic fines in line with new Interior Ministry measures.”

He said the new rules would be later expanded to cover all other financial obligations to government bodies by expatriates seeking to cancel their visa and leave the country.

No deadline was given by the Ministry of Interior for the expanded rules to be implemented.

“We have linked procedures to cancel visas for expatriates with the payment of all their traffic fines. This step is intended to ensure departing expatriates will pay all their financial dues to the state.

“This is just a first step as it affects only individuals who apply for visa cancellation and must now pay their traffic fines. Regarding the link of all visa and immigration procedures with other government departments, the work is still in progress and will be completed soon,” Brig Al Khodr said.

The work to link all visa and immigration procedures to the payment of all dues, including traffic, civil defence and other bodies linked or owned by the government is now under way, he said.

Once fully expanded, visa renewal or cancellations may be denied for non-payment of a wide range of public and household services.