The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued new regulations for visa licensing offices with effect from Wednesday. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Embassies in the UAE will not be allowed to deal with Visa Licensing Offices (VLOs) unless they fulfil licensing requirements set by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Chambers of Commerce.

VLOs help embassies with visa regulations in times when embassies are too pressured to deal with all their clients.

A committee from the ministry and the Chambers has been formed to enforce the new VLO regulations following complaints from members of the public, some of which include over-pricing and not submitting visas on time, or not submitting them at all.

The Visa Licensing Offices Regulations under Federal Law No 4/2010 that comes into effect Thursday gives VLOs a six-month grace period (till January 24, 2012) to comply with the rules.

As part of the new regulations, VLOs must be located in environmentally safe and accessible locations with signs clearly identifying their location.

Personal documentation and paperwork must be kept confidential by the VLO concerned and a spacious workplace must consist of all the required services for clients.

Administrative fees for a visa should not exceed Dh50, and the price of a visa should range from Dh300 to Dh500 depending on the type of visa.