NAT RESIDENT VISAS-1694521576807
(from left) GDRFA-Dubai officials Maj Gen Talal Ahmed Al Shanqiti; Maj Gen Obaid Muhair bin Suroor; Maj Gen Dr Ali Al Zaabi and Brig Khalaf Al Ghaith during the press conference at Government of Dubai Media Office on Tuesday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai recorded a 63 per cent rise in the issuance of residency visas in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, it was revealed today.

The figure was announced during a press conference to share details of the upcoming ‘International Conference on Policymaking: The Future of Ports’, which will be held on September 19 and 20 in Dubai.

On Tuesday, speaking at the press conference, held at Government of Dubai Media Office, Brigadier Khalaf Al Ghaith, assistant director-general of the follow-up sector for violators and foreigners at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), also said Dubai registered a 52 per cent increase in the number of Golden Visas issued in the first six months of 2023, compared to the first half of 2022.

Additionally, GDRFA-Dubai recorded a 34 per cent rise in visit visas and 21 per cent increase in tourist visas.

Brig Al Ghaith added that as Dubai recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, GDRFA-Dubai processed 11,319,991 transactions, including for residency visas and entry and exit transactions through air, land and seaports.

Border control

Regarding the upcoming conference on the future of ports, which will be held at Madinat Jumeirah, officials said the two-day event will bring together a 23 global leaders, policy makers, researchers, and experts - from the UAE, Europe, USA and Asia - to foster dialogues on innovative practices in border management, immigration, and residency.

Participants will have the golden opportunity to witness the best international practices in border crossing management and engage in fruitful exchanges spanning multiple sectors on both local and global scales.

Pressure on capacity

The forum will also discuss ways to develop proactive policies to navigate future challenges effectively, in addition to critical global issues pertaining to immigration and residency, underscoring standards of relevance to both the UAE and the broader Middle East region.

The conference will also facilitate discussions on evolving travel trends, technological advancements in the sector, and the ongoing challenge of handling increasing passenger numbers.

Moreover, the talks will focus on finding innovative methods to deal with the huge numbers that are expected to reach 19 billion passengers in 2040 globally and the readiness and equipment of airlines and airports, as well as the aircraft industry and its capacity.

Paperless travel

It will also address the future of travel documents, their transformation into electronic documents, and benefiting from Big Data to make travel more flexible, fast and comfortable.

Present at the press conference were GDRFA-Dubai officials Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director-General; Major General Talal Ahmed Al Shanqiti, Assistant General Director of the Airport Passport Affairs Sector; Major General Dr Ali Al Zaabi, Assistant Director General; and Dr Hanan Al Marzooqi, Governance and Compliance Director.

Airport rebound

Maj Gen Al Shantaqi said as many as 42 million passengers used Dubai International Airport in the first half of this year, out of whom 26 million were arrivals and departures - the rest were transit passengers.

He added that officials are working to make the airport fully biometric in the future. Around 42 per cent of passengers have used smart gates during the year so far. The number of smart gates will be increased in the coming period.

“We want Dubai airports to be the easiest and smoothest airport in the world with these smart counters,” Maj Gen Al Shantaqi said.