Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri Image Credit: Francois Nel,Gulf News

Dubai: More than 14,600 companies have registered for the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) online service in the first six months of this year. The e-portal will become the only medium for companies to apply for residency issuances, visit visas and work permits starting September 1.

In total, over 50,000 companies have registered for the service. Previously, the rule stipulated that all companies employing over five people must use the e-portal.

Maj Gen Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the GDRFA, said that starting September, all companies and establishments in Dubai will be obliged to use the e-service when submitting applications for their employees and no manual applications will be accepted by the department.

“Through the e-portal, companies will find that all official procedures will be faster, easier and more efficient,” he said. “All companies are required to register at one of our branches before using the service. Starting September, all firms will be obliged to use the e-portal when submitting applications for their employees. No manual applications will be accepted.”

So far, only three GDRFA branches are accepting e-portal applications from companies: the GDRFA branch in Festival City, Bin Sougat Mall, and the main headquarters in Al Jafliya.

However, Major Ali Malallah, acting deputy assistant of the director-general for entry permits and residency, told Gulf News that soon the number of branches accepting e-portal applications will increase to ten.

“We register an average of 1,500 companies a month,” he said. “We will soon be accepting e-portal applications in seven other branches as well, to efficiently deal with the rush of applicants.”

Maj Malallah said even though 14,627 companies have been reported as registering in the past six months, the actual number may be more.

“At times, online accounts are opened for a single person who has a number of companies under his name,” he said, “so, realistically, the number may be much greater than the statistics show.”

Maj Malallah said a company’s public relations officer, owner, partner, or an authorised signatory must be present to register with the online service.

“The required documents for registering in the service are to be presented personally,” he said. “The application must be filled in both English and Arabic. A photocopy of the establishment’s card must be submitted, along with passport copy of the authorised signatory.”

Maj Malallah said the department can be reached via www.ednrd.ae in case of any inquiries.

“Alternatively,” he said, “people can contact us directly on 04-3139911 or on our toll-free number 8005111.”