Abu Dhabi: Visa licensing offices have been given a grace period of six months to abide by new regulations set by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), it was announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

Embassies that are too pressured to service all their clients during their peek season, mostly during the summer holidays, revert to visa licensing offices for extra help. The offices are responsible of issuing visas in a dedicated time-span for different embassies across the UAE.

Several complaints from the public with regards to visas not being processed on time, or over-charged service fees among some of the visa licensing offices, however, has forced the MoFA to issue a firm strategy plan to ensure that these visa offices abide by regulations.

A joint committee from the MoFA and the UAE Chamber of Commerce will also conduct random visits/inspections to the four visa offices (located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), to make sure they are abiding by Federal Law No. 4/2010, which states that clients should not be over-charged; the office is environmentally friendly and is located in a reachable area; an adequate number of employees in a reasonably spacious office area are servicing clients.

Failure to do so may result in the shut down of any of these office

The decision also comes in line with the MoFA's desire to open up more visa licensing offices in order to service the increasing number of UAE residents.