The dedicated centre at Dubai Festival City is ecxpected to take a maximum of 48 hours to process visa renewal cases. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Widows and divorced women can renew their residency at a dedicated centre at the Dubai Festival City, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affair (GDRFA) in Dubai said on Monday.

The dedicated service centre will provide privacy for widows and divorced women to apply for residency by meeting female officers to discuss their situations.

The centre comes following major visa changes that took into effect on October 21, and also includes the extension of entry permits for visitors without the need of leaving the country and one year extendable visa for dependent students over the age of 18 years.

Major General Mohammad Al Merri, director of GDRFA-Dubai, launched the Centre on Monday, catering to widows and divorced women only.

“We want to provide the women, the privacy they need in this centre. The new visa rules aim to give women the opportunity to adjust their social and economic status,” Maj Gen Al Merri said.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Ali Malallah, acting deputy assistant of the director general for entry and residency permits, said the new centre will provide a private room for widows and divorced women in Dubai to discuss their cases privately.

“After the changes to visa regulations, we decided to open the centre for widows and divorced women. Female officers will meet the women in a private room to discuss their cases and problems,” Lt Col Malallah said.

The new regulations allow extending the residency visa for widows and divorced women and their children for one year without a sponsor.

“We want our customers to be happy all the time. Women who went through tough times like divorce or husband’s death need to be treated with privacy,” he added.

According to Lt Colonel Jasem Ahli, director of entry permits department in GDRFA, said that each case will take 48 hours maximum to process the visa renewal request.

“Based on the cabinet order, we grant widows and divorced women the opportunity to sponsor themselves for one year if they do not have sponsors in the country. It is self-sponsorship — women can sponsor themselves and their children,” Lt Col Ahli said.

He said that applicant pays Dh100 for one-year residency visa or Dh100 to cancel previous visa.

Recently, a widow presented the death certificate of her husband who had died in a traffic accident and officials granted her a one year residency after her brother agreed to sponsor her.

“We look into the circumstances of each case and make a decision. We want to ease the procedures for widows and divorced women as part of the country’s policy to make everyone happy in the country.”

The centre will be open from 7:30AM until 2:30 PM and people can call on 04-7074255 for enquiries.