The UAE Government has signed an agreement with Noor Takaful Islamic Insurance to issue health insurance policies to visitors. Other policies will be accepted if they meet the criteria. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Health insurance is mandatory for visitors to enter UAE, said a senior official from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA),

The rule for mandatory health insurance was implemented almost five years ago by the UAE government. Everyone applying for a visit or tourist visa needs to have health insurance, regardless of the nationality, age or gender. Only nationalities who can avail of visas on arrival are exempt.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of the GDRFA, told Gulf News that tourists and visitors can receive free treatment in case of emergency as per the visa health insurance rules and regulations.

“A ministerial decision number 322 for the year 2008 makes health insurance mandatory to obtain any type of visit visa to the UAE. The rule came into effect in August in the same year,” he said.

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai is in charge of tourists’ health insurance, he said.

Companies and tour operators that bring in visitors should arrange for health insurance policies for their guests.

“The tourist company must follow up any tourist they brought here in case that tourist falls ill and needs to be hospitalised,” said Al Merri.

The GDRFA has signed an agreement with Noor Takaful Islamic Insurance to issue health insurance policies for visitors to Dubai with a minimum coverage of Dh150,000 per person per visit.

“Visit Visa Medical Takaful Plan is the plan approved by the UAE government for the visit visa application. The plan provides the medical coverage as required by the UAE visa regulations for visitors entering the country,” he said.

He said that the Takaful plan covers emergency in-patient medical expenses incurred by visitors while in the UAE, 24 hours a day, for up to a maximum of Dh150,000 and repatriation of mortal remains up to a maximum Dh7,500.

The plan offers facility for direct billing settlement to providers where visitors can access the company’s wide network of healthcare providers without the need to pay first, thus providing convenience for fast medical attention in an emergency.

He said the non-network treatment shall be covered only for treatment of life-threatening cases.

“An external health insurance from any insurance company or travel agency is accepted and will be attested free of charge by the GDRFA,” he said.

He said that health coverage policies issued by other companies will also be accepted provided they meet the same criteria including the minimum limit of Dh150,000 and the types of services offered like emergencies and repatriation of bodies.

He added the insurance company will offer three different types of health policies according to the visit periods.

Prices start from Dh40 for short-term visas valid for 30 days; Dh90 for visas valid for 90 days; and Dh185 for multiple entry visas valid for 180 days.

He explained that these policies will cover accidents and emergencies during the visitor’s stay in the country.

Major General Al Merri added that the health agreement does not cover medical treatment outside the health services providers’ network, except in the case of emergency life-threatening cases.

The policy also does not cover chronic illnesses and it will include treatment of serious complications of already existing chronic illnesses in the emergency room only. It also does not cover pregnancy, delivery and ophthalmology or dental treatment.

Health insurance policies for visitors can be obtained from special counters to be set up at the GDRFA’s headquarters in Bur Dubai, and other branches in Abu Hail, the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport, Dnata office on Shaikh Zayed Road, Umm Suqeim, Jebel Ali and Bin Souqat Centre in Rashidiya.