In a bind: Visa applicants at a typing centre in Abu Dhabi. Many are seeking clarity over the tenancy contract requirements Image Credit: XPRESS/Ahmed Kutty

Abu Dhabi: Does one need to furnish a tenancy contract from Abu Dhabi to apply or renew a residence visa in the capital?

The answer is not clear with different versions of the rule abounding.

While the official government call centre insists an Abu Dhabi tenancy contract is an absolute prerequisite, an immigration official said the rule only applies to government employees.

“When I called 800 555, I was told that I need a tenancy contract from Abu Dhabi to renew my residence visa. I live in Dubai and my tenancy contract will not be accepted,” said an Indian civil engineer working in Abu Dhabi.

Conflicting statements

When this reporter contacted the call centre, similar requirements were reiterated. “The rule applies to all. Whether you are a public or private sector employee, you need to submit a tenancy contract from Abu Dhabi that is attested by the Abu Dhabi Municipality,” said the call centre agent.

However, when XPRESS approached an official at the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs -Abu Dhabi (GDRFA), he said the rule applies only to government employees.

“You should submit a copy of your company’s trade licence along with your application if your tenancy contract is not from Abu Dhabi,” said the official.

Last year, it was made mandatory for all employees across the UAE to submit a valid tenancy contract along with their residence visa applications.

However, the GDRFA Abu Dhabi office was accepting tenancy contracts issued in any other emirate.

A rule issued by the Secretariat General of the Executive Council mandates Abu Dhabi government empoyees to live in the capital or forego their housing allowance.

What now?

“Last week, we applied for new visas for some of our Dubai staff. But when we resubmitted the application with a trade licence copy of our company that has branches in Dubai and Ajman, the visas were issued,” said a PRO who works for an IT company in Abu Dhabi.

According to him, GDRFA officials are insisting on Abu Dhabi tenancy contracts for new residency permits.

Another PRO said their staff could not get residency permits as their tenancy contracts were from Sharjah. “Some applications got rejected when our staff who are based in Abu Dhabi but live in Sharjah applied for residency permits,” he said.