Dohms, Municipality Waive Conditions for Visa Medical Test

DUBAI - The Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) in Dubai has backtracked on its decision to make its health card or a medical insurance a prerequisite to issue medical fitness reports for residency visas in Dubai.

With the Dubai Municipality (DM) following suit, health card or insurance is now compulsory only with the Ministry of Health (MoH).

For securing a resident visa or work permit, all expatriates, excluding small children, are required to undergo medical fitness tests to obtain a free-from-infectious-diseases certificate.

The government had issued a federal decree in 2008 to unify the procedures for medical tests performed in all emirates under different health bodies.

The decree had also mandated a health card or medical insurance for fitness certificates. Officials said the move aimed to ensure that every visa-holder receives some financial assistance in medical treatment.

While government hospitals accept health cards for offering treatment at subsidised rates, private healthcare facilities accept insurance cards, depending on their policies.

Subsequently, all bodies conducting medical tests had started attesting insurance cards for Dh200 to exempt insurance holders from purchasing a health card priced at Dh300.

These fees exclude the Dh250 for the medical tests. However, Dohms stopped attesting insurance cards and made health card a must in December last year. Khaleej Times had reported then that insurance card holders were upset about this move as they were forced to shell out extra money. It was also reported that the Dubai Municipality clinic in Deira was still accepting applications without the health card.

It has now emerged that Dohms, a few weeks ago, backtracked on the rule and now does not demand either a health card or an insurance card. Earlier this week, the municipality also decided to follow the same practice.

When heads of medical fitness centres in Dohms and the municipality were contacted, both refused to comment. However, an official from the ministry of health said the ministry’s preventive medicine section in Al Baraha Hospital was still following the rule specified by the federal decree.

The frequent changes in the policy have caused confusion among residents, some of whom feel that they simply wasted money because of the previous rule.

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