Phones rang off the hook at typing centres as residents rushed to make use of the UAE's largest visa and entry reforms that went into force Monday, October 3.
“I have been flooded with calls since this morning,” said Abtdul Gafoor, general manager of Al Mas Businessmen Service. “Most of the enquiries are about the documentation process for the new visas.”
Typing centre agents have confirmed that the new visa application forms are now active on the system. “We are able to access and submit requests for the new green visas as well as the multiple entry visas in Dubai,” said Abdul Gafoor.
Known as the Advanced Visa System, the sweeping changes went into effect from today, October 3, as per an announcement by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) last month.
The Advanced Visa System comprises many residency types. One of the most attractive features has been the Green Visa, which allows an individual to sponsor their family for five years, as opposed to the existing system of two years. It is applicable for various individuals including skilled workers, self-employed people and freelancers.
“We have had a number of enquiries, especially for the Green Visa,” said Abdul Gafoor. “Many of them have all the documentation ready. We are hoping to start applying for the visas from tomorrow.”
Requirements for the coveted Golden Visa have also been relaxed and can be obtained by scientists, entrepreneurs, exceptionally talented people, frontline heroes, top students and investors who have purchased Dh2 million-plus worth of property.
New rules will also allow parents to sponsor their sons till the age of 25. Earlier, it was only possible to sponsor sons until they turned 18. Unmarried daughters can also be sponsored for an indefinite period, and disabled children get a special permit.
There have also been a number of changes in visit visa permits. New visas will allow a stay of 60 days as opposed to 30 days earlier. Additionally, a five-years multi-entry tourist visa has been introduced, which does not require a sponsor. This will allow tourists who have a bank balance of $4,000 to stay for 90 consecutive days in the UAE.
According to Aliyyu Shahul Hameed from Pan Gulf document clearing services, there have been many enquiries for the multi-entry tourist visa as well. “It is a great option for those who shuttle between countries,” he said. “So we have had a lot of interest in this visa.”
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