Sunday, January 17, 2010

Residence visa seekers to be fingerprinted

Residency departments across the country will manage a fingerprint identification system and database for all residents in the country.
"Starting August 09, applicants for residence visa will be fingerprinted under a tighter biometric system to provide more secure identification and prevent fraud," Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Minhali, Acting Director-General of the Federal Naturalisation and Residency Department .

He said fresh applicants for residence visas will get their fingerprints taken before the medical check-up to ensure they have no criminal record. "Those found to be with criminal records will be denied visa and handed over to the police for further legal action."

Al Minhali said a number of residents who had their fingerprints taken for obtaining identification cards were found to have a criminal record.

"This prompted authorities to introduce this measure to prevent people with a criminal record from obtaining a visa."

He added residents living in the country will be fingerprinted when they apply for renewal of their visa. "The move will eventually cover all residents in the country, including workers sponsored by their employers, investors, domestic workers and parents of residents," he said. Al Minhali did not specify the fees, but said they will be nominal.

Many residents questioned the move and asked if there was any point in being fingerprinted for the ID card and then again for the residence visa.

But Al Minhali said the National Identity Authority examines whether an applicant has a criminal record or not, but the database that will be set up at the Naturalisation and Residency departments across the country will act as a source of information to ensure only those with certificate of "good conduct" or "lack of a criminal record" will be granted residence visa.

Al Minhali said fingerprinting services will be available at Naturalisation and Residency departments across the country. He did not say whether the fingerprinting will be done manually or electronically. "We will manage a fingerprint identification system and database for all residents in the country and lead the way in the development, assessment and implementation of new techniques for operational fingerprinting."
Categories covered under scheme

Employment Visa: Employment Visa or Permit is issued by the Naturalisation and Residency Department to a foreign national who wishes to work for a company in the UAE upon the approval of the Ministry of Labour. It allows the holder to enter the UAE once for a period of 30 days and is valid for two months from the date of issue. When the employee has entered the country on the basis of the employment visa, the sponsoring company will arrange to complete the formalities of stamping his residence.

Residence Visa: A residence visa is required for those who intend to enter the UAE to live with a person who is already a resident. It is issued to the immediate kin of a resident for three years renewable for a fee of Dh300. The residence permit becomes invalid if the resident remains more than six months at a time out of the country.

Parents of residents are issued residence visas after special approval with a renewable validity of one year for a fee of Dh100 for each year. A refundable deposit of Dh5,000 has to be paid for each parent.

Investor Visa: It is issued to an expatriate investor in partnership with a local. The foreign investor must hold a minimum stake of Dh70,000 in the share capital. Like the residence visa, it is issued for three years for a fee of Dh300.

Visa for domestic help will be covered under the fingerprinting scheme