Sunday, March 21, 2010

UAE moves to improve process for tourist visa -The Interior Ministry Media statement

Tourists or visitors who require a UAE-based sponsor to enter the country might be looking at an easier visa process in the future.
The Higher Permanent Committee for Finance and Assets of the Interior Ministry has recommended the UAE visa procurement process be outsourced to specialised companies in countries from which tourists or visitors seek to come.
The committee has proposed external offices run by firms specialising in visas be set up under the approval and supervision of UAE embassies, according to an Interior Ministry Security Media statement.
The proposal is a follow-up of a July 2008 decision announced by Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then Minister of Interior, amending certain provisions of the law of entry and residence of foreigners.
Under the decision, the Department of Naturalisation and Residency and the embassies and consulates of the UAE will have the authority to issue visas to foreigners for visiting relatives or friends who have legitimate resident visas here.
Apart from the GCC countries, whose residents do not require a visa, there are 33 countries whose residents are granted tourist or visitor visa on arrival — among them countries of Western Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
For other countries, a visit requires a visa in advance through a sponsor in the UAE. The sponsor could be an authorised travel agent, the hotel at which a booking is made, a company or department with which the visitor has business, or a UAE resident who qualifies.
The committee — chaired by Major-General Khalil Dawood Badran, Director-General, Finance and Services, Abu Dhabi Police — is of the opinion the step will not impose additional burden on the national treasury.
It also emerges from a study conducted by financial controller Khalil Mohmaad Saleh, which finds other countries using the method to good effect, so long as rules and regulations are followed.
As per the proposal, these specialised companies shall undertake to conduct all visa formalities, including medical tests, retinal scan and processing entry visas, subject to the approval and supervision of the UAE embassy concerned.

UAE residents are happy with the proposal. “I wanted to invite my 10 year old nephew to Abu Dhabi,” Romanian national Daniela Deaconu said. “The Immigration office here gave a list of documents that included proof of relationship.” She said such matters could be better verified in her home country.

“It will be easy and helpful,” Dubai-based Pakistani Kamran Syed said. “The sponsors will not have to bother about documentation and processing.”