UAE steeply hikes visit visa fees

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Dubai, Jun 9 (UNI) The UAE has steeply hiked one month's visit visa fees to 500 dirhams for all emirates and made health insurance mandatory for all visitors from August 1.

A 1,000 dirham deposit would also be collected by the Naturalisation and Residency Department before issuance of any type of visit visa. This would be refunded once a visitor exited the country. However, some nationalities may be exempted from the deposit.

The tightening of visa rules would drastically cut down visitors as the new visa fees coupled with fees that any agent might charge would be difficult to afford for unskilled or semi-skilled jobseekers. However, it might also cut down the number of people being duped after being brought in the UAE.

Lieutenant General Mohammad Salem Al Khaili, the Director-General of Federal Naturalisation and Residency Department (FNRD) told mediapersons in Abu Dhabi yesterday that the new rules followed a cabinet decision.

Valid for 30 days, residents could apply for visit visas for their spouses or first degree relatives, according to the revised rules. Sponsoring visitors who were second degree relatives would need the approval of senior officials. Only UAE nationals would be allowed to sponsor visitors who were friends.

Some 16 types of visit visas have been defined by the FNRD, specifying the reason for visit, such as education, medical treatment or for participating in an exhibition or conference.

Mr Al Khaili said, ''Visit visas valid for 30 days will cost 500 dirhams. This cannot be renewed. A person wishing to stay for an extended period must obtain a visit visa valid for 90 days, which will cost 1,000 dirhams.'' A new type of visit visa costing 2000 dirhams, permitting multiple entries was also introduced. This visa was valid for six months from the date of issuance and a person could stay in the country for only 14 days at a stretch, the rules said.

Student visit visas, valid for 60 days, would cost 1,000 dirhams.

To obtain this, a person must be registered in one of the universities in the UAE.

One-month-long tourist visas, procured by tour operators and hotels would cost 100 dirhams, as before. This might be renewed only once.

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