The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) has introduced a new electronic system for submission of visa applications which requires the foreign employee to appear at one of approximately 600 approved typing centers in Dubai, but eliminates the need for multiple appearances at a GDRFA branch. Most entry permits for visitors and residents will be issued electronically and emailed to the applicant, allowing the foreign national to carry the emailed copy instead of the original entry permit.
Immigration applications for dependants of employees in free zones or mainland UAE may also be submitted through the new system. Companies must continue to use their respective online portals for employment-related applications.
Applicants in Emirates other than Dubai are currently not eligible for the system and must continue to visit a GDRFA branch to process their visa applications.
Documents to Present at the Typing Centre
Some of the key original documents the applicant must present at a typing centre for visa processing include the following:
- Sponsor’s Emirates ID Card;
- Sponsor’s International Bank Account number;
- Passport; and
- Supporting certificates (e.g. marriage or birth certificates).
Sponsors or their representatives will not need to appear personally for visa applications processed at a typing centre since the applicant must present original documents, as noted above.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Employees under visitor visas or residency permits in Dubai can now submit their applications at an approved typing centre instead of visiting a GDRFA branch. A personal appearance by the employee at a GDRFA office will be required only for the residence permit endorsement process (but this can be arranged through a courier service) and in exceptional cases.
Sponsors should benefit from the elimination of an appearance requirement for visa applications submitted at a typing centre.