By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
GCC residence permit holders who were until now eligible for visa on arrival in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are required to secure a visa online before they embark on the journey, starting today.
A staff at the Doha office of a UAE-based airline told Gulf Times that the new online system which would be soft launched today applied only to expatriates who were eligible to avail the visa on arrival facility.
She said people who are non-eligible and those who will be rejected while applying online can apply or re-apply at any of the airlines’ offices.
The UAE immigration authorities have a list of GCC expatriate workers who qualified for the visa on arrival scheme, mostly professionals such as doctors, engineers, nurses, architects and journalists, among others, according to the airline staff.
She noted that the online visa process took about two working days while the regular procedure took about four to seven working days or maybe more.
She said GCC residence permit holders entering the UAE might still be able to get the visa on arrival at the Dubai International Airport from today until August 31. Starting September 1, securing a visit visa online before embarking on the journey will be made mandatory.
“May 15 to August 31 will serve as a grace period but we are already advising our customers to use the system or book with us to avoid any problems,” she said. “They will find the new system more easy and convenient since they will be spared of the long queues at the airport.”
Many of the travel agencies in Qatar told Gulf Times that they already knew about the requirement of securing a UAE visa online before embarking on the travel but were yet to receive any official communication in this regard from airlines.
A manager at a travel agency said applicants should visit www.ednrd.ae, fill up the form and pay the corresponding fee for the visa.
The entry permit is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. If the residence permit expired or is cancelled, the visitor will not be allowed to enter the UAE.
According to information available on the website , if the profession of the expatriate had changed after the issuance of the entry permit, the person would not be allowed entry.
The website also says that GCC residence permit of the applicant must be valid for at least three months from arrival date and the visitor’s passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in the UAE.
Details of the new online procedure can also be found on other social media channels of government agencies in the UAE.
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