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June 30, 2008

UAE tightens visa restrictions

Businesses holding meetings and events in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are facing an increase in visa fees, following the introduction of new state legislation.

Some visitors to the UAE will be hit with a 500-dirham ($136) visa fee from 1 August, following the roll out of 16 new visa categories by the Government, reported the country’s state news agency Wam recently.

Major General Mohammed Salem bin Owaida Al-Khaily, director general of the Department of Naturalisation and Residency, which led the move, said the new visas have been introduced to “cope with the changes witnessed in the UAE".

According to Wam, the UAE Government will introduce the 16 new categories as part of a plan that will also see the introduction of new visa processing fees.

“Visit visas valid for 30 days will cost 500 dirhams and cannot be renewed,” Al-Khailly told the UAE daily newspaper Gulf News, adding: “If a visitor intended to stay in the UAE for an extended period, they would require a visa valid for 90 days at a cost of 1,000 dirhams.”

Under the new rules, health insurance is mandatory for visitors and a 1,000 dirhams deposit will be collected by the department before issuing visas.

A multiple entry visa has also been introduced, which will cost 2,000 dirhams and is valid for six months. However, Al-Khaily added that people can stay in the country only for 14 days at a time.

Month-long tourist visas remain at 100 dirhams, and may be renewed once, while transit visas will also cost 100 dirhams, Gulf News reported.

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