Monday, December 15, 2008

Get Your Visa from Any Emirate

Get Your Visa from Any Emirate

Adel Arafah 15 December 2008 for Khaleej Times

ABU DHABI — People will now be able to apply for new visas or renew them in any emirate irrespective of where they stay or work as the naturalisation and residency departments (NRDs) in the country have been electronically linked.

Brigadier Nasir Al Awadi Al Menhaly, Acting Director-General of the Naturalisation and Residency Department at the Ministry of Interior, told Khaleej Times on Sunday that all NRDs in the UAE are capable of issuing and renewing visas, regardless of the emirate where the existing residence visa was issued from.

The ministry has completed linking of all NRDs electronically to provide this new service.

“We are in one country, and there is an electronic link between all NRDs,” he said. Under the earlier system, for instance, a person working in Abu Dhabi but has a residence visa from Dubai or other emirates had to visit the NRD in that emirate to renew his/her visa.

This was a sheer waste of time and effort. “Consequently, Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, gave instructions to ease the hardship of expatriates by allowing them to get visas or renew visas from the NRD in any emirate regardless of the emirate where the residence visa was issued originally. This is what we are implementing right now.” Brigadier Al Menhaly clarified that many expatriates are not aware of this new service, and still take the trouble of travelling to other emirates to complete their visa-related procedures. “We now tell them to save the effort and submit your applications to any department in the country to be processed immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, denizens of emirates have lauded the ministry’s step, calling it a real timesaver.

Ahmed Mursey, a resident of Ajman, said it will help a great deal in making life easier. “The people can go to the nearest NRD for immigration services. It helps save travelling hassle and reducing crowds at the NRDs.”

Anwar Shaban, resident of Sharjah, said, “I was not aware that the service is available at any of the NRDs. If implemented, it will surely benefit the residents as well as the government. It would ease crowds at the immigration departments and make the work easier for the employees.”

Ahmed Mousaad, an accountant, living in Abu Dhabi, said, “I am not very sure as many a times, employees at the NRD have remained ignorant about the rules announced from time to time. The better thing will be to train the staff first and then inform the public.”

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