Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have launched a new visa scheme that will allow residents to bring visitors in for three months, travel agencies and residents said.
Residents have the opportunity to host family and friends from other countries by issuing a visa valid for 90 days in exchange for a refundable deposit of AED 1,000.
“I applied for this visa last month for the families of two of my colleagues,” the Khaleej Times quoted a Dubai travel agency as saying. “I found the AMER center in Karama near the post office and the process was easy. However, from my experience, family members must be immediate blood relatives such as mother, father or siblings.”
KV, a media representative of Dubai Tourism, explained that the total cost of the visa was Dh1,770: Dh1,000 is a refundable deposit and Dh770 is an administrative fee.
“The deposit is Dh1,000 and the visa fee plus typing and service charges is Dh770,” the travel agent said in his breakdown of visa fees.
The visa application process has been restricted by the UAE authorities to individuals only, as travel agencies are not currently permitted to use the process.
“As of now, these visas are available only to individuals who apply on the system,” Khaleej quoted Smart Travels’ Afi Ahmed as saying. “Individuals must apply online at the GDRFA website, app, or through the Amer Typing Center.”
The new plan may be aimed at reducing crimes committed by Nigerians and other Africans, who Emirati officials have repeatedly claimed pose a security threat to their country.
Several Nigerians were detained last year for their involvement in a cult clash between the Eiye and Aiye cult groups in Sharjah.
With the new visa, residents can now be held accountable for the actions of their visitors.