Government proposals to ditch requirements for UAE visit visa holders to leave the country in order to renew their status have prompted confusion in the market, according to reports.
Earlier this week several media outlets reported that visit visa holders no longer need to leave the UAE to amend the status of their visa.
At present, people on such visas typically go to Oman or Kish Island to renew their visas and a lucrative travel trade has grown up around these so-called ‘visa runs’.
But on Monday, Dr Rashid Sultan Al Khadar, spokesman for the Naturalisation, Residency and Ports department at the UAE’s Ministry of Interior, announced that under resolution 377 of 2014, visa-holders of all types can amend the status of their entry and residency permits while remaining in the country and paying AED570 in fees.
“Customers will be able to amend the status of their entry permits electronically through a few quick and user-friendly steps,” he was quoted as saying in Gulf News.
“As a result, visitors will not need to leave the country, instead updating their visa status and paying all the necessary fees while in the UAE.”
Al Khadar added: “Earlier, if a person, while in the UAE on a visit visa, happens to find a job, he or she will have had to exit the UAE to amend residency status. This is no longer the case.
“The same applies to spouses of residents or anyone wishing to amend the terms of their entry permits.”
Khaleej Times now reports that official sources have yet to confirm the proposed changes to parties including travel agents – some of whom claimed an initial 10-15 percent drop in demand from people travelling from Abu Dhabi to Kish or Oman after the proposals were announced.
Travel agencies quoted by the newspaper said some people postponed their travel plans pending implementations of the new rules, while others continued with their plans to travel to change their visa status.
Joe Manjaly, sales manager for Kish Air in Dubai, said there was no drop in travel to Kish Island from Dubai so far.
However, Bilal Chaudhary, a senior travel consultant at Abu Dhabi’s National Travel and Tourism, said: “Some media reports have confused people planning to Kish Island or elsewhere. There was less travel – although no cancellations of bookings to Kish for the next week.”
Chaudhary added: “If there is no clarification on the visa change issue, then the travel business might lose a regular business, as Kish is an important sector.”
Originally posted here