Officials update information on certificate of good conduct requirement

7 Feb 18


What is the change? United Arab Emirates authorities have provided additional information about the country’s certificate of good conduct requirement, which officially took effect Sunday.

What does the change mean? Effective immediately, certificates of good conduct (police clearance certificates) will be required for all new work and mission visa applications, whether the applicant is in country or out of the country.

The certificates will not be required for applications seeking transfer of sponsorship (provided the processing time does not exceed three months), renewals of work and missions visas, dependent visas (including renewals), tourist/business visas, non-sponsored ID cards or changes of title.

In general, certificates of good conduct will be required from applicants’ home country (based on their passport) unless they have resided in another country for the past five years, in which case they will be required to provide a certificate of good conduct from their country of last residence. Applicants will not be required to provide more than one certificate of good conduct, subject to the discretion of UAE authorities.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All new work and mission visa applications, whether in country or out of the country.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals applying for new work and mission visa applications. The rule will apply throughout the UAE, whether the company is in a free zone or the mainland.
  • Impact on processing times: The change could add as much as six weeks to the visa application process, depending on how long it takes applicants to obtain a certificate of good conduct in their home country (or country of their residency for the last five years) and how long it takes to complete the required legalization processes.  
  • Business impact: Businesses may need to adjust timelines and start dates if applications are delayed.

Background: Authorities announced the new requirement in January, saying it was being taken as a security measure. The official implementation date was announced as Feb. 4, though in some cases authorities began requesting certificates of good conduct before that date. This may indicate that cases that have already been submitted, but not yet finalized, may be subject to the requirement as well.

BAL Analysis: The requirement of the certificates of good conduct will increase end-to-end application times for a number of visa applicants; however, the clarification that the requirement will not apply to a number of applications, including visa renewals, is welcome news. The additional clarification that officials will not request more than one certificate of good conduct in most cases is also welcome news. Those with questions about the requirement, including dual nationals and others unsure of which country they need police clearance from, should contact BAL for assistance.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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