What is the change? Dubai has begun the process of opening dozens of Amer Business Centers to replace typing centers and centralize visa and residency services.

What does the change mean? Two Amer centers were open as of Nov. 2 and more are expected to open in the next couple of weeks. The centers will provide services for foreign residents, including visa and residency applications, residency renewals, visa cancellations and related applications.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visa and residency applications, renewals, cancellations and related services in Dubai.
  • Who is affected: Foreign residents and visa applicants in Dubai.
  • Impact on processing time: The centers are expected to improve overall procedures, although they may not directly impact processing times. Delays are possible during the transition from typing centers to the new Amer centers.
  • Business impact: Foreign residents conducting immigration transactions will no longer need to visit the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs main office or its branches.

Background: The Amer centers are being introduced in response to requests from the business community. Officials are expected to open an increasing number of centers in the coming weeks so that eventually anyone seeking visa and residency services in Dubai will have easy access to one of them. Typing centers, meanwhile, will be phased out. Some media reports have said that authorities have already disabled the system used at typing centers for completing visa applications. The move from typing centers to Amer centers is expected to be completed this month.

BAL Analysis: Visa and residency applicants in Dubai should now plan to submit their applications at an Amer center rather than completing them at typing centers. The new centers are expected to eventually reduce queues and wait times and improve the application process, though delays are possible during the transition period. Contact BAL if you need assistance in determining where to submit applications.

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

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