What is the change? The Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) has begun requiring copies of medical insurance cards with visa applications, and in particular visa renewals.

What does the change mean? UAE residents submitting visa applications with DCCA should be prepared to provide copies of medical insurance cards in order to have visa applications processed.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas processed by DCCA authorities, particularly visa renewals.
  • Who is affected: Employers in Dubai, including those in free zones, must provide health insurance to any visa holders they are sponsoring. UAE residents must obtain insurance if they currently hold visas or are applying for them.
  • Impact on processing times: Health insurance applications require a stamped employment entry permit and an Emirates ID registration form, which are available once the employee has entered the UAE. Insurance can normally be obtained within three to five days, but timelines will vary depending on the provider. Visa applications may be unnecessarily delayed if applicants do not provide a copy of their medical insurance card with their visa applications.
  • Next steps: Officials are expected to extend the requirement that evidence of health insurance be provided in the visa process to dependent visa applications later this year.

Background: In Dubai, all individuals, including foreign employees, must be covered by health insurance from a Dubai Health Authority-approved provider. This requirement has immigration as well as legal consequences, as authorities in Dubai have begun imposing fines for residents who lack insurance onto visa renewal or cancellation fees. DCCA authorities recently began turning visa applicants away if they did not provide a copy of their health insurance card with their application. Dependents of UAE residents must be provided health insurance as well, but, so far, evidence of dependent health insurance has not been checked in the visa process. This is expected to change by December.

BAL Analysis: Companies should take note of the change and make sure all employees have insurance and provide a copy of their health insurance card when submitting visa applications. Those who fail to do so risk having their applications rejected.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the United Arab Emirates. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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