What is the change? All free zones in Dubai have abandoned electronic visa issuance; only physical entry visas are issued.

What does the change mean? Most free zones will courier the entry visas to applicants’ offices in Dubai, except Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai World Central, which do not offer courier service and require someone to pick up the entry visa.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and employment permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign workers and business visitors applying through the Dubai Free Zones and their dependent family members.
  • Impact on processing times: The change should not affect processing times.
  • Business impact: This will cause a slight change in procedures for obtaining a visa.
  • Next steps: Foreign nationals should work with their BAL attorney to arrange courier service to deliver their visas.

Background: Dubai implemented electronic entry visa issuance, but ran into problems in coordinating the system with the Dubai Airport. Therefore, all of the Free Zones have reverted back to the former process of physically issuing visas.

BAL Analysis: Foreign employees in Dubai should arrange to have their entry visa couriered to their office or in case courier service is not provided, arrange to physically collect the visa from the Free Zone Immigration Offices. If the employee is out of the country, the entry visa must be delivered to the airport of entry prior to arrival.

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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