The UAE has introduced a new application process for families seeking to obtain a multiple-entry tourist visa. The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP) has streamlined the application process so that families can apply as a group, rather than submitting separate applications for each family member. This new process has been designed to make it easier and more convenient for families to apply for the visa and is particularly useful for families with children below the age of 18.
Prior to this change, families had to apply separately for each family member, submitting the same set of documents for everyone. This process was time-consuming and often involved a lot of paperwork. However, the ICP website now provides an option for families to apply as a group, making the application process quicker and more efficient.
The new multiple-entry visa is valid for five years and allows beneficiaries to stay in the UAE for a continuous period not exceeding 90 days. The visa can be extended for a period not exceeding 180 days during the year. This is a significant change from the previous system, which required families to apply for a new visa each time they wanted to visit the UAE.
According to a travel agent who wished to remain anonymous, the new visas have been in high demand, but agencies have no role to play in the application process. The ICP is providing this service directly to families and does not require any sponsor in the country. The travel agent also noted that it is better for families to apply for the visa individually online, rather than through an agent, as travel agencies do not have a quota or anything of that sort for this kind of visa.
To apply for the visa, families must submit a coloured photo, a copy of the passport, valid medical insurance, a valid ticket to leave the UAE, a bank statement for the previous six months with a bank balance of $4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies, and proof of place of residence which can be a hotel or residence address.
The cost of the visa is Dh750, in addition to a security deposit of Dh3,025, according to the ICP website. The new visa was introduced as part of sweeping reforms announced last year to attract more tourists to the UAE. In an interview, Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, had said that the multi-entry visa would help the country in terms of attracting tourists.
The new application process for families seeking multiple-entry tourist visas is a positive development for UAE tourism. The streamlined process is expected to encourage more families to visit the UAE, particularly those who have previously been deterred by the time-consuming and paperwork-heavy visa application process. The new visas are likely to be popular with families who visit the UAE regularly and want the flexibility of being able to make impulsive trips without having to worry about applying for a visa each time they want to visit.