Visa Rule Creates Complications for UAE Expats

Expat workers in Abu Dhabi are facing complications in bringing their families to the UAE and renewing current visas due to enforcement of the new tenancy contract rules.  Bachelors are currently exempt from the rule, although 20 who renewed their visas recently were told to bring a contract next time.

The new rule is especially problematic for those living in temporary housing who wish to bring their families.  “I applied today to bring my wife and two sons from Syria but the application was rejected…they told me to bring a tenancy contract in my name or there will be no visa,” Maher Al Gaddah, a mobile phone salesman, told the media on Tuesday.  Al Gaddah currently lives in a temporarily rented apartment that is not in his name.  He hopes to sort the issue out with officials in charge.

Another resident, who lives with his brother, is hoping to bring his wife and two daughters to the UAE from Syria.  His request was originally rejected after he submitted forms with his brother’s name.

“The first rejected it but then an official came and said it would be accepted this time…I was then told to have my own rent contract next time…I was very lucky as my application was processed when more than 30 others were refused,” Mohammed Al Hariri, who ones a mobile phone shop, explained.

The Ministry of Interior made the decision that all those applying for residence visas must have a rent contract or a utility bill in their names.  The Ministry explained that they want to verify expatriates addresses in the country as well as build a reliable housing database.  There are currently almost seven million foreigners living in the UAE.

The Ministry of Interior’s assistant undersecretary for naturalization and residence, Major General Nassir Al Minhali, explained to WAM news agency, “The decision is not targeting any party or property group but it will serve those departments seeking accurate data about foreigners’ residences.  This measure is not exclusive for the UAE as it is enforced in all advanced countries.”

Minhali also explained that, for expat workers who are provided housing by their employers, proof of residence, an address, and a letter from the employer can serve in lieu of a housing contract.

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