There will be no more paper forms to fill as applying, renewing or cancelling family visa can now be done at the touch of a button, according to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
The GDRFA sent out an SMS advisory to residents on Tuesday saying: “You can now get, renew, or cancel your spouse’s and children’s residency on DubaiNow app. To download, bit.ly/31lPYwV.” The DubaiNow app is the first unified Dubai government services smart app offering a total of 88 Dubai government services.
By using the app, one can check the visa status or enquire about the status of any GDRFA service. The app also allows a user to view and manage family visa application or get a new residency visa to bring a family member to Dubai.
Previously, a sponsor could only cancel a visa through an accredited typing centre or by going to any GDRFA branch.
Cancellation must be processed through the GDRFA centre that stamped the residence visa. The typing centre will fill the cancellation form on behalf of the sponsor and process it online through the GDRFA website.
The paper transaction is now eliminated and the announcement by the GDRFA comes on the heels of the recent directive by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, to all government departments on Monday to make their services paperless in the next two years.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Sheikh Hamdan praised the success of the Dubai Paperless Strategy and said that more can still be done in curbing paper waste by 2021.
The Dubai Paperless Strategy was launched by Sheikh Hamdan in February 2018 to digitise all internal and external government to consumer transactions, ensuring all transactions are 100 per cent paperless.
Sheikh Hamdan said: “I have overseen the progress of the Dubai Paperless Strategy over the past two years, and have now directed all government entities to work with Smart Dubai and ensure all digital Government to Consumer services are delivered via DubaiNow, gradually eliminating all individual entity applications.”
In line with the Dubai Paperless Strategy, after 2021, government entities will no longer issue or request paper documents from customers for any transaction, while government employees will also stop issuing or processing paper in key or supporting internal operations.
According to the government, the implementation of the strategy will eliminate the use of over one billion pieces of paper per year, saving 130,000 trees on top of saving Dh900 million that would have been spent in paper transactions.
Expatriate residents, both employers and employees, may sponsor their families in the UAE provided they have a valid residency permit.
Male residents who are employed in the UAE can sponsor their immediate family members, such as wife and children, subject to conditions which include minimum salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 plus accommodation.
Since March 2019, the type of profession is no longer a condition for an expatriate worker to be able to sponsor his family visas. The UAE government amended its previous provision under which only listed professions could apply for family sponsorship visa.
Now, a foreign worker can bring over his family members to the UAE and sponsor their residence visas regardless of his profession as long as he maintains the ‘income criteria’ i.e. the minimum wage requirement.