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Visit visa bond likely to go

posted on 16/05/2002: 881 views

The rule demanding a bank or cash guarantee from people applying for a visit visa for relatives or friends has been scrapped entirely, sources at Abu Dhabi Immigration told Gulf News yesterday, but no official confirmation was available till late last night. According to sources, the rule with regard to obtaining a visit visa will remain as it used to be before the much talked about Dh2,000 bank guarantee was introduced. The rule is unlikely to be revived. "Everything is back to normal. No bank or cash guarantee is required for acquiring a visit visa. People can continue to acquire a visit visa under the previous rules," said an official.

When asked if a new rule is under way to regulate visit visa procedures, the official said there was nothing at the moment to elaborate on, but "as far as we know, the procedures will continue under the old regulations". The Ministry of Interior scrapped the whole idea, which was imposed on May 6, at the eleventh hour even as a cash guarantee was being applied to replace a bank guarantee yesterday. The Immigration Department in Abu Dhabi was all set to introduce the bank guarantee, setting up a dedicated account counter at the department to receive the refundable deposits, yesterday, when the idea was dropped.

The General Directorate of Naturalisation and Residency had even prepared two guarantee forms for visit visas - one for paying the guarantee, and the other for the refund. The Directorate had also ordered the immigration departments in the country to prepare these forms. Under the cash guarantee, it was decided to receive and bond of Dh2,000 from applicants and return it after evidence was provided that the visitor brought in by the applicant had left the country. In the event of the visitor overstaying, a fine of Dh100 a day would have been deducted from the deposited amount.

According to another source, the rule was scrapped after some problems faced by applicants were identified and also because of the non-standardised commission required by banks. He said different banks were charging a commission ranging from Dh200 to Dh400 to issue the guarantee. Earlier, the sudden implementation of the new visit visa guarantee prompted banks to offer the service to applicants without having the necessary structure in place. The complicated situation and the exorbitant bank commissions even prompted Dubai immigration officials to adopt a wait-and-see policy. (The Gulf News)


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