UAE | 08 August 2023

GPSSA announces start of Shourak, an end-of-service continuation program

The General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) has announced that the service period continuation program, "Shourak", will come into effect starting on the 1st of July 2023. The program seeks to provide merging of previous and current employment periods in case of a career change to increase years of service without the need to incur any additional cost.
The General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) has announced that the service period continuation program, "Shourak", will come into effect starting on the 1st of July 2023. The program seeks to provide merging of previous and current employment periods in case of a career change to increase years of service without the need to incur any additional cost.
GPSSA’s Shourak program enables Emiratis’ transition between different sectors and ensure competitive, flexible and high-productivity human capital without interferences or challenges, providing a system that supports the “We the UAE 2031” vision which focuses on creating a forward-thinking, results-oriented government. Shourak is a reflection of the government's ability to adopt new and improved government concepts, policies and models that are more flexible and appropriate to today’s circumstances, empowering human capital with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of talents and capabilities and allowing the exchanges of expertise between different sectors of employment in light of the significant changes taking place in various sectors in the UAE at present.

UAE | 07 August 2023

UAE announces new visa fines for residents, tourists

UAE announces new visa fines for residents, tourists
The new policy ensures compliance with visa rules and encourages timely renewal. By checking the service fees for various visa applications, including issuance, extension, or cancellation, applicants can stay informed and avoid unnecessary delays or penalties.

KSA | 06 August 2023

Saudi Arabia has expanded the list of countries whose nationals are eligible for a Saudi eVisa or a visa on arrival.

The Saudi Tourism Authority announced that Saudi Arabia has expanded the list of countries whose nationals are eligible for a Saudi eVisa or a visa on arrival.
Now, nationals from 57 countries can apply for an eVisa ahead of their trip. However, they are also eligible to receive a visa on arrival. The multiple-entry tourist visa is issued for a year, and allows the holder to stay in the country for up to 90 days.
Through the visa, tourists can explore Saudi Arabia, visit friends and family, or perform Umrah (this visa excludes Hajj).
Who is eligible for Saudi eVisa and visa on arrival?
According to, these are the three categories of visitors that can apply for an eVisa online or get a visa on arrival:
1. Tourists from 57 eligible countries listed below.
2. Permanent residents of the United States, United Kingdom and European Union (EU).
3. Holders of tourist or business visas from the UK, US or Schengen Area.
4. GCC Residents

UAE | 05 August 2023

UAE residence can update visa data online & get automatic Emirates ID replacement

UAE residents who need to change any information on their visas are now able to do so with a few taps and clicks on online platforms. This online service has been confirmed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP). Once a request for residence visa amendments is made, an application for Emirates ID replacement will also be created automatically.
Among the residence visa data that can be modified online are "personal information, profession, passport information, or nationality (in the event of obtaining a new nationality)". To complete the process, a Dh200 fee must be paid. In case an application is rejected due to insufficient details or any discrepancies, the payment will be refunded, according to the report.

Global | 03 August 2023

U.S. Passport Holders Will Need a Visa to Travel to Europe in 2024

The EU will require U.S. citizens to get pre-approved before entering 30 European countries.
Starting in 2024, U.S. passport holders traveling to Europe will need to apply for authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) before their visit.
While U.S. nationals currently enjoy visa-free access to most E.U. countries, this convenience will change once the new law is in effect. Similar to the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) process, ETIAS aims to enhance security and facilitate smoother entry for travelers.
To apply for an ETIAS, travelers can fill out the application form on the official ETIAS website or use the mobile application. The cost of applying is $7.79 , but some travelers may be exempt from paying this fee. Most ETIAS applications are processed within minutes. However, in some cases, the application might take longer.

Kuwait | 02 August 2023

Kuwait announces new mandatory entry rules for expats

The Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) has recently introduced a new regulation mandating biometric fingerprinting for other Gulf nationals upon arrival in the country.
This requirement applies to those who had not undergone fingerprinting before travelling to Kuwait. The implementation of this new measure is dependent on the number of flights arriving at the airport. Officials will assess the influx of arrival flights to determine whether they can efficiently complete the fingerprinting process of passengers within a certain time frame.
If there is a significant number of arrivals, the passengers will be allowed to proceed without being fingerprinted.
The source further revealed that certain airlines already require both expats and Gulf nationals to undergo fingerprinting as part of their entry procedure. To facilitate this process, all entry points in the country are equipped with fingerprint devices, ensuring the completion of the procedure within a minute for each individual.

UAE | 31 July 2023

GCC insurance protection system in UAE

The UAE’s General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) launched a campaign to introduce an insurance protection extension system for the GCC nationals working in the UAE. The aim is to ensure GCC nationals receive an insurance protection extension system outside their borders in order to secure their present and future, and encourage the transfer of GCC labour amongst all GCC countries. According to the extension protection system, GCC nationals employed in UAE and registered with the GPSSA will receive their end-of-service and retirement pension in accordance with the pension law in their home country. The same insurance system extends to the insured’s beneficiaries and to those who were supported by the insured or pensioner during his/her lifetime.
Registration is mandatory for GCC nationals employed in UAE-based government and private sectors, including free zones as well as the hotel and tourism sector. the pension authority in the GCC individual’s workplace country in coordination with the pension authority in his/her home country, must register the employee and follow up on collecting his/her monthly contributions in accordance with the insurance protection system established in their countries to ensure that their contributions are paid in a manner that does not exceed the employer’s share that is determined in the workplace country.
The responsibility for paying the contributions on behalf of the GCC national rests with the employer, who must deduct a percentage from the insured alongside the percentage prescribed for him/her and ensure the amount is transferred every month to the designated pension system bank account in the insured’s home country.
The Authority said the employer and the insured are mandated to register. Failure to register and contribute on behalf of an insured may result in insurance evasion, which is considered punishable by law. The entity bears full responsibility for paying the additional amounts and fines due as a result of not registering, contributing or evening delaying payments, noting that they will not be exempt from registering retroactively.

Oman | 27 July 2023

The Sultanate of Oman has introduced sweeping changes to its labour law

Major reforms that were made under Royal Decree No. 53 of 2023 included extended leaves for parents, caregivers, and those who are sick. Part-time employment was introduced, and regulations were set in managing redundancies in the workplace. It was a landmark decision that both employers and staff have lauded, saying it would modernise rules and address key aspects of employment in the country.
Here are some of the highlights of Oman's new labour law:

New, extended leaves for both citizens and expats
These leave benefits are given to employees each year under the new law:

  • Working mothers will now get 98 days of paid maternity leave which covers the periods before and after a child's birth. They can also avail of unpaid leave for up to one year for child care. Once they get back to work, they are entitled to an hour for child care every day. Fathers can file paternity leave for seven days. Those who need to take care for a sick family member have the option to avail of a 15-day leave. Employees are entitled to 182 days of sick leave, with certain conditions applied. Full pay will be given for the first day until the 21st day; 75 per cent of salary for 22nd until 35th; 50 per cent for 36th until 70th; and 35 per cent for 71st until 182nd day. Fifteen days of study leave are granted to employees enrolled in schools, institutes, or universities. A female Muslim worker is entitled to 130 days of leave in case of her husband's death; and 14 days for a non-Muslim woman. Workers can be granted special leaves without pay.

    Part-time work
    The law now allows employees to temporarily work for another employer — a decision aimed at easing business operations and reducing recruitment costs.

    Probation, appraisals
    Employers may terminate an employee's contract if he/she fails to achieve performance and productivity goals. The worker shall be notified about areas of inefficiency and given no less than six months to address them. Business owners are also required to establish a performance appraisal system.

    Expat employees can be terminated if an Omani worker is employed to replace them in the same position. This provision seeks to facilitate the process of 'Omanisation', according to the government.

    Women's area
    A dedicated rest space should be created in establishments with more than 25 female employees.

    To learn more, please contact BVS Global Immigration Service Expert.
  • UAE | 21 June 2023

    UAE announces significant changes to educational requirements

    The UAE is making significant improvements in the way it recognizes certificates from universities from around the world. An updated system will eliminate conditions like the requirement for attesting degree certificates and allow degree certifications that can only be obtained online.
    The new approach will significantly alter how people in the UAE apply for jobs and choose to enroll for education.
    To replace the previous "University Qualification Equivalency" system, the Ministry of Education has launched its "University Certificates Recognition" method.
    The provision relates to degrees granted by foreign higher education institutions (HEIs), which allow holders to pursue further education or apply for employment in the UAE.
    With the aim of giving students greater flexibility in their academic and professional endeavors, streamlining the recognition process to be quick and easy, and ensuring efficiency across all of its services, the Ministry enhanced the previous University Qualification Equivalency system.
    The updated system has removed a number of conditions and criteria that were present in the previous system.
    These include the need for attesting previous degrees and complying with a minimum physical presence requirement of 30 days for master’s graduates and 168 days for bachelor’s graduates. It also eliminated other criteria and conditions like the credit transfer limits, and distance learning credit caps. Obtaining certificates entirely through distance learning (or e-learning) is also now permitted in the UAE. All programmes are subject to these updates, except certificates related to specialized professions, including:

  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Law

    According to the new system, recognition criteria include the category of the HEI where the certificate was issued. In other words, the lower the rank of the HEI, the more conditions and requirements are applied to attain recognition. For example, for universities ranked from 1-200, it is enough to verify the validity of the certificate, and no other criteria or conditions are required for recognition, excluding certificates related to specialized professions.
    Under the new system, certificates related to certain specializations and issued by foreign HEIs are immediately recognized once their validity is verified and if the university is accredited in case, it ranked 601 and above, without any additional conditions or criteria. This, in turn, enhances the efficiency of the overall recognition procedures.
  • UAE | 15 June 2023

    UAE Unemployment Insurance Scheme registration deadline extended by three months

    The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) has extended the deadline for individuals employed before December 31, 2022, to subscribe to the Unemployment Insurance Scheme. They must now subscribe by September 30, 2023, instead of the previous deadline of June 30, 2023, allowing them additional time to complete the necessary steps. The MoHRE will impose fines on employees who fail to register with the Unemployment Insurance Scheme by October 1, 2023. Further, any individuals who began their employment on or after January 1, 2023, must subscribe to the Unemployment Insurance Scheme within four months of entering the United Arab Emirates on an employment entry permit or within four months of an in-country immigration status change.

    UAE | 15 June 2023

    Visitors to UAE can stay in the country up to 90 days

    Visitors to the UAE can now come to the country on a three-month visa. The Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP) said that people who want to visit the UAE for 90 days can make use of the opportunity by consulting with the travel agents who will help in issuing the 90-days visit visa. According to industry experts, this visa was introduced by the end of May 2023, allowing visitors to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days. The visa can be extendable within the country at an additional cost based on the service provider. The fee for a 90-day-visit visa varies depending on your issuing travel expert, with a starting price of Dh1,500 and can go up to Dh2,000, which can even be extended within the country.

    UAE | 13 June 2023

    Dubai Courts calls on UAE residents to update Emirates ID details

    Dubai Courts has called on residents in the UAE to update their Emirates ID at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Port Security. The authority took to Twitter to post the alert, letting customers know they can update their IDs via the link The post explained that residents updating their Emirates IDs makes it easier for Dubai Courts to reach them in the case of any legal proceedings.

    UAE | 02 June 2023

    UAE Tourists can now extend their stay from within the country

    Tourists in the UAE on a 30 or 60 days visit visa can extend their stay within the country by another 30 days. The decision by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) grants visitors an additional 30 days to explore and enjoy the country’s diverse offerings.
    The UAE has implemented several changes in its visa procedures since October last year, marking one of the largest residency and entry permit reforms by the ICP (Immigration and Citizenship Program). Since then, several developments have taken place in the visit visa system of the country.
    As per the ICA website, individuals holding a visit visa of 30 or 60 days will now be eligible for an additional 30-day stay, and the maximum extension period for a visit visa holder is 120 days.

    UAE | 01 June 2023

    Grace period for visit visas scrapped in UAE

    The Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security confirmed that there is no grace period for visit visas issued anywhere in the UAE. There is no grace period anymore. From the date of entry, the stay duration is as per the type of visa (30 days or 60 days). All emirates except Dubai had done away with the 10-day grace period for visit visas. The grace period only applied to visas issued in Dubai. From May 15, authorities in Dubai have also removed the grace period. This means a visitor or tourist must exit the country before their visas expire. Failing this, overstay fines will apply.

    UAE | 30 May 2023

    UAE residents apply for re-entry permit if they stay overseas for over 6 months

    Hundreds of UAE residents whose visas got cancelled after staying outside the country for more than six months could return to the Emirates, thanks to a service launched earlier this year. In January, the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) introduced a re-entry permit for such residents.
    Previously, residents had to apply for a visit visa to return to the country if they stayed outside the UAE for over six months. Residents of all emirates, except Dubai, can apply for the service on the ICP website. However, the process is slightly different for those who hold Dubai-issued visas.
    “It is a very straightforward process,” said Abdul Gafoor, general manager of Al Mas Businessmen Service. “We can do the process on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs website of Dubai (GDRFA) and select the necessary option. They must provide a letter stating why they stayed outside the country.”

    UAE | 29 May 2023

    UAE launches service to renew Emirates ID card, passport from outside the country

    The UAE has recently launched a service allowing individuals to renew their Emirates ID card and passport from outside the United Arab Emirates. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security has introduced this long-awaited change.
    However, there is a crucial condition that individuals must meet to avail of this service—the applicant must personally apply for the transaction through the authority's dedicated smart application, ensuring that they are the rightful owner of the documents.

    UAE | 20 May 2023

    UAE visa fine exemption for Sudan Nationals

    ‘Crisis & Disaster Countries Visa’ grants Sudanese citizens one-year temporary residency, enabling them to seek refuge, rebuild lives, access necessary support.
    Sudanese nationals who are stranded and are overstaying in the UAE need not worry about fines. In a significant development aimed at assisting Sudanese nationals affected by the ongoing crisis, a new visa category has been introduced by the UAE. The ‘Crisis & Disaster Countries Visa’ grants Sudanese citizens a one-year temporary residence permit, enabling them to seek refuge, rebuild their lives, and access necessary support in times of distress.

    KSA | 16 May 2023

    Entry Permits Required to enter Makkah for Expats

    The General Directorate of Passports began receiving applications for issuing Makkah entry permits for residents of domestic workers and non Saudi family members, workers residing in establishments based in Makkah, seasonal work visa holders and contractors with those establishments registered in the Ajeer system during the Hajj season 1444 AH.
    This service comes to facilitate beneficiaries, shorten time and save effort, as the Absher platform provides individuals with permits for domestic workers and non Saudi family members, and through the service of entry permits to Makkah in the electronic Muqeem portal for all establishments.

    UAE | 24 March 2023

    Five-year Green Visa for Expats in UAE

    The UAE has introduced the five-year Green Visa as part of a framework of a set of new rules to attract skilled workers and investors from all over the world.
    The move aims to enhance flexibility of the job market and to attract exceptional workers in all fields as the new 5-year Green Residence Visa will be focused on outstanding talents, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs.
    The Green Visa offers long-term residency and more benefits to visa holders and their families than the standard residence visa.
    Benefits include the ability to sponsor sons up to the age of 25 and unmarried daughters, regardless of age. The Green Visa is valid for five years and offers a wide range of visa options for professionals, freelancers, investors and partners. Additionally, provide 6 months grace period to complete the renewal process if the visa is expired.
    Currently, Green Visa Work Permit is still not active in Tasheel Portal. MoHRE informed the service is being developed in partnership with the concerned authorities for a green visa holder to apply for a work permit.

    Qatar | 23 March 2023

    The Qatar Ministry has introduced the Hayya Platform for all types of travel visa request

    With just a click of a button, travelers from across the world can apply for a travel visa to Qatar. Anyone wishing to travel to the State of Qatar for leisure or business meetings can now apply for visa via the Hayya Portal.

    Below are the type of visas offered:

  • Tourist Visa
  • Visa with ETA (Visa holders of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and/or Schengen visa)
  • Visa for GCC Residents (Regardless of profession)

    All need to do is simply visit and create a login account then simply select the type of visa and follow the steps to upload the required document for issuing the travel visa.
    Contact our Global Visa team for more details at
  • Oman | 16 March 2023

    Tourists from these 100 countries can enter Oman visa-free

    Oman is offering tourists from over 100 countries to enter visa-free for up to 14 days. The move, aimed to boost the country's tourism industry, is designed to encourage more travelers to visit Oman. The country had announced visa-free entry for residents in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in October last year, provided a resident's visa in the GCC is valid for a period of no less than three months. The circular released by Oman Airports also noted that the granting of visas to restricted nationalities will only be applied after following the required policies.
    The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has published a list of countries whose nationals are eligible for this new policy.
    Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, North Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

    UAE | 16 March 2023

    New freelance work licenses will be available in the UAE for "all skill levels."

    The UAE is set to introduce a flexible work permit that will allow people of all skills to take up freelance jobs in the country.
    This new permit which is expected to be rolled out by the third quarter of 2023 enables freelancers to work within the country or from any part of the world.
    This will attract different people with varied skill levels with businesses attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce. This workforce is both beneficial for employer and the employees as with such flexible work permits, talents won't have to be tied to employers and some employers feel that this is more economical for them because they don’t have to take risks and decide if they want to continue with an employee or not.
    This will enhance productivity in the labour market increasing people’s value in the workforce.

    KSA | 12 March 2023

    Saudi Arabia is now considering a shortened workweek following the UAE

    Saudi Arabia is considering a three-day weekend after the UAE implemented it last year, according to local media reports. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, in response to a tweet, said that it is studying the current work system through a periodic review to achieve increased job creation and raise the attractiveness of the market for local and international investments. It also explained that a draft of the work system had been put forward in a survey platform for public consultations.

    UK | 12 March 2023

    Four nations are attempting to streamline procedures for holders of Indian passports.

    Countries all over the world are working to make visa application process simpler for Indians.
    Here are four countries that have announced schemes or intentions to make visa processes easier for Indians wishing to obtain entry permits:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Germany
  • Russia

    These nations are introducing schemes to make it easier for Indian nationals to receive entry permits for both work and tourism purposes
  • KSA | 10 March 2023

    Saudi Arabia relaxes visit visa rule for GCC residents, regardless of profession

    The Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that all GCC residents can now apply for a visit visa to the Kingdom - irrespective of their professions.
    Previously, there was a list of accepted professions, available to check on the ministry website, that GCC residents had to fall under in order to be allowed to apply.
    According to the website, visitors can apply for and receive a multiple-entry visa for up to 90 days. This permit would be valid for a year and would allow the holder to perform Umrah, except during the Haj season. They can also apply for a single-entry visa for up to 30 days, which is valid for three months from the date of issuance.
    The cost of an eVisa is SAR300 plus full health insurance fees.
    The following are the eligibility requirements:
    1. The applicant must be at least 18 years old. For children under 18, the guardian must apply first.
    2. The applicant's passport must be valid for at least six months, and the applicant must have a residency ID from a GCC country valid for no less than three months.
    3. Visa holders can perform Umrah anytime except during the Haj season
    4. The applicant must complete separate visa applications for each member of their direct family, and must accompany the member while entering the Kingdom.
    For more information and apply for a visa go to
    Earlier, it was announced that the Kingdom would allow travellers to get a 96-hour entry permit to the country along with their flight tickets. The holder is allowed to perform Haj and Umrah with this transit visa.

    UAE | 09 March 2023

    UAE, other GCC countries first to get UK’s new ETA scheme

    Visitors to the United Kingdom from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, and Jordan, will be the first to benefit from the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme.
    The scheme will be expanded worldwide throughout 2024 and Qatari visitors will be the first to be able to apply for an ETA in October 2023, officials said.
    By applying for an ETA in advance, visitors will benefit from smooth and efficient travel. The application process will be quick, light touch and entirely digital with most visitors applying via a mobile app and receiving a swift decision on their application.
    The officials said that an ETA is not a visa, it does not permit entry into the UK, but authorises an individual to travel to the UK. On arrival, an individual will still need to obtain leave to enter, as per the process now, by seeing a Border Force Officer or using an eGate if eligible to do so.
    Visitors from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates will need an ETA to travel to the UK from 22 February 2024, but can apply in advance from February 1, 2024. Before February 22, 2024, they will continue to require an EVW to travel to the UK.
    The new scheme will entirely replace the current Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) Scheme which requires visitors to the UK from GCC states to pay a higher cost for a single-use visit.

    Egypt | 08 March 2023

    Egypt offers citizenship to foreign investors

    Egypt announced on offering citizenship to foreign investors willing to spend at least $250,000 in the country.
    According to state newspaper Al Ahram, a decision by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli published in the official gazette, says the premier can now “grant Egyptian nationality” to applicants that meet one of four conditions.
    Foreigners can either buy at least $300,000 of real estate in Egypt, invest $350,000 in the country, deposit $500,000 in an Egyptian bank account or “make a non-refundable $250,000 deposit in direct revenues in foreign currency into the state's public treasury”

    UAE | 24 February 2023

    Get birth certificate issued in UAE online in a day

    The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) on Thursday announced the launch of the digital service, aiming to streamline procedures and provide customers with efficient services. With this new Mohap service, residents can simply file a request and pay a nominal fee of Dh60 each for both birth and death certificates and both Emiratis and expatriates can now apply without having to visit any government office or typing centre. The new process, available online, is quick and hassle-free, with documents being issued within one working day.

    UAE | 23 February 2023

    90-day visit visa now available for UAE residents' family and friends

    UAE residents planning to invite their friends or family to the country can apply for a 90-day single or multiple-entry visit visa through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP).
    This service can be accessed by residents if they have a residence visa issued in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah or Umm Al Quwain. The host is required to pay a refundable deposit of Dh1,000 for this visa.

    UAE | 15 February 2023

    UAE visa reforms: 15 services updated for residents, visitors, including a 30-day extension

    UAE's Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), Customs and Ports Security on Wednesday announced the implementation of a new package of updates to improve the services provided to citizens, residents, and visitors through its smart services system. One of the key updates is the introduction of a one-time 30-day visa extension service for 90-day visit visas.

    • Issuance of group family visa for tourism, treatment, and patient companion, for single and multiple entries for a period of 60 days and 180 days
    • Exempting people of determination citizens from the requirement of fingerprinting when submitting applications for the issuance, renewal, and replacement of passports.
    • Allowing visa extension for a period of 30 days for one time for holders of 90-day visas, and prohibiting residency visa renewal if its validity is for more than 6 months.
    • Providing services for cancelling and amending visa data in the accounts of GCC citizens without Emirates ID.
    • Allowing the extension of visit visa of a relative or friend for single or multiple entries for a period of 30, 60, and 90 days in the individual’s accounts.

    UAE | 10 February 2023

    Visit Visa Validity Extension in UAE

    After receiving travel visa, tourists and visitors to the UAE are required to enter the nation within a certain window of time. A 30-day visit visa, for instance, must be used to enter the UAE within 30 days of being issued. According to the most recent procedure, travelers must pay a charge to cancel their visa if they are unable to enter the UAE during the allotted time. As an alternative, individuals can pay a fee of Dh200 to extend their stay in the nation by two months.

    Russia | 08 February 2023

    Russia's Mutual Visa Recognition Agreement with Belarus

    Russia and Belarus have signed Mutual Recognition of Visas and Other Matters Related to the Entry of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons into the Territories of the Member States of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State that will enter into force on 1 February 2023.
    The Agreement aims to create a legal framework for regulating the procedure for foreign citizens and stateless persons to cross the Russian-Belarusian border.
    Foreign nationals holding any permission to stay authorization (visa, temporary resident permit, permanent residence permit) issued by the government of Russia will also be permitted to reside in Belarus so long as the permissions granted under the authorization type remain valid and foreign nationals permitted to enter Russia visa-free will also be permitted to enter Belarus.

    UAE | 08 February 2023

    Schengen visa application likely to be digitized

    UAE residents wishing to travel to Schengen countries may not have to wait for appointments, stand in a queue or submit their passports to process their visas in the near future. Travelers to the 27 EU countries may soon be able to apply for their visa online and plans to digitalise the process are underway.

    UAE | 08 February 2023

    UAE announces amended Emiratization deadlines for private companies

    The UAE Cabinet has issued a decision, amending some provisions of the country’s Emiratization scheme in the private sector. The annual target is now divided by 1 per cent in the first six months and the other 1 per cent in the second half of the year.
    Private companies are still mandated to raise Emiratization rates by 2 per cent every year to reach 10 per cent by 2026. It is the procedure of the law's implementation that has been revised, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (Mohre)

    The ministry clarified what has and has not changed under the latest update:

    • The overall mechanism for achieving the targeted Emiratization rates has not changed. However, it became semi-annual instead of annual. Companies with more than 50 employees are required to achieve an increase of 1 per cent of skilled jobs every six months and reach a growth of 2 per cent by the end of the year

    • The financial contributions for non-compliant companies have not been modified.

    • There will be no new or additional commitments from companies. However, fines for non-compliance will start to be applied in July 2023 (this collection will include the remaining contributions from 2022).

    UAE | 03 February 2023

    Tourists overstaying their visas now face an absconding case filed by travel agents

    UAE travel agencies and tour operators are now filing absconding cases against tourists travelling to the UAE on a visit visa of 30 or 60 days who overstay their visit visas without any notice. Some agents say overstayers could be 'blacklisted' and banned from entering the UAE or any GCC country if they do not exit more than five days after their visas' expiry.
    However, these circulars are from travel agencies and not the immigration authorities.
    Visitors who overstay their visit visa duration must pay their overstay fine and obtain an out pass or leave permit at an additional cost before exiting the country. This is applicable to visitors who are exiting through Dubai, the out pass is not required by visitors you are leaving from other emirates.

    Qatar | 01 February 2023

    Qatar extends the validity of visitors' Hayya Cards

    The Ministry of Interior (MOI) has announced the extension on the validity of Hayya Card for fans and organizers, which was applied during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
    MOI clarified in a statement that holders of this Card among visitors would be allowed to enter the State of Qatar from yesterday until January 24, 2024. However, the cardholders wishing to enter the country must have proof of hotel reservation or appropriate accommodation approved with the online Hayya portal as well as a passport valid for at least three months upon arrival.
    Incoming travelers must have a return ticket on them as well as health insurance valid for the duration of their stay in Qatar, the ministry added.

    UAE | 30 January 2023

    Ejari no longer required for dependent visa applications in Dubai

    The Ejari is no longer a need to start or renew a dependant visa application, according to GDRFA authorities. In some circumstances, Ejari is necessary, and they must present the document for the dependents visa to be issued (Ex. Sponsoring parents)

    KSA | 30 January 2023

    Saudi Arabia Starts Issuing Free 4-Day Stopover Transit Visa

    Saudi Arabia launched the service of issuing electronic Stop-over Transit Visa for international visitors arriving in the Kingdom by air for all purposes, effective from Monday, Jan. 30.
    The visa holders can stay in the Kingdom for four days and the duration of the visa is three months. The visa is free of cost and it will be issued instantly along with the flight ticket. The ministry launched the service in coordination with the relevant authorities and in cooperation with the Saudi national airlines.
    The Transit visa allows transit passengers, who wish to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah in addition to traveling inside the Kingdom, as well as all leisure, Business and tourism events.
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that applications for transit visas can be submitted through the electronic platforms of Saudi Arabian Airlines and Flynas.
    This will automatically be passed to the Unified National Visa Platform at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to process and issue the digital visa immediately and send it to the beneficiary via e-mail.
    The ministry confirms that the digital Transit Visa service will contribute to achieving the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by strengthening the Kingdom’s position and benefiting from its distinguished strategic location connecting various continents, and attractive station for transit passengers as well as a global tourist destination.

    Senegal | 26 January 2023

    Senegal Accession to Hague Apostille Convention

    Senegal will become the 124th member to accede to the Convention abolishing the requirements of legalization for Foreign Public documents, commonly referred to as the “Apostille Convention” or the “Hague Convention”. The Apostille Convention facilitates the use of public documents abroad by replacing the often long and costly legalization process with the issuance of a simple Apostille Certificate to be accepted in the 123 member countries. In the near future, to certify Senegalese documents, it will be enough to stamp them with an apostille instead of going through the complicated procedure of consular legalization. In addition, the Senegalese authorities will begin to accept on their territory, without additional authentication procedures, foreign documents previously apostilled by the states that issued them. According to media reports, one of the factors that forced the Senegalese authorities to speed up the decision on the question of accession to the Convention was the presence of a large diaspora of representatives of the local population abroad. According to various estimates, there are currently between 550,000 and 2.5 million Senegalese citizens abroad who are constantly struggling to legalize documents. Senegal will formally ratify the Apostille Convention on March 23, 2023. From that point forward, contracting parties are required to recognize apostilles issued by designated competent body and forgo the need for legalization for public papers issued by Senegalese authorities. Apostilles issued by the competent authorities of other contracting parties must also be accepted by Senegalese authorities for incoming overseas public papers. Individuals should anticipate that short delays may arise in Senegal with obtaining such documents and with the acceptance of apostille-ed documents at Senegalese consular posts in other Hague member countries throughout the implementation of new apostille processes in conformity with the treaty.

    Pakistan | 25 January 2023

    Pakistan Accession to Hague Apostille Convention

    Pakistan will become the 123rd member to accede to the Convention abolishing the requirements of legalization for Foreign Public documents, commonly referred to as the “Apostille Convention” or the “Hague Convention”. The Apostille Convention facilitates the use of public documents abroad by replacing the often long and costly legalization process with the issuance of a simple Apostille Certificate to be accepted in the 122 member countries. This one-step process reduces time and cost by avoiding additional certification or legalization at an embassy or consulate of the foreign/destination country. Apostilled documents are commonly needed for business, immigration or legal transactions being conducted in a member jurisdiction to the Convention. Pakistan will formally ratify the Apostille Convention on March 9, 2023. From that point forward, contracting parties are required to recognize apostilles issued by designated competent body and forgo the need for legalization for public papers issued by Pakistani authorities. Apostilles issued by the competent authorities of other contracting parties must also be accepted by Pakistani authorities for incoming overseas public papers. Individuals should anticipate that short delays may arise in Pakistan with obtaining such documents and with the acceptance of apostille-ed documents at Pakistani consular posts in other Hague member countries throughout the implementation of new apostille processes in conformity with the treaty.

    UAE | 24 December 2022

    Grace period for changing unlimited job contracts extended

    The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization has announced that the deadline for correcting the current conditions granted to employers, especially regarding the transfer of work contracts concluded and signed between workers and employers, will be extended from indefinite-term employment contracts to fixed-term employment contracts until December 31, 2023.

    UAE | 20 January 2023

    90-day visit visas available only in specific circumstances

    Currently, nation-wide, Visit visas for the general public are only available for 30 and 60 days. However, 90-day visas can still be issued under certain conditions. One of that is the medical tourism visa or a job exploration visa available for those wishing to stay for 90 days. Granted to those classified in the first, second, or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre).

    UAE | 16 January 2023

    Increase in costs of UAE visas & Emirates ID

    There has been an increase in the cost of issuing Emirates ID and visas in the UAE. Its prices have increased by Dh100, according to a customer service representative at the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP).

    UAE | 12 January 2023

    PCR Tests are no longer required for EID Biometrics

    The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security no longer requires a negative PCR test to allow entry into their facilities for biometric enrollment.

    UAE | 09 January 2023

    Complete residency transactions via video calls

    The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) has announced that residents of Dubai can now use video conferencing to inquire about missing papers and finish visa applications. On Wednesday, the project's pilot phase began.

    UAE | 06 January 2023

    Visitors with expired visa can get outpass to exit country

    Visitors overstaying in the UAE must pay fines for the number of extra days after visa expiry and need to obtain an out pass or leave permit by paying up to Dh300 at the airports or the immigration office at the land borders.

    UAE | 31 December 2022

    Involuntary Loss of Employment Scheme

    The mandatory scheme, which was recently announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation can now be subcribed via various channels such as the smart application ILOE, kiosk machines, Al Ansari exchange and bank ATMs. Workers in free zones are not currently covered by the unemployment insurance (ILOE) Investors or owners of establishments, domestic workers, temporary contract workers, juveniles under 18 years, and retirees are considered as exempted categories for the scheme. All eligible employees have a grace period until 30 June 2023 to subscribe in the ILOE. Also please note that if the employee was employed at a date later than 1st January, 2023, will have a grace period of 4 months to subscribe, starting from the day he landed in the UAE or the day of status change.
    For more information, employees can visit -

    UAE | 23 December 2022

    No visit visa extensions from within the country

    According to the most recent information from the immigration departments in UAE, visitors would no longer be able to switch from one visit visa to another. Those with a visiting visa but wanting to continue staying in the country must exit the UAE and then reenter on a new visit visa. Visitors have the option of extending their visas for one month at a cost.

    KSA | 07 December 2022

    Saudi Arabia Accession to Hague Apostille Convention

    Saudi Arabia officially became the 122nd member to accede to the Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, commonly referred to as the “Apostille Convention”. The new procedure shortens processing timelines and avoids challenging legalization processes at consulates, streamlining recruitment and immigration processing for Saudi Arabian employers and foreign citizens. Additionally, it simplifies the immigration procedures for citizens of Saudi Arabia in the other 121 Hague members. However, when the new procedure is introduced at all consulates, people can anticipate brief delays. The recognition and acceptance of apostilles in Saudi Arabia is for all of the practical challenges that the participants in cross-border transactions involving Saudi Arabia sometimes face. For example, if a document is notarized in, and comes to Saudi Arabia from, a country that is not a signatory state to the Apostille Convention (for example, Canada and the People's Republic of China are two of the bigger gaps in the list of signatory states as it currently stands), it will still be necessary to use the older legalization system. Also, the changeover from legalization to apostilles does not remove the requirement in Saudi Arabia to have documents that are executed in a language other than Arabic translated into Arabic by a court-licensed translator, in order to be admissible in the Saudi Arabian court system. Regardless, the recognition and acceptance of apostilles in Saudi Arabia is a very welcome step forward as the country increasingly aligns its legal procedures with international practices. In so doing, Saudi Arabia becomes ever more accessible for cross-border transactions. We have not yet heard back from many locations to confirm whether they switched from consular legalization to apostille. The conventional method of attesting documents from Saudi Embassy will be replaced by an Apostille sticker if the origin is also part of the Apostille convention eg: UK to Saudi Arabia, Russia to Saudi Arabia, India to Saudi Arabia. However, there is no change if the origin is not part of Apostille convention eg: Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Egypt to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon to Saudi Arabia. We are keeping an eye on the modifications and will soon provide further details and instructions.

    UAE | 05 December 2022

    Medical fitness test required for Mission visa applications in ICA

    As per the latest update from ICA an additional requirement for an complete Medical Fitness Test Certificate is mandatory in order to proceed and issue the mission visa entry permit.

    Global | 16 April 2022

    Embassy of Saudi in Lebanon does not legalize educational documents for visa applicants from outside Lebanon

    UAE | 05 March 2022

    UAE Consulate in Toronto, Canada ceased operations and documents from all provinces are legalized by the Embassy in Ottawa

    Global | 07 February 2022

    UAE Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic does not do super legalization and directs everyone to the embassy located in Vienna