Dubai: Expatriates applying for family visas will have to pay an additional Dh220 to open the file at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA), Gulf News can confirm. This is a one-time charge per family. The regular fees charged for the visa remain the same. The fee is applicable for new visas only. Existing visas can be renewed without additional payment.

According to sources at the typing centres in Dubai, the new fee became applicable last month and is mandatory for all new family visas. GDRFA officials were not available to confirm the changes in visa fees despite repeated attempts.

“The fee has to be paid at the time of submitting the visa application at GDRFA,” Wali Mohammad, a typist based in Al Karama, said. However, another visa agent said that the file opening fee is charged for visa renewals as well.

“I have also come across some existing visa renewal cases where the applicants are charged the fee. There is some confusion and we haven’t had any clarity from the authorities,” Omar Mukhtar, manager of a typing centre in Al Satwa, said. Typing centres also claimed that the entry permit fee for new family visas has increased from Dh360 to Dh400 per visa. The renewal fee remains Dh360.

The total cost of a new family visa is now Dh1,310, which includes Dh400 for entry permit, Dh290 for medical test, Dh270 for Emirates ID and Dh350 for visa stamping. Meanwhile, the unannounced additional charges came as a surprise to many residents looking to apply for family visas.

“When I approached a typing centre to get applications typed for my wife and children I was told that there is a fee to open the file. I had not heard of it and made inquiries at the immigration office, which confirmed it,” Mohammad Esmail, from India, said. Another applicant requested the authorities to announce any changes to the procedure prior to implementing it.

“I would want to hear it from the authorities rather than getting to know from other sources. When I approached the GDRFA office with my applications I was told that I have to first pay Dh220 to open a file. I was a bit irked, but had no choice but to pay it,” Khalid Attar said.

source: gulfnews