Aug 31, 2008

Ramadan Timings

Ramadan In UAE

Dubai is one of the busiest countries in the world but every year it takes time out to celebrate Ramadan. Ramadan is one of the most religious observances celebrated all over the globe by the Muslim community. Ramadan falls during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar...The beginning of the Islamic months depends on the actual sighting of the new moon.Thus, Ramadan begins on a different day each year and moves forward.

Ramadan will start from 2nd of September, 2008 to 1st of October, 2008 this year.

How to celebrate Ramadan in Dubai

Aug 28, 2008

Dubai Group plans insurance company

Dubai: Dubai Group, the leading diversified financial services company of government-owned Dubai Holding, is planning to launch an insurance company in December, its chief executive officer said yesterday.

"It will be completely owned by the Dubai Group ... it will be a conventional [insurance company]," Thomas S. Volpe said on the sidelines of the closing of a $1.5 billion multi-currency syndicated commodity murabaha transaction.

"If you look at the insurance business in this part of the world compared to any other developed region, the penetration of it is tiny. So there is a huge opportunity to not only have individuals who buy more insurance but more people who don't have insurance to buy. Then you got the huge increase in population...so there is a big opportunity."

The insurance company will be based in Dubai, and is gradually expected to spread out to the Gulf but it can also go beyond the region, including in the Middle East and North Africa, India, and Kazakh-stan.

The murabaha facility of $1.5 billion will be used to explore new growth opportunities, support current investments and refinance existing debt, according to a statement released to the press.

A total of 24 banks from across the Middle East, Europe and Asia participated in the transaction, the profit rate of which was 200 basis points per annum over the applicable benchmark with a three-year maturity period.

Specifically on exploring investment opportunities, the chief executive said: "We want to go places where we have an advantage. We don't want to go places where we are just selling money...a place where there is a reason of why they want Dubai involved other than money."

"And there are a lot of places that want to do that and they tend to be in the emerging markets. They tend not to be in the UK and North America."

Dubai Group's investments are predominantly in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, India and Asia as well, he said, adding, India is a "priority" for the group and it is opening an office in Mumbai soon.

Dubai diesel prices will fall further

Abu Dhabi: Dubai oil retailers - Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), Emirates Petroleum Products Company (Eppco) and Emarat - will further slash diesel prices at the pumps by 50 fils a gallon effective September 1, marking their sixth straight cut in prices in a little more than a month, oil company sources told Gulf News yesterday.

"The price of diesel will be cut to Dh16.25 per gallon from Dh16.75 per gallon from Monday," a spokes-man for Enoc and Eppco confirmed the news on behalf of the two companies.

"We want to pass on the benefit of lower fuel prices to our customers," he said.

A spokesman for Emarat was unavailable for comment.

The three Dubai oil retailers buy diesel at international prices and then adjust the local prices, based on the landed cost of the oil product.

The price cuts have been announced by the oil retailers following a downward trend in international crude and oil product prices since mid-July.

When the price cut becomes effective, the price of diesel in Dubai will have come down 18.46 per cent or Dh3 since July 28, when it was selling at a record high of Dh19.25 a gallon. The diesel price gap in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will also further shrink to 88.95 per cent.

International crude oil prices have fallen sharply from a lifetime high of $147.27 a barrel on July 11, as an economic downturn in the US, the world's biggest oil importer, has slowed consumer demand.

There are also fears that the world's second biggest economy, Japan, may be slipping into recession.

As well, the dollar, a currency in which oil trading is mostly done, has been strengthening against the euro, which has contributed to the bearish sentiments that currently prevail on the world oil markets.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday, crude oil futures for September delivery in the US were hovering well below $118 per barrel in early trade.

Petrol: Retailers suffer losses

While there's tremendous euphoria in Dubai surrounding the recent diesel price cuts, state-set gasoline prices continue to hurt the emirate's oil retailers in a big way. "We are incurring a daily loss of Dh7 million on petrol sales," said a spokesman for Enoc and Eppco. "For every gallon that we sell of petrol, we lose more than Dh7," he said.

Petrol grades sell for Dh6.25 and Dh6.75 per gallon in Dubai now. The fuel's prices have remained unchanged since September 1, 2005.

Etihad offers up to 50% Ramadan discount valid until November

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways has slashed many of its airfares by up to 50 per cent for travel during the Holy Month of Ramadan and the autumn period.

The special promotion, which runs from September 1 to November 10, sees prices to popular destinations like London reduced by 52 per cent to Dh1,900.

All prices exclude taxes. The travel and sale period is from September 1 to November 10, 2008. Period covering October 1 to 3 is excluded from the special offer. Outbound travel must be completed by October 10.

Return economy flights from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok start from Dh1,293, a discount of 37 per cent off the usual price, Kuala Lumpur drops 30 per cent to Dh1,851 and Cairo prices start at Dh1, 163, a discount of 23 per cent.

Geert Boven, Etihad's executive vice president sales and services, said: "The Holy Month of Ramadan is a very special time for people living and working in the UAE and the Middle East and Etihad is proud to unveil these great value fares that will provide customers with the opportunity to visit family and friends who live abroad."

"In order to open the promotion up to as many people as possible we have extended the sales period though to November 10, which will especially benefit those who are unable to travel during Ramadan."

Customers wishing to travel to Africa can take advantage of Etihad's reduced fares, which include Johannesburg from Dh2, 130, a 34 per cent discount on the normal fare, and Casablanca from Dh1, 851, a discount of 20 per cent.

Within the Middle East region, Etihad customers can book return economy flights to Muscat, Bahrain and Doha from Dh326 and Amman and Beirut from Dh558.

Aug 24, 2008

Visa rules, fees and requirements since August 2008

New visa rules apply from August 2008. If you're from one of the visa on arrival countries, you'll probably have an easier time of it. Bring money for visa fees, patience, and politeness, and assume visa rules will be implemented randomly depending on the mood of the official you're dealing with at the entry point or visa office.

Types of Visas, fees and requirements.

Type

Length

Cost

Renew

Effective

Notes

Conference Visit Visa

30 days

Dh100

no

01 Aug 2008


Employment Visa

30 days




employer arranges, not a work permit, entry only

Exhibition Visa





see Conference Visa

Family Visit Visa

60 days

Dh100


*

min 3-6k salary requirement, Dh2000 deposit

Friend Visit Visa

60 days

Dh100


*

min 3-6k salary requirement, Dh2000 deposit

Investor Visa

3 yrs

Dh300



invest Dh70k in company with UAE National

Medical Visit Visa

90 days

Dh1000

yes, 1x

01 Aug 2008

renewal Dh500

Mission Entry Visa

14 days

Dh220

no

*

only from hotels or companies

Mission Visa

90 days

Dh600

yes, 1x

*

renewal Dh1200, need Temporary Work Permit first?

Mission Visa

90 days

Dh200

no

01 Aug 2008


Multi-entry Visa

180 days

Dh1000


*

30 day max per visit, company application only

Multi-entry Visa

180 days

Dh2000

yes, ?x

01 Aug 2008

14 day max stay each visit

Parent Visa

1 yr

Dh100

yes

01 Aug 2008

deposit Dh5000, need special FNRD permission

Relative Visa





see Family Visa

Residents Permit





see Residence Visa

Residence Visa

3 yrs


yes


employer should arrange

Residence Visa - property

3 yrs

Dh5000*

yes


*estimated, may vary

Residence Visa - family

1-2 yrs




Dh5000 deposit needed

Student Visa (residence)





ask college or university when applying for entry

Student Visit Visa

60 days

Dh1000

yes, 2x

01 Aug 2008

UAE university registration, renewal Dh500

Tourist Visa

30 days

Dh120

no

*

only from hotels and tour operators

Tourist Visa

30 days

Dh110

yes? 1x

01 Aug 2008

only from hotels and tour operators

Transit Visa

96 hours

Dh30

no

*

may be free - conflicting information seen

Transit Visa

96 hours

Dh100

no

01 Aug 2008

need outbound ticket, some reports say 14 days

Visit Visa 30 days

30 days

Dh500

no

01 Aug 2008


Visit Visa 60 days

60 days


yes, 2x

*


Visit Visa 60 days

60 days

free*

yes, ?x


*see list of free visit visa nationalities

Visit Visa 90 days

90 days

Dh1000

no

01 Aug 2008


Visit Visa GCC residents?

30 days

Dh100

yes, 1x

01 Aug 2008

renewal Dh500

Visit Visa GCC nationals*

30 days

Dh100

yes, 1x

01 Aug 2008

renewal Dh200, *visitors with GCC nationals

Visit Visa extension

30 days

Dh500

no

*


Work Permit





not a visa, employer arranges after arrival in UAE

Work Visa





see Work Permit or Employment Visa

  • This information is correct to the best of our knowledge.
  • * in "Effective" column means that visa type is expected to be no longer available after 01 August 2008.
  • Nationalities eligible for free visit visas on arrival will continue to be able to receive them after 01 August 2008, according to statements reported on 09 June 2008.
  • If "Effective" column is empty, then that visa type will continue to be available as far as we know.
  • Most Visit Visas will require a deposit of 1000-2000 dhs to be left with the Naturalisation and Residency Department, refunded after visitor departs the UAE.
  • Limitations on renewal for free visit visas supposed to be 2x but many visitors have exceeded that with no problems.
  • Employers are required to arrange and pay for employee residence visas and work permits (but not their families).

To be noted: Visa rules and regulations can and do change suddenly and without warning. The UAE embassy in your country or the relevant authority in the UAE (DNRD in Dubai) is probably the only source of information you can rely on - even government websites can be slow to update

Related websites - External Links

  • http://www.dnrd.gov.ae and http://www.dnrd.ae both take you to the DNRD website. Has information on Entry permits, residence visas, visit visas, etc. Not always easy to find.
  • http://www.mol.gov.ae - Ministry of Labour (MOL) website, in Arabic and English, with information about work permits & visas.
  • http://www.eform.ae - online applications for permits
  • http://www.emol.ae - MOL eservices website (Arabic and English). Enter application number to get information about work permit, company, labor card etc. Also has Tas'heel Services link. Contact us to add your link here.

Immigration requirements for new entities in UAE

It is a mandatory requirement to register a new company's name with Immigration Department and the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs. Since most of the companies recruit their employees from abroad it needs to register a file at the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs and Immigration Department once they received their trade license. Without registering with both these departments an entity cannot employ its staff.

Upon registering the company/entity shall be issued a registration card from Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs called 'Establishment/Labour Card'. The card issued by Immigration Department is called 'Establishment/Immigration Card'. All the visa applications submitted to both the departments should be accompanied with copy of the above 'Cards”.


Employment Permits/Visas

Employment Visa or Permit shall be issued by the Immigration Department for a foreign national in order to work in a company in UAE after the approval from Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Employment permit/visa allows the holder to enter UAE once for a period of 30 days and are valid for a period of 2 months. When the employee entered the country on the basis of the employment visa the sponsoring company should arrange to complete the formalities of his residence stamping. It is the preliminary stage to arrange for the health card and medical fitness examination for the employee from a government health center. The employee must undergo for a medical test and obtain a medical certificate. Once the medical certificate is issued by the health department an application for Labour Card should be submitted to the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs within 30 days of the employees entry into the country. The next step is to submit the application to Immigration Department for stamping the residency on employee's passport. All the above formalities should be completed within 60 days of the arrival of the employee in UAE.

Investors Visa

An expatriate investor in an LLC company who holds minimum shareholding of AED 70,000 in the share capital shall be issued an investor visa. Such visas shall be issued directly from Immigration Department and does not need the approval from Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs.

Residence Visa

For individuals planning to live in the United Arab Emirates, you have to obtain a residence visa. A residence visa will be issued by the Immigration department of the emirate you will be staying in and provided to you by your sponsor (the company or person you are working for). If you have entered the country on a visit visa, you can transfer to a residence visa by either re-enter the country or else make the transfer at the Immigration department.

If you are coming to the UAE with family members, you should obtain a family visa, which will allow you to sponsor your parents, spouse, daughters, and sons under the age of 18. Family visas are only possible if you earn more than Dhs. 4,000 (US$ 1,100) a month.

Residence visas are normally issued for 3-years and in order for it to be processed, you will need to take a medical test and obtain a health card. Individuals who test positive for AIDS will not be permitted to obtain a residence visa. A health card costs around Dhs. 300 (US$ 82) and should be renewed yearly. It can be issued by at Ministry of Health or else at a recognized private hospital.

Overstaying
A penalty charge of Dhs. 25 (US$ 7) - Dhs. 100 (US$ 28) per day is imposed on visitors who overstay. If the overstay extends to a significant amount of time, then a court hearing is issued and the judge will decide what penalties will occur.

Issuing Authority
The Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) is the sole administrative authority of the Ministry of Interior that deals with issuing visas to foreigners visiting the country. Most visit visas issued in the UAE are issued through the Dubai International Airport and are sometime mistakenly reffered to as a Dubai visa. The most Dubai visas are issued during the various events sponsored by the Dubai government, including the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, as the visa requirements are minimized and obtaining a visa is alot easier.

Note: We would recommend that you also contact the UAE embassy or consulate in your country, as visa issues may have changed.

IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENTS

- Abu Dhabi
Saeed bin Tahnoon St.
Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02 4462244

- Al Ain
Aditaba Road, near Dubai Islamic Bank, opposite Carrefour supermarket.
Tel: 03 7625555

- Dubai
Department of Naturalization and Residency, Trade Centre Road, near Bur Dubai Police Station
Tel: 04 3980000

- Sharjah
Department for Naturalization and Residence, near General Post Office
Tel: 06 5726777

- Umm al-Qaiwain
Tel: 06 7666419

- Ajman
Tel: 06 7422255

- Ra's as-Khaimah
Tel: 07 2273333

Aug 21, 2008

Mission Visa

Mission Visa (for temporary work in the UAE). Mission visa would be open to all businesses for any type of employee. This is open to all companies regardless of size. Those arriving on Mission visa can change to another visa after a period of 3 months or 60 days.

This is a relatively new visa arrangement intended for people working in the UAE temporarily with the permission of the Labour Ministry. The DNRD website information is not very clear - this information comes from articles in the press.
Visa is issued for 3 months, cost is 600 dhs. Extension for another 3 months costs 1200 dhs. Maximum stay is 180 days (so if you stay 6 months, you may be in trouble for the extra couple of days although there is apparently a grace period of 7 days for 3 month visas - may not apply for the second 3 months).
Apparently you need to get a Temporary Work Permit from the Ministry of Labour first before applying for the Mission Visa. MOL website does not have further information about a TWP (at least, not in English).

Special Mission Entry Visa - 14 days: This is somewhere between a transit and visit/tourist visa. A company or hotel needs to obtain it and you can collect it on arrival. Validity is 14 days non-renewable, fee is 220 dhs plus 10 dh delivery charge

Multiple entry Visa

Multiple-entry Visas are availed to business visitors who have a relationship with either a multinational or other reputable local establishments, and who are frequent visitors to the UAE.

This type of visa is valid for six months from the date of issue and the duration of each stay is 30 days. The validity is non-renewable. The cost of this visa is Dh 1,000.

The visitor must enter the Dubai UAE on a visit visa and obtain the multiple entry visa while in the country. The visa would be stamped at the passport.

Transit Visa Services

Service for transit passengers For Emirates Airlines travelers, the airline can handle the service for their travelers. However for those flying through other Airlines, they have to contact directly the “Marhaba Services” for any transit service. A contact detail is provided herewith:

Marhaba Services
Tel: 04 2164629 (Visa Section)
Tel: 04 2062709 (Main Office in the Airport)
E-mail: marhaba@emirates.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

96 hrs Transit Visa

Transit passengers stopping at Dubai International Airport for a minimum of 8 hours and meeting the certain conditions mentioned below are eligible for obtaining a 96-hour transit visa. These conditions are as follow:
  1. Airlines sponsored only (prior arrangements maybe required)
  2. Applications should have confirmed onward booking to the 3rd destination
  3. For transit passengers or those holding special permits, or for visit or mission, the passport or the document must be valid for at least three months

Citizens of the following countries are not eligible for the 96 hours visa on arrival:
Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Niger, and Yemen.

Tourist Visas

A special category of visas under the Visit Visa type is a Tourist Visa, which can be obtained for individual tourists from: East and West Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, Albania, Russia, the Hellenic Republic, St Kitts-Navis, St Lucia, Mexico, Cuba, Bermuda, Belize, Guyana, French Guiana, Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent, Kingston, Palao other non-defined American nationalities, Thailand, South Africa, Singapore, China, Malta, Cyprus.

The Tourist Visa entitles its holder to a 30 day stay and is non-renewable. The Tourist Visa requires the sponsorship of hotels and tour operators who bring in visitors from the above listed countries. The fee is AED 100. There is also a fee of AED 10 for visa delivery service by DNATA. Hotels, hotel apartments, tour operators, travel agents and airlines may not levy supplementary charges or processing fees in excess of AED 50/- for arranging visas for visitors.

Visit Visa

  1. The Visit Visa applies to tourists who wish to spend more than 14 days in UAE, those coming for family visits as well as those on long-term business visits.
  2. It requires the sponsorship of any UAE. resident or any company or hotel licensed to operate within the UAE. A refundable AED 2,000 guarantee from expatriates who wish to sponsor distant relatives is imposed.
  3. This visa is valid for entry within two months from its date of issue.
  4. The Visit Visa is valid for 60 days and is renewable for a total stay of up to 90 days. A fee of AED 500 is charged for this renewal.
  5. In order to complete the application, the sponsor will require the visitor’s date of arrival and arrival details and a photocopy of the first few pages of the visitor’s passport, which must be valid for at least three months. There is a fee of AED 100 for obtaining a visit visa. There is also a fee of AED 10 for visa delivery service by DNATA. Hotels, hotel apartments, tour operators, travel agents and airlines may not levy supplementary charges or processing fees in excess of AED 50/- for arranging visas for visitors.
  6. The Visit Visa holder may enter and leave the country through any port of entry in the UAE.

Types of Visas and fees to UAE

Types of Visa

Fees
Short Entry Visit Visa (1 month) Dh 500
Long Entry Visit Visa (3 months) Dh 1,000
Multiple Entry Visa Dh 2,000
Entry Visa for GCC State Residents Dh 100
Renewal of GCC State Residents Dh 500
Entry Visa for GCC State Resident's Companions Dh 100
Renewal of GCC State Residents Companions' Visa Dh 200
Tourism Entry Visa Dh 100
Renewal of Tourism Visa Dh 500
Entry Visa for Study Dh 1,000
Renewal of Study Visa Dh 500
Entry Visa for Expos & Conferences Dh 100
Mission Entry Visa Dh 200
Transit Entry Visa Dh 100
Entry Visa for Medical Treatment Dh 1,000
Renewal of Medical Treatment Visa Dh 500

Entry Service Permit to UAE

An Entry Service Permit applies to the following categories and their families accompanying them: company manager’s representatives, sales managers, account auditors, delegations from companies or establishments to carry out a commercial activity in the UAE, enquirers requested by any of the establishments/companies operating in the UAE assumed to carry out an urgent task. Such visa is also availed to nationalities authorized to obtain a tourist visa, as per the Ministerial Council's decision.

This visa is valid for use within 14 days from the date of issue. The duration of stay is 14 days from date of entry, exclusive of arrival and departure days. It is non-renewable.

In order to complete the application, the sponsor will require the visitor’s date of arrival and flight details, and a photocopy of the first few pages of the visitor’s passport which should be valid for at least three months. This type of entry permit will only be issued as urgent at a fee of AED 220 .

The Entry Service Permit holder may enter and depart the UAE through any airport.

GCC and Visa on Arrival Countries

The following nationalities will not require a visa to travel to Dubai / UAE as they can have it upon arrival at the airport:

Europe: United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Lexembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein.

America: USA, Canada.

Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.

Asia: Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea.

GCC Citizens: Gulf Cooperation Council Countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Kuwait.

AGCC Residents: AGCC expatriate residents who meet certain conditions may obtain a non-renewable 30-day visa upon arrival at the approved ports of entry. Visitors who are businessmen, company managers or representatives, auditors, accountants, doctors, engineers or employees working in the public sector, their family members and drivers and servants sponsored by them are eligible for this visa. Employees from the labor and servant categories are not eligible for this type of visa.

Currently, it has been decided to postpone the implementation of the new regulation as far as Cyprus is concerned. The visa enables them to stay for 60 days. The visa is renewable for a total stay of 90 days for a fee of AED 500.


Travel to UAE - Requirements

Being one of the most important places of tourist attractions most of the leading airlines fly to UAE, one can also opt for either road or by sea. Most of the travelers take the advantage of tour operators which is the best option. But before contacting a tour operator one should make sure of having a valid passport which has not less than 6 months validity. Next is to go for a visa. Based on countries visa's have been categorized as given below.

General Information
  1. There are several types of visas for visitors to UAE
  2. Nationals of “Israel” may not enter the UAE
  3. A penalty charge of AED 100 per day is imposed on visitors who overstay
  4. For nationalities that require a sponsor, airlines may seek confirmation that the sponsor is holding a valid visa for the incoming visitor.

Aug 20, 2008

Climate in UAE

The climate in the United Arab Emirates is sub-tropical and arid. During summer (April to September) the weather is hot (around 50 degrees C) and extremely humid. At other times the humidity is less and the temperature generally ranges from 20-35 degrees C, with an average night time temperature of -15 degrees C. Rainfall is infrequent and usually occurs between November and March, with an average annual rainfall of 152mm (6 in.). There can be occasional sandstorms from the desert and some winter mornings bring fog, although this usually dissipates fairly quickly.