Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Property visas confusion.

As I said on Sunday the concept of having a standard UAE-wide property-linked residency visa was badly needed.

What we seem to have got, though, is something quite different.

Like many others, after the new visa was announced I had questions about the detail because there was very little of it in the announcement.

The Department of Naturalisation & Residency has just held a press conference to 'clarify details of the visa'.

I've read reports in Gulf News, The National and EmBiz247 and while they combine to give some of the answers there are still unanswered questions.

It's confirmed that this is not, in fact, a residence visa but is a multi-entry visit visa valid for six months. Visa holders will have to leave the UAE for at least one month, returning to their own country or a GCC country.

I really don't believe that this is the solution, I think it should be a normal residence visa. A visit visa with visa runs seems a strange way to reward property investors for their faith in the country.

It's confirmed that very many home owners will not be eligible for the visa because their property is valued at less than Dh1 million.

That's not fair and it's surely counter-productive.

It's confirmed, by the way, that the value is based not on current value but on purchase price.

The cost of the visa has now been revealed - Dh2,000.

Something that isn't clear to me is how the property owner's family visa works. We're told that: "During the investor's stay in the country, he or she may sponsor their immediate family - spouse and children.

What's not clear to me is whether the family visa can be applied for at the same time as the owner's or whether he/she has to obtain the property-related visa first and then apply to sponsor his/her family.

I'm assuming that each family member visa also costs Dh2,000 although that's not clarified in the clarification.

There's also a lack of clarity in the clarification about what happens to holders of existing property-related visas; in Dubai they were issued by the Master Developers.

The National tells us the acting director of the DNR said : ...the department would tell existing holders of property-linked residency visas to '"fix their status as per the new ruling or else they will be considered violators."

Gulf News also says: "In Dubai and Ajman...the Immigration departments have been informed to legalise the stay of such property owners by issuing them with this new type of visas", he told Gulf News, calling on such investors to visit the department. "Anyone who continues to stay without legalising their papers will be treated as an illegal resident and will be prosecuted as per the residency laws."

Yet in EmBiz247 we're told that: All visas given to owners of properties across the UAE will be cancelled after their expiry and they will not be renewed according to old rules.

One version suggests that existing visas will need to be changed when the new law comes into force on June 1 while the other says only after the existing ones expire.

I'm afraid that it looks to me as though a dreaded trip to Immigration is going to be necessary for people. Anyone who's visited them knows what to expect - long waits, confusion, different understanding and interpretations of the law from different officers.

Clarification of the clarification needed please.

There's also a question mark over the statement from the acting director about the status of property.

In Dubai it was sold, and bought, as freehold. Yet the acting director is quoted as saying: "In Dubai and Ajman where 99-year property leasing was possible..."

Was that a slip of the tongue or is there some question about the validity of freehold property?

It really isn't very satisfactory so far.

Here are the links to the news reports. See if you can work it out any better than I can:

The National.
Gulf News here and here.


Jad Aoun said...

And not it gets more confusing: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Immigration_and_Visas/10310788.htmlApparently, you dont have to leave the country for a month between visa renewals.

Only Gulf News seems to be reporting this change.

The Wizard of D said...

I don't trust a word of what the DNRD says. They cannot be trusted.

Just wait for the denials