Transition to TECOM online portal causing delays

15 Dec 14

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? A new online portal for companies operating in the Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone is experiencing an extremely high volume of applications.

What does the change mean? The transition to the new portal – which is now mandatory for all visas, renewals, transfers and other services – is currently causing significant delays to all processing.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and renewals.
  • Who is affected: AllTECOM Free Zone companies. 
  • Impact on processing times: While the online portal will ultimately streamline applications, it is still in transition and causing delays across the board.
  • Business impact: The portal should eventually save time for businesses by reducing in-person submission of documents and applications with the Government Services office.
  • Next steps: Companies should plan for delays in the short term followed by smoother processing once some of the glitches are fixed.

Background: The portal was launched in October and replaces counter service at the Government Services office. All new visa applications, renewals, transfers, document requests and other services must now be filed online. Companies no longer need to submit application documents in-person; instead, a TECOM courier service collects original documents from applicants’ offices. This is also true for employment visa cancellation, which will no longer require in-person verification by a Government Services officer.

Employers can also apply for new one-year residency permits and one-year renewals through the portal.

BAL Analysis: Once the current delays subside, the portal will ultimately benefit TECOM companies by moving all applications online and offering several new services, including the one-year residency permits and renewals, and an automatic reminder when visas, passports or trade licenses are about to expire to help companies renew on time.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the United Arab Emirates. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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