ISLAMABAD: The visa renewal process in Dubai has been linked to medical insurance and activated from January 1.
Authorities have asked Dubai visa holders to get insured as soon as possible.
Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), talking to Khaleej Times said though the authority has extended the deadline for residents to apply for the mandatory health insurance.
The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) has already linked the visa issuance to medical insurance and the system has been activated.
“This was done from January 01 and except for delays in submission from some insurance companies, new visas will now not be issued or renewed for residents unless they have the insurance,” he said.
However, no fines would be levied for this extension period.
“The new deadline will be announced soon by higher authorities,” he said.
Dr Haider said the extension did not mean that Dubai visa holders should further delay buying medical insurance. “We encourage them to complete this process within time,” he added.
Earlier this month, the authority extended the deadline for a second time due to a huge influx of applications received by the insurance companies.
The DHA has still not specified a new cut-off date.
An official from an insurance company said that crowds had dropped since the extension.
“At the end of December and beginning January, we had to start issuing a token system for the first time since people had waited for the last minute to buy insurance,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
“But now again the volume of applications has decreased since the pressure is off. People seem to be waiting again,” he added.
Dr Haidar said that all the insurance companies are working nonstop to cope with companies and individuals who want to acquire health insurance.
He added that there has also been a large number of online transactions on the insurance company’s websites.
DHA had earlier announced that 98 per cent of Dubai residents more than four million now have health insurance.
The original date for all Dubai residents to be insured was set for mid-2016 and then extended to December 31.
As per the law, those who are not insured will have to pay a fine of Dh500 per person per month.—APP