The requirement of a tenancy contract and attested utility bills in the UAE has been cancelled for renewal of residency visa from late Monday.
“The decision from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs came late yesterday. We have been told that there is no longer need of tenancy contracts and utility for renewal of visas,” a call centre executive of Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) told 'Emirates24|7'.
However, the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) call centre said on Tuesday morning that the tenancy contract requirement was still applicable as far as they knew.
On Monday, Abu Dhabi had said that expatriates seeking a renewal of their residence visa must submit an attested tenancy contract with a valid utility bill, saying those sharing an accommodation would be rejected.
An official at the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Abu Dhabi said the new rules issued last week apply to all expatriate families and bachelors, excluding those applying for a renewal of a visit visa.
Ahmed S, an Indian, who works with a company in Abu Dhabi, and has been sharing an apartment with his friends in Dubai, was quite elated to hear the new rule.
“It is good that they have cancelled the tenancy contract regulation… it is so tough for us who earn only Dh6000 per month to rent an apartment in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. I am very happy,” he added.
When contacted, Susan, who shares a Shoreline apartment in Palm Jumeirah, says: “I am relieved now. Since the announcement of the new rule, I wasn’t certain as to what I should do as my visa renewal comes in December. Now, I can peacefully enjoy the bliss on the Palm.”
She had told this website following the new rule that she could not afford to pay the full rent of an apartment on Shoreline and hence was sharing it with two other people.
It was reported on June 6 that expatriates seeking to renew their visas in Abu Dhabi must now submit a copy of their housing rent contract to immigration authorities as part of new terms enforced by the Ministry of Interior.
Foreigners residing in Abu Dhabi as well as those who work in the capital and live in other emirates must also present a rent copy along with other documents required for their visa extension, the semi official Arabic language daily Alitthad said, quoting Major General Nassir Al Minhali, Ministry of Interior assistant undersecretary for naturalization and residence.
“All expatriates in the UAE are now required to submit a copy of their house rent contract when they want to have their visa renewed…they should also present valid water or power bills to support that contract,” he said.
On June 7, it was confirmed that people sharing accommodation will not be allowed to renew their residence visa.
The news of the revised tenancy contract has evoked immediate reactions from UAE residents. Following the decision to cancel the rule that would have made tenancy contract mandatory for renewal of residency visas, K C Moideen, who works in an automobile company in Abu Dhabi, said he shares a two-bedroom apartment with another Indian family. “This is a welcome decision. I have been sharing my apartment for almost an year-and-a-half now. It would have been cruel if I had to send my wife back to India because of this new decision. The tenancy contract of the house is not in my name,” he said.
Rasheed Mohammed, married for almost three years, said he has plans to bring his wife on residency. “Currently, I am living in a bachelors accommodation. There is no way I can afford an independent apartment at present. The rents here are high. If the decision has been withdrawn it is great news,” said Mohammed who planned to bring his wife later this year. “She has completed her BSc in accounts. I am planning to find her a job here,” he added.
Tecom resident, Dilip Sahani said: “With rents in Dubai still averaging on the higher side, it is difficult to sustain a place on your own, which is why I took on a roommate. However, the tenancy contract law has made it difficult for my roommate to bring down his family and I have to step up every single time to help him out.
“I hope that Dubai also follows in Abu Dhabi's footsteps and makes it easier for the average individual here to afford a sustainable lifestyle.”
Karama resident and real estate consultant, C R stated: “There are ways around this rule, which a lot of people have been practising for a while. We've had incidences where we've issued temporary tenancy contracts and utility bills of empty apartments with the consent of clients, just to allow families to enter the UAE of those who reside in sharing accommodation.
“I am not saying this is ethical, but I am saying that people do get desperate to be with family and you sometimes bend over backwards to help them. Dubai should eradicate this law just on humanitarian grounds.”