Aldwin Dekkers, Deputy Commissioner-General, Kingdom of Belgium, became the first envoy from a participating country in the Expo 2020 to be issued with an establishment card.
Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Bureau Expo Dubai 2020, and Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, GDRFA, handed over the establishment card to Dekkers.
Minister Al Hashemy praised the efforts of Dubai's GDRFA and its continued support for facilitating the participation of various countries in Expo 2020 in line with the slogan ‘Connecting the Minds, Creating the Future’.
She stressed the importance of the role of government entities in supporting this national project and its contribution to preparations for the global event, adding that the concerted efforts of all governmental institutions at both federal and local levels are critical in the organisation of an exceptional World Expo worthy of the UAE.
The card was issued in the presence of Najeeb Al Ali, Executive Director of Expo Dubai 2020 Bureau; Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai; Col. Dr. Omar Al Shamsi, Assistant Director-General of Entry and Residency Permits Sector in GDRFA Dubai; Maj. Salam bin Ali, the General Coordinator of Expo 2020 in GDRFA Dubai, and a number of officials from both parties.
Maj. Gen. Al Marri said that GDRFA Dubai is working to facilitate the entry and the exit procedures of Expo 2020 Dubai participants with smart systems. Participants can obtain various types of visas through this smart platform within seconds of completing all documentation, and establishment cards can be issued electronically within a few minutes of the submission of an application, he added.
He said that following the UAE's successful bid for the event, GDRFA Dubai formed an integrated core team comprising of a higher committee under the follow-up of Maj. Gen. Obaid Muhair Bin Suroor, supported by an executive committee headed by Brig. Talal Al Shanqeti, the Assistant Director-General of Airports Affairs and Col. Dr. Omar Al Shamsi.
Al Marri noted that GDRFA Dubai is gearing up to process 45,000 transactions per day. All applications will be processed through Artificial Intelligence systems, he added.
Nearly 25 million visitors are expected to visit the Expo 2020 between October 2020 and April 2021, with more than 70 percent of visitors coming from outside the UAE. It is also the first world expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and the largest event of its kind in the Arab world with nearly 192 countries having confirmed their participation.