Immigration is the backbone of the UAE economy. And when immigration is of such importance to a country as it is to the UAE, ensuring a smooth entry and visa process is in everyone’s interests.
That’s why the UAE has spent years perfecting its immigration process to offer a seamless, largely online service to those wishing to work and reside in the country.
A huge part of this is the country’s e-channel system. Having shuttered the traditional FAWRI immigration system in 2017, the Ministry of Interior joined forces with Tahaluf Al Emarat Technical Solutions to develop an electronic system that allows establishments, typing centres, and individuals to apply for residency and immigration services.
The system was launched as part of the UAE 2021 vision and unified the UAE’s immigration processes allowing both businesses and individuals to apply for visas, residence permits, and entry permits online through an easy-to-use portal without lengthy visits to immigrations offices.
At the time of launch, Colonel Mansour Ahmed Al Dhaheri, Director-General of the Residence and Foreigners Affairs Directorate in Abu Dhabi declared that: “This system is being implemented under the framework of the ministry’s efforts to guarantee the delivery of the best services and achieve the UAE Vision 2021”.
In the years since, e-channel has done just that, improving the speed and efficiency of the immigration and visa application process for all involved.
If you’re looking to work or live in the UAE, you will need to be familiar with the process. With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide to the system from registration to application.
What is the e-channel UAE system?
Put simply, the e-channel UAE system is an online portal making it easy to make any immigration related applications online.
The system removes the need for in-person visits to typing centres and makes the whole process faster and less complex.
The system is open to both individuals making their own applications and sponsoring others, as well as businesses handling immigration procedures on behalf of employees.
E-channel registration in the UAE
Anyone wishing to use make use of the e-channel system must register with the portal. E-channel registration in the UAE can be done either by visiting a typing centre, or via the e-channel website.
When carrying out e-channel registration in the UAE online, first select either individual or establishment as required. Once you have selected, click ‘Registration’. Now, the registration process begins:
- First, enter your email address. Next, check your inbox for a confirmation email from the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
- Follow the instructions in your MoI email, fill out your details and then click ‘Complete Registration’.
- That’s it. All that’s left to do is wait for final confirmation to be emailed to your registered email address.
What is the e-channel process?
Once registered you can start making use of the e-channel services straight away. To make an application:
Select the service or action that you require.
- Click ‘Start Service’
- Fill out relevant details as requested.
- Upload any necessary documents – passport copies, photos, medical records etc.
- Review your application.
- Make the required payment.
- Receive email confirmation.
From within the portal, companies, free zones and other establishments can check the status of an existing application and upload documents for immigration purposes.
As well as new visa applications, e-channels can also be used to renew or cancel existing visas, apply for sponsored visas for dependants, and apply for residence and visitor permits.
Benefits of the e-channel
There are numerous benefits to the e-channel immigration system. Arguably the most notable advantage of the new system is that the majority of the immigration and visa process can now take place online.
As all required documents such as passports, ID cards, medical records and the like can be scanned and uploaded through the portal, the hassle of physically visiting an immigration office has been removed.
Bringing immigration services together into a single online portal also makes it far easier to track the status of in-process applications.
The process is also beneficial to the MoI. As applications now take place online, the administrative burden on the ministry has been drastically reduced.
The e-channel registration fee consists of two parts, a refundable security deposit of AED 5,025 and an initial registration fee of AED 2,300. On top of this there is also an annual renewal fee, payment fees and MoI fees.
The total cost of e-channel services will vary depending on the licensing authority you are applying to. As a general rule of thumb, e-channel registration fees break down as follows:
New application request: AED 2,310
Security deposit: REFUNDABLE upon cancellation of trade license / establishment card: AED 5,276.25
Total fee | E-channel registration: AED 7,586.25
All prices are inclusive of VAT.
Accessing e-channel services
If you’re armed with the right knowledge, making use of e-channel services in the UAE doesn’t have to be overly complex.
That being said, registering and accessing services does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.
To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ) when making any immigration request in the UAE.
We are a team of company setup professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.
As well as handling your immigration needs, here at BIZ, we can also assist with company formation, the opening of corporate bank accounts, and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.
We also offer a range of visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visas applications that are required to live, work and trade in the UAE.
In short, our experts can handle any government application on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with less time-consuming tasks.