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Issued by the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs-Dubai

Issued by the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs-Dubai

GDRFA services via Smartphones Apps before the deadline

Volume 1 Issue 1 May 2014

Volume 1 Issue 1 May 2014

Thermal Imaging making New visa policy boosts the world medical tourism safer

GDRFA services via Smartphones Apps The roadmap before the deadline to tomorrow’s


The roadmap New visa policy boosts to tomorrow’s travel medical tourism

Thermal Al Imaging Mohammed Marri: making the world safer

GDRFA in the forefront of Smart government initiative Mohammed Al Marri: GDRFA in the forefront of Smart government initiative

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Welcome Message

GDRFA Dubai in Digital Age T he General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) offers innovative technology to its clients.

The GDFRA presence in the digital age in reflected in our first-rate electronic services that are designed to transform the traditional public services in accordance with  today’s modern lifestyles. The GDRFA's inspiration to turn into e-Government comes from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.  Our core e-services are based on professionalism and renovating and developing our skills. We strive to keep individuals and companies connected with our high quality services through portable gadgets and smart phones, in both time and quality.  Our priority is to raise the level of public e-service and provide better customer service.   GDRFA is part of the Ministry of Interior and works as per the guidelines and instructions of H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of UAE and

Minister of the Interior to continuously develop services and systems that facilitate efficient e-services and smart services from planning, function, support and implementation. We offer electronic services to our clients and will put all our efforts to provide a wide range of high quality electronic services through safe electronic apps and portals, including SMS services or smart-phones applications. We started developing our services and e-services years ago at the GDRFA, we are focused on building the best and safest e-services through the electronic apps in cooperation and coordination with the government departments. GDRFA offers modern e-services that ensure quality and quick services. To develop IT process, it needs steps to be taken to make our e-services available to clients and to achieve that we are adopting e-services that are best technical systems and also to maintain development. Stepping ahead, GDRFA has been conducting leading e-service experiments to ensure the adoption of international and national best practices. 

Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 1

GDRFA Message


in History


October 1971 Pursuant to an order promulgated by the then Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, two departments were established: Central Immigration Department and Ports and Borders Department


October 1972 The two departments were merged with the UAE’s Ministry of Interior and Federal Law No. 17 concerning the naturalization and passports was promulgated.


1973 Federal Law No. (6) concerning Immigration and Residency was promulgated as the first law regulating the entry and residency of expatriates in United Arab Emirates.


1977 The two departments were merged and the new Department shifted to a building in the ministries complex


1982 The Administration shifted to the present building during the tenure of Colonel Mohammad Al-Ghaith


2003 The building was completely refurbished during the tenure of Brigadier General Saeed Bin Belaila


1999 Naturalization and Residency Administration, Dubai, established a branch at Hatta Fort


1995 Jebel Ali Port branch was inaugurated

2 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

Our Vision The UAE to become one the safest and most secure countries in the world.

Our Mission To work efficiently and effectively to enhance the quality of life for UAE society through security, transit, rehabilitation, residency services and secure the safety of lives and property.

Our Values t t t t t t t

Justice Work with team spirit Excellence Good cooperation Integrity Loyalty Social responsibility

Strategic objectives t Strengthening of security and safety t Ensure readiness and preparedness in disasters and crises t Enhancing public confidence in the effectiveness of the provided services t The optimal use of security information t Secure the provision of all administrative services in accordance with standards of quality, efficiency and transparency

To communicate with GDRFA: Location: Aljaffilya - Bur Dubai PO Box : UAE – Dubai 4333 Email: Toll Free Number: 04 3139999 - 8005111 Working Hours: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM GDRFA-Dubai http:// Dubai Airport Freezone Dubai Public Prosecution Dubai Municipality

Department of Economic Development Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing Land and Property Department


GDRFA News One million passengers used Terminal 2 in January and February


GDRFA DG meets Jumeirah Group CEO P5 GDRFA DG tips staff on 'positive 'energy P5

UAE News MoI departments achieve 4-star rating in Customer Services

P 16

Monthly newsletter issued by GDRFA-Dubai Honorary President

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Almarri

Ajman Residency to enhance its services P 16

General Supervision

MoI reveals 2014-2016 P 17 Strategy

General Coordinator

General Director of (GDRFA)

Brig. Obaid Muhair Bin Suroor Deputy Director of (GDRFA)

Captain Khalid Al Rahma

Editorial Consultant

New Technology

Ghassan Suleiman

A technology to make the world safer

Creative Manager

Mohammed Akram

Production, Marketing, Promotion and Advertising Nadd Al Shiba PR and Event Management Phone: + 9714 2566707 Fax: + 9714 2566704

Thermal imaging

P 20 New visa policy boosts medical tourism in Dubai

P 18



The roadmap to tomorrow’s travel

P 22 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 3


One million passengers used Terminal 2 in January and February A ccording to Major General Moham-

med Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, almost one million passengers went via Terminal 2 at Dubai Airport in two months the first of this year.  Major General Al Marri said during an inspection visit to Terminal 2 at the airport that in January and February this year a total of 972,604 passengers used the terminal.  During the inspection, Major General Al Marri visited the Smart gates at the arrivals and departures in addition to the units of the  personnel

affairs, planning and development, finance and performance monitoring and service management. Major General Al Marri said the team work within an integrated mechanism by the employees at the airport reflect positively on passengers and gives

great image about the country. Major General Al Marri urged officers at the passports control to give their best at work and to put more efforts and initiatives to serve the passengers in line with the aspirations of the leadership. 

Al Marri assures quality of services at seaports

M ajor General Mohammed Al Marri,

Director General, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai, thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for offering support and guidance to the General Directorate, in order to give the best performance and to serve society and the public, and to H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of UAE and Minister of Interior, for following-up on the ongoing efforts of the department and its performance. His remarks came during the annual inspection to the seaports in Dubai. During the inspection, Al Marri was

4 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

accompanied by Colonel Awad Mohammad Al Oym, Assistant Director General for Human and Financial Resources, and Colonel Hussein Ibrahim Ahmed, Assistant Director General for Sea Ports, and a number of officials.

He said that the country has become one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, pointing out that the high number of tourists coming through the seaports shows that the UAE is an important tourist destination in the world. 


GDRFA DG meets Jumeirah Group CEO

M ajor General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General GDRFA-Dubai, discussed issues of mutual interest with Ger-

ald Lawless, CEO of Jumeirah Group, the global hospitality chain, during a meeting at the headquarters.

They discussed ways to enhance and promote the relations between the two organisations. 

GDRFA DG tips staff on 'positive energy'

E mployees

of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) have been tipped on how to move on with “positive energy” in a lecture delivered by the GDRFA-Dubai

Director General, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri in April. This was his first presentation on the topic to the employees since the establishment of Positive Energy Department at GDRFA.

He listed a number of tips to achieve one’s goals stressing living with optimism, working as a team, appreciating others, and paving solutions for challenges rather than being an onlooker. “A challenge is not a problem, but it becomes one when you fail to look for its solution or when you administer a wrong solution to it,” he said. He also advised the staff to “initiate and modify what has been done other than repeating what has been already done by another. “You need to exercise your faculty of knowledge to bring out your ability,” he said, hastily adding that “extending charity to others costs you nothing. Respect others and smile at them, they will always reciprocate the smile.”  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 5


Swiss envoy calls on GDRFA official S witzerland’s

Consul General, His Excellency Walter Deplazes, at the end of tenure in Dubai, called on the GDRFA-Dubai Deputy Director General Brig. Obaid Muheir bin Suroor. During the meeting at the GDRFA-Dubai headquarters, the envoy reviewed bilateral relations between his country and the UAE in general and Dubai in particular. He thanked the GDRFA-Dubai for the support and cooperation extended to him during his stay in the country. In line with its commitment to build cooperation bridges with the diplomatic community in the UAE, GDRFA-Dubai senior management meets envoys and members of the diplomatic corps periodically. Brig. Obaid thanked the Swiss

diplomat for the role he played during his tenure in enhancing the bilateral relations. Walter Deplazes thanked the GDRFA-Dubai for

its role in facilitating an increasing flow of visitors to Dubai and contributing to the country’s growth and prosperity. 

GDRFA welcomes Chinese tourists T he General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Af-

fairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) welcomed over 3,000 Chinese tourists who arrived in the UAE recently via Dubai Airport. They were among the 16,000 Chinese tourists who arrived for a holiday sponsored by their employer to recongise their professional performance and reward them with a ten day vacation. Major General Mohammed Al Marri said: “We are proud and happy that the company and their employees have chosen the UAE for vacation and hope that their trip was memorable and enjoyabe.” H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took time off to spend some time with these Chinese visitors. 

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Why Manafez Dubai? W ith great achievements taking place in the UAE, it is

very important to document such accomplishments to make others know our tremendous efforts to build the country. Our journey towards excellence is inspired by the vision of our wise leadership and their faith that we have to be the first in field of borders control services. The launch of Manafez Dubai as our first publication is to highlight the challenges and rapid changes in borders control which plays a vital role in securing the country and supporting the national economy. The newsletter will provide valuable and new information about borders management. Under the guidance of Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Manafez Dubai aims to be the voice of the GDRFA-Dubai and to communicate with the public. Manafez Dubai reflects the success stories of the GDRFA-Dubai and highlights its contributions towards developing of borders control and management which enhances the country’s security and also to highlight the GDRFA-Dubai contributions to boost the standing of the UAE as a commercial and tourist destination. Manafez Dubai will be a reference point for borders control and management and is designed to benefit people who work in this field and also l provide information to those dealing with us. Manafez Dubai will be publishing news of the GDRFA-Dubai and its activities in addition to providing information about borders traffic movement. It will also include views of international experts on development of the technologies locally and internationally. Manafez Dubai will also address a range of topics of interest to people and the

society and offer research studies on security and safety such as forged passports, body language, human trafficking and money laundring. In addition to highlighting the activities of out strategic partners such as Dubai Airports, Dubai Customs and airlines, it will provide technical information on systems and devices used in borders control and management. Dear readers, the GDRFA-Dubai has put all efforts to improve the performance of its employees by training them to have more knowledge about their work and improve customer services and to communicate closely with public. Manafez Dubai will bring us more closer to our clients and keep them up to date about our services through the latest information about borders control and management around the world. We hope that Manafez Dubai will be useful for you as its contents have been well selected by a team which is working to give their best. I want you all to read this publication to make use of its information. Manafez Dubai is our first step. I wish the best for the editorial team which worked hard on this publication to make it one of its kind.

Obaid Moheir bin Suroor |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 7

Cover Story

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri 

GDRFA in the forefront of Smart government initiative M ajor General Mohammed Ahmed

Al Marri, Director General, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai), is leading from the front, as his department offers the best services to residents and visitors, while applying the best systems and best e-services.  Major General Al Marri’s inspiration comes from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. (Cover photo) In an exclusive interview with Manafez Dubai , Major General Al Marri said the GDRFA’s services and facilities would always seek smooth and easy processing of visa applications for tourists and visitors. The number keeps on growing and the GDRFA is proud to offer various services to public and to make its customers happy and feel at home. He said 267 electronic services are offered to the public,

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while the department will be totally ‘smart’ by the end of 2015. He also said the GDFRA was looking to achieve ‘zero counter clients’ at its headquarter and at all its external centers. Major General Al Marri aims to make customers happy and satisfied with the GDRFA’s smart, swift and hassle free services.

What is your strategy to implement the government’s vision of ‘happiest customers’? According to the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, all government departments must take customers’ satisfactions to the next level by making them happy and satisfied at the same time. This needs great efforts, our services must be smooth, easy, fast, and the most important thing it must be offered with kindness.

Cover Story

We achieved customers’ satisfaction and are looking to make them happy too  H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of UAE and Minister of Interior has ordered to solve all publics’ issues within the limits of the law. We are working towards improving our services all the time and I remember that since 1980, when I joined police forces in Dubai till this moment, the government is giving priority to the citizens and to the residents at the same time. All government departments are working to make Dubai a smart city, business hub and tourist destination.  I would like to add we care about our staff and employees satisfaction the same way we care about our clients. If the employees are happy they will be more productive. Ten years ago, we dreamed of issuing electronic visas, now we fulfilling our dreams and still looking for more to acheive.   We want our visitors to take a beautiful idea about Dubai when they leave and we will put all efforts to achieve that. Do you think you can reach this level? We already did despite all the challenges. We are training our staff and motivating them and

we encourage them to make customers happy. It makes me overjoyed  when I see customers satisfied and happy with our services. We need positive energy and a lot of confidence to make everyone happy. I will tell about you the hotline which was launched long time ago by us to receive customers’ complaints and suggestions. Our department was the one which initiated the hotline in the country and that hotline is giving us the opportunity to communicate with public and to listen to their ideas and that was really helpful in improving our services. Now we have a team who respond to the public, receive their complaints, inquires and suggestions which we use to make our services mush better. On the other hand, we make employees feel positive about themselves as this will be reflected and affect the work flow positively. Let me tell you that public complaints decreased a lot. We even want media to write about loopholes so we can benefit from them. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed once said there are no limits for excellence. We always have access to our leaders for guidance and support. What are your plans towards achieving Smart government? We are working at local and federal levels to achieve our vision towards smart government in order to fulfill our obligations to help government clients to have modern

and easy access to all government services. Also customers will be able to receive most of the government services via smartphone. Already smart government services are available for private companies and we are working on smart services to be available soon for individuals. We are confident to meet the deadline set by the government to finish the project on time.  However, there are few challenges and we are working to resolve as there are some services required customer’s presence to complete the transactions.  What is the GDRFA’s strategic plan to implement the Smart services? We are part of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and we implement the strategy of the MOI based on the clear vision and mission to make the UAE one of the best countries in terms of safety and security as our strategy is to transfer our services to electronic one. Our target, set by the MoI under the UAE Vision 2015, to make 98 per cent of government services Smart. Over the past five years, we increased the smart services from 65 per cent in 2007 to 96 per cent as of today. What were the processes and procedures taken to transfer regular services into smart services? In 2008, we started working on providing the services to the public to implement the UAE's long term vision. We searched for best practices and ideas and conducted custom|Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 9

Cover Story

120 Smart gates to be installed at Dubai airport in less than two years  er surveys, conferences and workshops related to security, border control and residency issues. We are constantly are upgrading our systems to meet our requirements. We have implemented Advance Passenger Information (API) programme at Dubai airports. We have Smart gates that facilitate easy flow of passengers at the airport and allow completion of passport control procedures in 16 seconds. We are improving our links with Interpol to improve our safety and security capabilities. What is the progress on the Smart Gate project? We are planning to replace 100 e-Gates in phases in Dubai and Al Maktoum Airports with Smart gates. Also, there are plans to install 120 Smart Gates gradually to handle the rising numbers of passengers at Dubai International Airport which handled 66.4 million passengers last year. The Smart Gate project will be implemented in cooperation with Dubai Airports and Dubai Aviation City Corporation. More than 5.3 million passengers used the Smart Gates at Dubai airports in 2013. People can replace their eGate cards with Smart Gate cards. About 700,000 people have 10 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

registered so far for Smart Gate, of whom 300,000 are eGate card holders.

Dubai visitors rises 14 per cent since Expo 2020 host How many electronic services city was announced  are offered now by GDRFRA? We have 267 electronic services available as of now and we completed 11.6 million transactions in 2013. Our department offers Smart visa to customers who can apply for such kind of visas through their smartphones. In 2013, we issued 980,000 electronic visas as against 350,000 electronic visas issued in 2012. A total of 6.4 million online transactions wher done in 2013 for companies compared to 5.2 million online transactions in 2012.  

What is the progress by GDRFA in linking the project with the strategic partners? We are coordinating with various government entities to integrate electronic links that allow customers to complete various transactions as medical test reports and labour electronic cards online without the need of printing papers to be submitted to the GDRFA which saves money and efforts, and above all prevent forgery.  Through

Cover Story

So, we are doing our best to give a good impression to visitors from the moment they land in Dubai. We show investors that we are here to serve them. We also work with Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Department of Economic Development, Lands Department, Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and Dubai Airports among others to attract more visitors, businessmen and investors. 

980,000 electronic visas were issued by the GDRFA in 2013 Takamul services, in cooperation with Ministry of Health, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Police, more than 607,000 Takamul transactions have been completed last year, compared to 449,000 transactions in 2012. The medical fitness certificate required to complete residency procedures are sent online by the Ministry of Health and DHA to GDRFA.

GDRFA is coordinating with Ministry of Labour to enable customers to complete required transactions online. A total of 336,000 transactions were completed in 2013, compared with 299,000 in 2012.  What is the role played by the GDRFA to attract investments in Dubai? We provide service to our clients that make them happy. It is well known that investors before starting investments in any place will go through the rules and regulations and if they found it simple and fair then they will establish their businesses.

Dubai population has reached 2.5 million? What does this increase in numbers means to you? It is great success that the population are growing and it will continue growing in Dubai because of excellent infrastructure in place which is ready to accommodate the expected increase in the number of residents and we are proud of the services we have been providing. We will not stop developing our work in all sectors to serve Dubai residents. How GDRFA handles the increased visa requests? As I said before, we are ahead in our journey of excellence. We have specialized development teams in various domains like IT, Human Resources and Training, and our infrastructure is strong and equipped to handle large volume of business. Any plans to renovate the building of the GDFRA in order to serve more customers? |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 11

Cover Story

607,000 transactions for Takamul service

336,000 transactions for Tabadul service

267 electronic services introduced by the GDRFA 

We want to see the convenience of our customers doing their transactions while at home without need for them to come and wait in the building to complete their transactions.  

fication to obtain visitors satisfactions.

them to be excellent and distinguished.

What preparations have you taken for Expo 2020? From the day Dubai was chosen to host the Expo 2020, we started developing our potential by facilitating the entry of travelers at all ports. We are also simplifying and reducing the necessary measures to facilitate the entry of visitors.

We believe that our staff is the first point of contact for people coming to Dubai and that they should be the best.

Do you think Dubai government will take similar steps as the British government to issue a Golden Visa for businessmen? The Ministry of Interior is studying the proposal to issue a Golden Visa for businessmen and we are looking to implement it at the federal level. As I said the future will be different, and things are subject to changes and modi12 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

Do you expect increase the number of employees? As long as there in need to hire new staff we will not stop the process. Our goal is to have the best employees and train

When do you expect the next batch of employees joining GDRFA? We expect to hire 300 people in 2014. They will be trained and placed across different departments in GDRFA over aperiod of nine months to be introduced and trained in all aspects of our operations in the various departments with special emphasis in security

Cover Story

6.4 million electronic transactions done by companies

11.6 million transactions done by the GDRFA in 2013

procedures and customer services. 

At GDRFA, we learn from Sheikh Mohammed to be humble, gracious and patient. Also, as the staff in public service, we have to absorb the anger of the client, and treat them politely with good words and action.

How does GDRFA maintains the open-door policy pursued by late Sheikh Rashid and continued by HH Sheikh Mohammed, for both employees and customers? Today, we are maintaining the open door policy by following the footsteps of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed who does follow-up on daily basis to make sure that everything is in place for all UAE citizens and residents.

What is the outcome of this approach? If the employees feel the confidence of the management, they will begin watching themselves, and they will be working sincerely with dedication because they feel responsible.

Almost 57 million transactions were completed by the GDRFA in 2013 compared to 49 million transactions in 2012 with 5.14 per cent increase. The number of entry permits issued last year was 12,711, 412 while the number of residency visa transactions was almost 4 million while the follow up on illegals transactions completed last year was 264,759 while travelers transactions completed last year was 40,578,776, with increase of 6.13 percent from 2012.

It is always the management responsibility to create the positive energy. Here we have a wonderful positive energy which comes from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. I myself drew positive energy from his power and reflect it on my employees. When it comes to female employees, we believe that they should have the opportunity and means to develop their personality and careers. We should bear in mind that 99 per cent of employees in GDRFA’s service halls are women. Women can be innovative if they are entrusted with confidence, and if they are given enough time to care for their families and children. If we deny her the right to care about her children,we should not expect her to care about the customer.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 13

Latest Development

GDRFA aims ‘zero counter’ clients 

GDRFA services via Smartphones Apps before the deadline T he General Directorate of Resi-

dency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) is working to make its e-services available to customers via Smartphone applications by end of this year, much ahead of the deadline set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the Smart Government initiative. In an exclusive interview with Manafez Dubai, Colonel Hussein Ibrahim, Assistant Director General of SeaPorts and Head of the Transition to Smart Services Projects, said the GDRFA-Dubai aims to have ‘zero counters’ which means zero visitors to the department.  The GDRFA will have all its services smart and it will be available through four smartphones systems, including Android, Blackberry and Windows, in phases. The department is coordinating directly with the manufacturers of smart-phones to avoid any possible loopholes and shortcomings and to find best ways to improve the services.

14 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

Can you tell us how the GDRFA implemented Sheikh Mohammed’s initiatives that the UAE must be number 1 in all sectors and domains? We are in front of great challenges to develop our services for better. We are working according to an integrated plan to transform into  e-services under the directions of Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA-Dubai. To achieve that, we formed a committee consisting of seven groups, each one to play specific role such identifying and defining the number of services, deployment of electronic services and research and development.

In addition to the quality control, a group is for logistics support and marketing and managerial documentation.  Major General Al Merri has asked for periodical reports to review the latest developments of the work.  What are the services that can be provided via Smart apps? A smart application does not only mean making payments electronically but it includes all the steps from the moment the customer visit our offices to submit an application. Secondly, we should differentiate between the services offered to companies and those offered to in-

Latest Development

GDRFA work is different from other government due to security issues dividuals. For companies, we have five different services including visa renewal, visa extension, tourist visa, work permits and reporting an absconding case. Registered companies can access the system via computers or smart-phones to use the e-services. We have individual customers who are registered for the first time to use the electronic forms at the typing center which can be read by the barcode readers. Those individuals can use the services which include reviewing the list of people under sponsorship, visa expiry date, and a transactions guide highlighting the services offered to the customers, procedures and documentations needed to obtain services and FAQs. There is also a service to communicate with the Director General should a customer have complaints or want to report a misuse in the domains under the GDRFA’s jurisdiction. From the start, we are very keen to begin the ‘easy’ services and then move on gradually to difficult ones. Our ultimate goal is to reach zero visitors and zero counters at the GDRFA offices. The more the quality of our applications improves the more we will come closer to our goal. Can you explain the mechanism of coordinaton of the GDRFADubai with the strategic partners? Achieving integration and working closely with our strategic partners and different government bodies is

a high priority for the Smart services project. We have direct links with police, labour  and health ministries, and in the near future we will have wide-range links with various other government bodies in order to maximize the benefit of Smart services. For example, a person who needs to renew his visa will not be required to come to our offices with the Medical test documents because the required report will be sent to us electronically, saving time and efforts and also making the service easier. Personal presence of customer will only be required in special cases that require update or modification to the documentation.    Do you expect some obstacles with the Smart services project's implementation? We should bear in mind that the technology is constantly chang-

ing and developing and we have to keep ourselves up to date with technology. We are in direct contact with representatives of different Smart-phones’ manufacturers to get feedback from them about the smart apps we are using. We are also in the process of providing the best software that enables our customers to easily upload the attachments required o complete transactions. We should remember that the nature of GDRFA’s work is different from other government due to security issues. Sometimes it is required that the customer should come personally to do the transactions for security reasons. That is the reason why our work is challenging when it comes to providing the Smart services. In fact, the GDRFA is investing hugely in modernizing and upgrading the IT system. It is no secret that upgrading process is going with the UAE Vision for 2015 to make Dubai a smart city. We hope that we will be able to provide services via Smart applications by the end of this year. What are the biggest challenges you are facing? We need to encourage the customers to use the electronic services. We have established a team for internal marketing tasked with explaining different aspects of Smart services to GDRFA officers to learn about it.However, we are keen to provide the same service to all our customers through different channels. For sure, people are becoming more and more familiar with dealing with smart technology and services as it is becoming part of everyone’s life.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 15

UAE News

MoI departments achieve 4-star rating in Customer Service T he Ministry of Interior (MoI) has

announced that four of its customer service centers have obtained a 4-star rating, as part of the Customer Service Centers Classification Project’s Stars Rating System. The centers are Customer Service Center at the Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs Department in Al Ain; Customer Service Center at the Traffic and Licensing Ser-

vices Department in Umm Al Quwain; Customer Service Center at the Residency and Foreigners Affairs Department in Ajman; and the Customer Service Center at the Civil Defense Station in Al Qusais, Dubai. The Customer Service Centers Classification Project, launched

by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai in 2011, aims to achieve a quantum leap in upgrading government services efficiency, on par with international standards. 

Ajman Residency to enhance its services I

n order to enhance the services offered to the customers at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Ajman, the GDRFA-Ajman Director General, Brigadier Mohammed Alwan, signed a contact with Ajman E-Services Company whose experiened and professional staff at the typing centers at GDRFA will offer more services in addition to providing typing for application forms. The new services include Empost stickers, fax, photocopying, Internet service and many other visa-related administrative services.

16 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

UAE to be among 180 countries for visa on arrival in India


Brigadier Alwan said the contract has come into effect and that the new business centers at the GDRFA-Ajman will be under a trial period for six months from the date of contract signing. 

ndia’s decision to ease visaon-arrival facility for 180 countries is seen as a welcome step by the travel and tourism industry in the UAE, but a final decision regarding the inclusion of the UAE on the list of visa-free countries is still be to be notified by its Ministry of Home Affairs. A notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs is expected within six months and only such a notification. According to the Indian Tourism Ministry, India receives around six million tourists per year and the target is to double the figure by 2015. 

UAE News

Abu Dhabi Residency honours 60 people for excellence T he General Directorate of Residency

and Foreigners’ Affairs has honored 60 officers, non-commissioned officers, individuals, civilians, and female staff participating in the Ministry of Interior’s Management Excellence Award at a ceremony organized by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Abu Dhabi. Colonel Salim Ali Al Qattam Al Zaabi, Director General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Abu Dhabi, said the Ministry of Interior’s Excellence Award complements our approach and commitment to promoting the culture of quality and excellence. He added that the award encourages scientific research and security studies to keep up with development and modernization pursued by the ministry by using tech-

nology and modern systems in the areas of security work. He explained that the cycle of development and innovation can only be

completed through the qualified and highly trained human resources that can use and employ these technologies in the best way possible to improve the quality of police work. 

MoI reveals its 2014-2016 Strategy T he

Ministry of Interior (MoI) revealed its Strategy 2014-2016, along with the partnerships management mechanisms, suggestions system, knowledge strategy and green ap-

plications during the Ministry’s partners’ third meeting in Abu Dhabi. The meeting witnessed an intensive attendance of partners from ministries and governmental entities.

The meeting was attended by Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior for Resources and Support Services; alongside a number of high ranked employees in federal ministries, directors of strategy departments in local entities and departments in the UAE, and a large number of officers in the MoI. Major General Al Khaili stressed that the meeting is based on the Ministry’s keenness to promote and foster means of communications with its partners in order to identify their needs.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 17

Medical Tourism

New visa policy boosts medical tourism in Dubai A new visa policy introduced by the

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) is facilitating and supporting the growth of medical tourism in the emirate.

Overseas patients who wish to seek treatment in Dubai are now able to get a three-month medical tourist visa, extendable twice — up to nine consecutive months — according to the first phase of an initiative by the GDRFA and Dubai Health Authority (DHA). After signing the agreement, Major General Mohammad Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the GDRFA, said: “We are keen to extend our cooperation in this regard and the two entities will work together to provide high quality services to support and facilitate the medical tourism initiative in Dubai.” DHA Director General Essa Al Haj Al Maidoor said: “This agreement with help both parties work together to ensure we strengthen this initiative and provide utmost convenience to overseas patients who are keen to visit Dubai for medical purposes.” The Dubai-specific initiative is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al 18 |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ |

Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, to push the medical tourism vision for the emirate. Currently, only hospitals with international accreditation like the Joint Commission International (JCI) and those in the process of securing one will be eligible. The JCI is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which accredits and certifies health care providers and programmes that achieves the highest quality, best-value health care across all settings. In the UAE, several top health care units like Dubai Hospital and Imperial College London Diabetes Centre have this distinction. For medical tourism visas, the DHA and GDRFA have designed a process for hospitals to comply with. Hospitals have to apply for a ‘facility establishment card’ — a requirement by the GDRFA, to apply for the medical tourist visa. The card has hospital details including the number of employees.

Overseas patients who wish to seek treatment in Dubai are now able to get a threemonth medical tourist visa, extendable twice — up to nine consecutive months

Medical Tourism

Most medical tourists to Dubai are from the GCC and the wider region; as well as people from countries including Libya, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Tunisia, India, Pakistan, and Russia. Part of the initiative is to persuade UAE residents to stay home to get treated, rather than go overseas, and that is beginning to work as the number of UAE based patients were up 12 per cent in 2012.

Hospitals are required to apply for a ‘treatment visa service quota’ from the DHA. This type of visa has been in place since 2008 and issued to hospitals that sponsor patients and their accompanying family members. The patient needs to get a medical report attested by the UAE consulate in his or her residing country; this report needs to be submitted by the hospital along with the other documents. Officials of the DHA and GDRFA met with private health sector hospitals to provide them with the guidelines and requirements for sponsoring medical tourism visas. In 2012, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said everything possible will be done to finally deliver on the

medical tourism investment that has been made for the last five years. Part of the initiative is encouraging global healthcare providers to set up businesses and increasing both government and private investment in healthcare. DHA has completed a comprehensive capacity survey of public and private healthcare facilities in Dubai under the Dubai Clinical Services Capacity Plan (DCSCP) 2020. Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) estimates that 15 per cent of its patients are medical tourists, and that the number of inbound medical tourists in Dubai was up 10 to15 per cent in 2012. But growth for 2013 to 2015 is expected to be lower at 7.2 per cent a year. DHCC states that it attracted 410,000 patients in 2010, and 502,000 in 2011. Estimates for 2012 are at around 550,000.

DHA believes that by the end of the decade the number of medical tourists receiving treatment here will be in the millions annually. It estimates that their numbers to increase 1015 per cent each year. DHCC is planning to create new specialist centres to enhance the city’s appeal, while DHA has announced plans to build additional hospitals and clinics to strengthen healthcare delivery. Dubai’s medical tourism plans are now expected to be calibrated with the Dubai Expo 2020 infrastructure development, which will further help position it as a medical tourism destination of some standing. Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) which was launched in 2002 has more than 3,700 licensed healthcare professionals, 120 internationally acclaimed medical centres, and 90 specialities. The Economic Intelligence Unit calculates the UAE’s healthcare spending to rise to a whopping $16.8 billion by 2015. The UAE is among the world’s top 20 destinations for medical tourism, according to a health tourism survey that has also revealed that the industry has yet to reach its full potential. The survey done by a UAE-based health travel consultant has revealed that 94 per cent of medical tourism industry insiders believe their sector has yet to reach its full potential.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 19

New Technology

Thermal imaging

A technology to make the world safer O ne of the technologies that have been immensely helping the immi-

gration, border control and security authorities in many parts of the world, including the UAE, is thermal imaging. With illegal immigrants, human traffickers and drug smugglers finding new and creative ways to cross the borders, it is becoming increasingly challenging for the security authorities to improve their technological advantages. Thermal imaging cameras have been helping the authorities in dealing with illegal cross-border immigration, especially in countries which have porous borders and open seaports. Some countries are bordered by thousands of kilometers of coastline. Thermal imaging cameras can be used to intercept illegal immigrants or to detect other threats coming from the sea. Thanks to their ability to detect human-sized targets several kilometers away, thermal imaging cameras are extremely suited for border surveillance and protection. Some thermal imaging cameras can detect human-sized targets at a distance of practically 20 kilometers away. It is, however, very challenging to detect potential intruders or smugglers in total darkness or in diverse weather conditions. Thermal imaging cameras can help border control professionals to meet the demands they face.

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In a study, the Netherlands-based FLIR Commercial Vision Systems has asserted that a lot of technologies that are quite common today have their origin in military applications, including the thermal imaging. Since it is able to produce a clear image in total darkness, thermal imaging technology provides the ability to see and target opposing forces through the darkest of nights. Thermal imaging cameras can see through light fog, rain and snow. They also have the ability to see through smoke which made them even more interesting for the military since they can see across a smoke-covered battleground. The first infrared camera for commercial applications was developed in 1965. It was used for power line inspections. It took until 1973 until the first “portable” battery operated infrared camera was introduced. The technology used at that point in time required that the camera was filled with liquid nitrogen to cool down the infrared detector integrated in the system. This lasted until 1985 when FLIR Systems introduced the first system not requiring liquid nitrogen to cool the

detector. Instead, a so called cry cooler was integrated. It needed to wait until 1997 until a thermal imaging camera with an uncooled detector, a so called micro bolometer, was brought to market. One of the major advantages of the microbolometer is that it has no moving parts and is therefore less susceptible to breakdowns. It is also less expensive to produce which allowed thermal imaging camera manufacturers to bring the price of their products down. One of the consequences of the increased production volume is a significant reduction in the price of a thermal imaging camera. Today, a thermal imaging camera can be purchased for a price of less than 3,000 euros. Although this may still seem expensive, it is a huge difference compared to the 50,000 euros about only six years ago. Now that volumes are going up and prices are coming down, more and more applications for thermal imaging cameras start to emerge. Installed in airplanes, thermal imaging is used as a landing aid. It can


help pilots by enhancing the ability to see terrain and other aircraft at long ranges, even in total darkness, light fog, dust and smoke. Firefighters have been using thermal imaging cameras for years in order to see in absolute darkness through smoke, as well as to detect hot spots in floors, walls and ceilings. The ability of thermal imaging cameras to see through smoke helps to saves lives. People can easily be located in a smoke-filled room. Thermal imaging is also making its way into more and more security and surveillance applications. Whereas it used to be the privilege of border patrols and other government related agencies to use a thermal imaging camera, today more and more industrial facilities are using the power of a thermal imager to protect their valuable assets and personnel. Terrorism, vandalism, and random violence threaten the safety of personnel and the integrity of public

and private facilities. A comprehensive security programme utilizing thermal imaging cameras is the key to asset protection and risk mitigation. Thermal imaging exposes threats hidden in the darkness, concealed by adverse weather, and veiled by obscurants like dust, fog, and smoke. Thermal imaging is also used by the police and other law enforcement agencies. It allows them to find and follow suspects in total darkness. Suspects cannot hide in bushes or shadows since their heat signature is easily picked up by a thermal imager. Human body temperature is a complex phenomenon. Man is homoeothermic, and produces heat, which must be lost to the environment. The interface between that heat production and the environment is the skin. This dynamic organ is constantly adjusting to balance the internal and external conditions, while meeting the physiologic demands of the body.


During the SARS outbreak a few years ago, thermal imaging cameras were widely used to prevent the spreading of this disease. Various countries set up thermal imaging cameras in airports to find people with an elevated body temperature. Once a person with potential SARS systems was detected, he was further screened by medical personnel. Undoubtedly, thermal imaging cameras will follow the same path as other products followed before. The equipment will become even compact, image quality will even further improve and more features will be implemented in the thermal cameras. As thermal imaging cameras are finding their way in more and more consumer oriented applications like driver vision enhancement and Home security, the interest for the product will rise, production volumes will go up and prices will come down.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 21

U InE Focus

SmartS replaces Checkpoint of the Future

The roadmap to tomorrow’s travel

I magine clearing airport security in a reasonable amount of time,

without the hassle of removing your shoes and avoiding the tedious task of taking your laptop out of its case and heaving it into a bin for inspection. Instead of suffering through a process that causes constant trepidation, you emerge from security screening with minimal inconvenience and your dignity intact. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been working to make that scenario a reality through its ambitious scheme, Checkpoint of the Future (COF), unveiled in 2011. COF’s goal is to create a security framework that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to procedures built on a risk-management approach supported by optimising and enhancing technology, improving data management, and using biometric identification and behavioural analysis to strengthen security screening, increase check-point operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience at screening checkpoints. In December 2013, the Airports Council International (ACI) and IATA have signed a MoU to develop Smart Security (SmartS) to better align their resources and expertise to improve the journey from kerb to boarding. It is hoped that passengers will be able to proceed through security checkpoints with minimal inconvenience; security resources will be allocated based on risk; and airport facilities are optimised.

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SmartS replaces the Checkpoint of the Future, reflecting the start of a new phase of pilot testing involving first generation checkpoints. Components of the concept has been tested individually since 2012 and now, under SmartS, several components will be tested together to see how they interact with one another in an operational environment. The renaming also signals the stronger ACIIATA collaboration together with the strong participation of governments and other key industry stakeholders. For airlines and airports this is also driven by the need to ensure compliance with regulations, while balancing the very real issue of efficiency. For passengers, the conversations are driven by long security lines, the complexity of rules and often invasive processes. Air traffic is also projected to continue to grow, with the problems and costs likely to increase accordingly. The Checkpoint of the Future concept details the considerations that the aviation community needs to address

in order to move away from the rigid and predictable “one-size-fits-all” approach that characterizes today’s passenger security screening environment to a risk based approach based on security outcomes, process improvement, and technology. The 2017 Checkpoint of the Future is focused on updating technologies and processes to increase the security value of the checkpoint, while maintaining a strong focus on customer service to enable greater passenger satisfaction. It includes some major advances in risk assessment, dynamically delivering a result to the checkpoint to enable greater automation and a better passenger experience. It envisages increased use of biometrics and remote image processing, coupled with advances in screening technologies and targeted algorithms to achieve less divesting and faster throughput. A passenger will have a level of security screening based on information from states of departure and arrival through bilateral risk assessments in real-time. In terms of the passenger experience, there will no longer be


the burden of divesting by default, and there are expected to be little to no queues as a result of the enhanced speed at which screening can occur. Since September 2011 terrorist attacks, passengers across the world airports have been subjected to increasingly wearisome and intrusive screening requirements ranging from shoe removal to restrictions on liquids in carry-ons and the unpopular X-ray scanners. In the IATA’s 2012 global passenger survey, travellers stated the most frustrating element of the security screening process is queuing time, followed by the removal of shoes and belts. “Our collective failure to get full buyin from air travellers means that they are not partners in the process, merely silent and sometimes intimidated and resentful participants,” remarked IATA Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler. Passenger angst only stands to be compounded by significant increases

in air traffic. Tyler remarks that more than three billion passengers will travel by air during 2013– roughly double the number of customers taking to the skies during 2001. “All forecasts point to another doubling by 2030”, he points out. IATA’s head honcho added: “Prior to September 2011 the average checkpoint processed 350 passengers per hour. Today it is below 150.” The IATA envisions its Checkpoint of the Future reaching fruition in 2020, but has laid a roadmap to conduct various trials that began in 2012 and continued into 2013. Starting in 2014, IATA’s scheme entails using some new procedures to introduce riskbased screening and repurposing some existing equipment to improve screening procedures. IATA worked with partners to test the use of biometrics in Geneva to identify passengers before they reached a checkpoint. Tests at Geneva and London Heathrow entailed using technology to determine if a passenger’s identity could be confirmed before


security, and the trials in Amsterdam used equipment to screen liquids and computers in carry-on bags. The IATA plans to trial roughly six CoF components including testing alternative measures of risk assessment and behaviour analysis, improving checkpoint staffing and remote image screening. Airports that have committed to testing are Amsterdam, Heathrow and London Gatwick. IATA hopes to partner with an airport in the Middle East for testing and possibly Sydney, along with a couple of South American airports, to spread out the testing globally. Putting Checkpoint of the Future’s concepts into practice also requires a candid assessment of the potential costs of the programme. Tony Tyler points out: “We are spending a lot of money – some US$8.4 billion a year and rising – to support a security system that has grown exponentially since 2001. And this is just what airlines spend”.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 23

opinion column

Smart airports need smart travellers airport industry conference, A tthea recent visitors got a glimpse of the

technological transformation sweeping our travel world. Advanced baggage handling systems, drop-in luggage, remote check-in, elegant displays, terminal design and furniture and next generation screening systems. A conference in Munich discussed Smart Airports – a kind of a derivate from smart phones. The time when airports concentrated only on terminal buildings and the handling of aircraft is history – or past perfect.

Dieter A Heinz President

German Association for Airport Technology and Equipment (GATE)

Airports now realise that they have to care about the customers (so far they have been only considered as passengers) in the new world of airport competition. There were times when it seemed airports were built only for welltrained mid-age business people with an IQ beyond 130, travelling alone and carrying not more luggage than an Admirals Club Card. The profile of passengers has changed dramatically in numbers and characters – families, back-packers and elderly people, workers and managers, business and pleasure mingle. Airports are only successful if they make all of them content, if not happy, but the stress-free airport remains unattainable. The overall growth of aviation and the increasing number of passengers, routes and low-airline fares as well as intense competition are forcing airports to expand. In many destinations, there is an uncertainty of mass transportation and

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lack of infrastructure and consequently the prolonged time of stay at airport facilities. And all of them want to be treated nicely! Does this come with more automation? With more IT check-in and drop in luggage? With more displays, queues, checks, security measures? Nobody around to help, to smile, to handle my case, help me with my ticket? Meet my friends? Tell me the time and distance to my gate? Make me confident of my moves and time? Do all the smart machines, displays and frequent travelers ignore my presence and uncertainty? So, smart airports need smart travellers! Are we back to zero, to the preferred passenger, the multilingual guy with no family but a golden credit card, are we? And from where do we get the relaxed passengers to fill our aircraft, to eat all the hamburgers and shop the goods from duty free? I am convinced that the industry will continue to grow – I only listed this scenario to make all who are concerned aware not to throw all apples in one basket. I am very much in favour of advanced, helpful and convenient developments of airports towards a more stressless situation for all and I am more than prepared to enjoy it – but it must be of quality and convenience, it must have the image of a friendly smile and not replace it. Than it stays in my mind and I’ll come back. 

opinion column

Facilitate swift and secure border crossings W hile efforts are being made to simplify

the travel journey, work continues by States to balance the integrity of their borders with the identification and facilitation of travelers against a backdrop of anticipated growth in international aviation traffic. The requirement to facilitate swift and secure border crossings will continue to rise significantly. Global passenger traffic is expected to increase on average by 5.3 per cent annually over the coming years. And even more in the Gulf and Dubai with its target of 20 million tourists by 2020. The traditional airport border control system will not be able to cope with these numbers. And increasing the number of border guards alone is not a viable option. A new way of welcoming passengers is needed. Moreover, long queues at airports present a poor image to visitors and queuing time is one of their biggest concerns. Increasing throughput capacity is vital for border control authorities, airlines and airport operators. New technologies can be used not only to increase security but also to enhance convenience. The rapid increase in the number of electronic machine readable travel documents (MRTDs) containing biometric data facilitates innovative automation concepts and enables integrated secure processes at borders that rely on machine-assisted control. An Automated Border Control (ABC) system, such as the e-Gate at Dubai International Airport, can improve the management and control of travel flows at the border by reinforcing controls while speeding up border

crossing of regular travelers. This enables border guards to cope with the ever-rising number of border crossings without compromising security and focus more time on potentially higher risk travelers. A number of governments are targeting more than 50 per cent of passengers using ABCs. ABCs are becoming the main method of processing passengers through border control. Many governments are allowing citizens from other countries to use their ABC system. In the EU, it has become the norm for any EU citizen to be able to use the ABC system of any EU country. Elsewhere many bilateral agreements between individual States are being signed or are in operation. These are likely to be members of a Registered Traveler Scheme.

Michael Herrero

Manager, Gulf Area IATA

Border agencies, such as General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai), can use the state-of-the-art technology (biometrics, surveillance, digital ID, frequent traveler programs etc.), to facilitate centralized intelligence gathering, improve the quality of information, enable more targeted control and enhance immigration system integrity. IATA is working to reach the full potential of ABC through the authentication of the identity and integration with other systems, both inside the airport and with other government operations, allowing for example to automate the differentiation of passengers for security purposes and control security access, as well as other interaction points, e.g. bag drop, boarding, etc.  |Manafez Dubai |May ٢٠١٤ | 25

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