The whole process can be done without ever needing to visit a service centre

The UAE has launched a new smart services system which lets you apply for entry permits and residency visas online.

The new system, called “E-channels”, means you no longer have to visit a typing office or customer service centre. You just have to register on the website, and select your required service – which should be able to be done within 10 minutes.

Using the service, UAE nationals can sponsor individuals, GCC citizens can apply for new visa permits, and UAE residents can apply for new visas, as well as renew or cancel existing ones. You can also pay for your visa through the website.

*The UAE has said it will halve the time it takes to process a residence visa*

According to WAM, the official state news agency, the new system “will guarantee speed and accuracy in the visa and residence permits issuing process, and will eliminate the need for its users to go in person to service centres throughout the UAE”.

Perhaps best of all – it will also remove the requirement for hard copies of documents.

The idea is that it will reduce the need for customers to visit government centres by up to 80 per cent by 2018, and will include new features not available in any other countries, such as the ability to read official documents electronically and use fingerprint scanning for identification.

Considering how much of headache applying for and renewing a visa can be, these changes are certainly welcome.

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Image: getty