Starting from next month, there will be major changes to the UAE's visa system in the shape of a new requirement for incoming expat workers to prove they do not have a criminal record, either in their country of origin or a previous country of residence.
Authorities announced the strict new security checks this week, and from February 4 this year all those seeking a UAE work visa will need to secure a "good conduct and behaviour" certificate.
As The National reported on Tuesday, the aim is to help safeguard the country's national security and create a safer community.
As details continue to emerge, we take a look at how to obtain a criminal record check from five key countries.
The National Police Chief's Council provides citizens who are looking to emigrate with a police certificate from the ACRO Criminal Records Office. The certificate contains the details of any previous convictions, as well as impending prosecutions and offences that are under investigation.
British citizens are able to apply online through the website www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates, which is the fastest route, or by post. They will have to fill in an application form with the expected response time two working days for the premium service, and 10 working days for the standard service.
The certificate can then be given directly to an employer or immigration department.
Citizens can obtain a certificate of "good conduct" or "lack of a criminal record" for a number of reasons for use abroad, including adoption, school attendance and employment, among others.
Americans can visit their local police department or request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) either an FBI Identification Record or proof that a record does not exist. A written request must be sent to the Criminal Justice Information Services division at the FBI, along with proof of identity, a set of fingerprints, which can be taken at local police departments, and a certified cheque or money order for the processing fee.
Citizens can apply online through the Ministry of Justice's website www.cjn.justice.gouv.fr. They will have different options depending on their place of birth and whether they are in or out of the country, each of which will require them to fill out an application form. They will also be able to choose how many copies of the document they require, free of charge. The document will contain criminal offences and will be sent back by post.
Citizens can apply online through the website of the Ministry of External Affairs' Consular, Passport and Visa Division https://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/pccOnlineApp. They will have to register through the Passport Seva online portal and click the "apply for a police clearance certificate" link. After entering the required details and submitting the form, they will be asked to make an online payment in order to be able to book an appointment at a passport office. Citizens will have to take their original documents to the chosen passport office.
Only emergency or medical cases, as well as preapproved case types, are allowed to visit an office without an appointment.
Dependent on the state in which the citizens live, they can also visit police authorities to receive the document.
The country's federal police can provide National Police Checks for residents of the Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory and external Commonwealth territories. The document can be used for those seeking employment with the Commonwealth government, those requiring a check under Commonwealth legislation and for Australian immigration purposes, as well as for overseas employment, adoption and visa applications.
All other applicants are required to contact the criminal records section of their relevant State or Territory police service.
Fingerprint checks may be required for legal or regulatory purposes, which will take additional time and fees to process.
Australian citizens can apply online or download a form to complete and print before submitting it via the post. Each application costs around AUD$42, or up to $139 for a fingerprint submission. Processing time is around 15 working days from receipt and around 30 working days for applications that include fingerprints.
New visa certificate Q&A
What are the new regulations?
All residents seeking a new work visa will from February need a "good conduct and behaviour certificate" covering the last five years.
Who will be affected?
Those seeking a UAE work visa.
What is the aim of the certificate?
To help safeguard the country's national security and ensure a safe living environment.
Who is exempt?
Sponsored family members and tourists.
If I am already living in the UAE, do I still need to apply for a certificate?
It was announced that the rules would apply to every new visa. Long-term residents of the UAE seeking a new visa can apply to Dubai Police or Abu Dhabi Police for a certificate.
What if I have been living outside my country of citizenship before arriving in the UAE?
You will still need to get a certificate from the country you have been resident in.