The decision was taken following the crash of a "visa" flight on Tuesday, killing 43 people.

  

The announcement in the name of President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan was to "facilitate procedures" for foreigners seeking to convert visit visas.

  

Applicants would pay a fee, to be fixed later, rather than have to fly out for a day in order to change their status.

  

The old process involved thousands of people taking a plane to neighbouring countries, usually Qatar, or Iran's Gulf island of Kish, which lies 200 km from Dubai.

  

Similar measures

 

Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai's crown prince and UAE defence minister, has implemented similar measures in Dubai, one of seven members of the UAE federation, news reports said.

  

On Tuesday, an Iranian Kish Airlines plane crashed in neighbouring Sharjah and only three people survived.

  

The flight from Kish was operated by Kish Airlines which is used particularly by Iranian tourists and Asian workers who have to leave the Emirates briefly to obtain new visas.

  

The passenger list, given by the head of Sharjah's civil aviation authority, Abdul Wahab Muhammad al-Roomi, included 13 Indians, four Egyptians, two Algerians, four Filipinos, one Bangladeshi, one Cameroonian, two Nepalese, one Kenyan and one Sudanese.

  

The remainder were 16 Iranians, including the six crew members, and one UAE national, while an Iranian, an Egyptian and a Filipino survived.