- Suspension of visit visas for some countries
- Tourist visa grace period extension
- New grace period for visas expiring after March 1, 2020
- Grace period for visas expiring before March 1, 2020
- Exception for cancelled visa holders
- Announcement for UAE residents
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people have been reaching out to us, with queries regarding the validity of their visa status, policy for renewal and cancellation of visa in the UAE. As the situation stabilises in the country, new visa rules in the UAE have been announced. Take a look below at the latest updates on tourist and residency visas in the UAE.
Current updates on tourist and residency visas in the UAE
Gradually, things are returning to normalcy in the country, so it’s not surprising that the government has issued some new visa rules in the UAE.
Temporary Suspension of Visit Visas for Twelve Countries
On 18th November 2020, the UAE government has announced the temporary suspension of visit visas for twelve countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Kenya. This step is believed to be taken to prevent the second wave of Covid-19.
Grace period extension for expired tourist visa holders in Dubai
On 10 August 2020, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, ICA, announced the extension of the deadline for expired tourist visa holders in the country for an additional 30 days from the previously announced deadline of August 11, 2020. This extension can only be applied for once. The process to do so has not yet been announced by ICA.
When the UAE first announced the visa regulations after international travel was impacted by COVID-19, the validity of tourist visas and entry permits had been extended until the end of December 2020. This was however amended in July 2020. On November 18, however, the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) reverted the amendment. Now, overstayers have a grace period until the end of this year (31st Dec 2020) to leave the country without paying fines.
Grace period for residency visas, entry permits and identity cards expiring after March 1, 2020
On Friday, 10 July 2020, the UAE Cabinet announced amendments to its recent decisions regarding the validity of residency visas, entry permits and ID Cards for residents inside and outside the country.
WHAT WAS THE LATEST UAE VISA RULES UPDATE ANNOUNCED BY THE CABINET?
The UAE Cabinet has approved the cancellation of several recent decisions related to the validity extension of the residency visa in the UAE for expats, as well as entry permits and identity cards.
The government had earlier announced that the validity of residency visas for expats within and outside the UAE, which have expired between March 1 and March 31, 2020, would be automatically extended until 31 December 2020.
These earlier UAE visa regulations have now been cancelled. This means that UAE residents, including GCC Nationals, whose residency visa in the UAE has expired after March 1, 2020, will not receive a residency extension until 31 December 2020. The Cabinet’s approval of the cancellation of the UAE visa extension came into effect on Saturday, 11 June 2020.
WHAT ARE THE NEW PROVISIONS FOR UAE RESIDENTS WHOSE VISAS HAVE EXPIRED AFTER MARCH 1, 2020?
As per the latest amendment to UAE visa rules, there are specific grace periods for UAE residents whose visas have expired after March 1, 2020, depending on whether they are located within or outside the country:
- UAE residents within the country will receive grace period until October 10, 2020, to renew their residency visa. This applies to residency visas in the UAE which expired between March 1 to July 11, 2020.
- UAE residents outside the country will receive a one-month grace period, effective from their date of entry into the UAE, to renew their residency visa. This applies to those residents who have spent less than six months outside the UAE.
- There is also a special grace period for UAE residents currently outside the country, whose visas have expired after March 1, 2020, or have spent more than six months outside the UAE, to return to the country. This will be effective from the date when flights resume between the two countries and will be determined by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).
WHEN CAN UAE RESIDENTS START RENEWING THEIR VISAS?
As per the latest guidelines, all UAE residents within the country whose visas have expired from March 1 and until July 11, have a grace period until October 10, 2020, to renew their residency visa. This is regardless of when their residency visa in the UAE expired after March 1.
For those whose residency visas will expire from July 12 onwards, they will have a grace period of 30 days to renew their visa.
Three-month grace period for visas expiring before March 1, 2020
Earlier, it was announced that anyone with a visit or residence visa which has expired before March 1, 2020, had a three-month grace period (starting from 18th May 2020) to return to their home country without paying fines.
However, as per a new directive by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) in August 2020, this grace period has been extended for another three months. According to the ICA, this is for all violators whose visas expired before March 1.
Thus, those whose residency or visit visa has expired before March 1 and have continued to stay in the UAE, now have until November 17, 2020, to exit the country and have their fines waived. They will also not be banned from reentering the UAE, should they leave within the specified grace period.
Exception for those with cancelled visas
Newborn babies and residents with cancelled visas are not subject to this three-month grace period policy until further notice.
There are two options available for those whose visas were cancelled after March 1, 2020. According to UAE visa rules after cancellation, such visa holders can approach the Amer centres to change their visa status to a visit visa while in the UAE, for immediate relief. Alternatively, those with cancelled visas can return to their home country.
It is also important to note that fines will be levied if they fail to change their visa status. The overstay fines for the first day will be AED 221 with an additional AED 25 for each consequent day.
Return of UAE residents stranded outside the country
According to a new announcement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship (ICA), UAE residents with valid residence visas can now return to the UAE. The ICA has, however, asked the residents to register for ‘Residents’ Entry Permit’ service on their website so they can assist them accordingly.
If my visa expired after March 1, am I eligible to stay in the UAE till December 2020?
No. As per the new visa rules in the UAE, all residency visas expiring after March 1 will not receive a validity extension till the end of December 2020. Instead, UAE residents within the country will receive a grace period until October 10, 2020, to renew their residency visa in the UAE.
Those outside the country will receive a one-month grace period, from the date they enter the UAE.
Will the ICA start charging fees for its services again?
As per the latest decisions and amendments announced by the UAE Cabinet, the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has been instructed to start collecting service fees and fines from Sunday, 12 July, onwards.
However, administrative fines shall be issued to those who cross the deadlines issued in the ICA’s latest update to UAE visa rules. Fines will not be collected during the exemption periods.
For how many days can I stay in the UAE after visa cancellation?
You have a 30 day grace period to leave the country and staying beyond that will make you liable to fines.
However, you also have an option to change your visa status to a tourist/visit visa while you are in the country, to stay for an additional period of time in the UAE. Make sure to change your visa status as soon as possible so you don’t have to pay any overstay fines.
However, this only applies if your residency visa in the UAE was cancelled after March 1, 2020.
How to cancel a residence visa in the UAE?
It is important to note that you cannot apply for visa cancellation process on your own; only your sponsor has the right to do so. However, if you hold an investor visa, you can initiate the visa cancellation process by yourself. To know more about the cancellation of residence visa, you can take a look at our guide to the visa cancellation process in the UAE.
For those whose visas have expired after March 1 and wish to leave the UAE, they must cancel their visas before October 10, 2020. They will then need to exit the country within the grace period mentioned on their visa cancellation papers.
How should I go back to my home country from the UAE?
Some airlines are offering outbound repatriation flights in the UAE. You may contact your concerned consulate or embassy to know more information about outbound flights.
How to check the status of residency visas in the UAE?
There are two ways to check residence visa status in the UAE. If you have a Dubai visa, you can visit the GDRFA portal and app while for other emirates, you can head on over to the Federal Authority for Identity & Citizenship website. To know the complete procedure, you can take a look at our guide on how to check visa status in the UAE. Please note that thee may be expected delays for the correct information to be updated after the new announcement.
Who to contact to get more information about my visa in the UAE?
For Dubai visas, you can reach out to Amer centres on the toll-free number, i.e. 800 5111 if you are living in the UAE or dial +971-4-313-9999 if you are outside the UAE. For other emirates, however, contact the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) on 600-522-222.
And that brings an end to our post about the latest updates pertaining to visas in the UAE. As more and more directives are issued, we will keep adding more information to the post, so stay tuned to MyBayut.
If you have any questions, share them in the comments section or reach out to us via our Facebook group.