New rules for visa extensions in UAE: All you need to know to avoid heavy fines

If you hold UAE residency visa that has expired after July 12, 2020, then a normal renewal process should resume

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. UAE entry stamp on passport.

Image used for illustrative purpose. UAE entry stamp on passport.

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On July 11, 2020, the United Arab Emirates Cabinet announced the cancellation of its previous decision related to the validity of visas and entry permits for those inside the UAE from March 1, until the end of December 2020.

The decision to extend the validity of Emirates ID cards until the end of December 2020, is also cancelled.

Jessica Ashford, deputy CEO of Pro Partner Group, spoke to Khaleej Times to address the issues residents are facing regarding the new visa rules.

Q - I am confused about the new dates for the visa extension? What important dates should I be aware of now?

A - If you are currently inside the country and your residency visa expired after March 1, 2020, you will be granted a three month grace period from the date of the announcement to renew the residency visa.

If you hold a UAE residency visa that expired after July 12, 2020, then a normal renewal process should be initiated.

If your residency visa was cancelled between March 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020 and you are currently inside the UAE, fines will be applied immediately. It is recommended that you exit the country or change your current visa status.

If your residency visa was cancelled after July 1, 2020, you will be given a grace period of 30 days to exit the country or change the status onto a new visa.

If you are currently outside of the UAE and have been outside for less than six months and your residency visa expired after March 1, you will be given a one-month grace period from the date of arrival to the UAE to renew the residency visa.

If you are currently outside of the UAE and have been for more than six months and your residency visa has expired, you may be granted a specific grace period which will be determined accordingly once flights resume between the country you are currently in and the UAE. Once you arrive back to the UAE, you may be granted a 30 days grace period to renew your residency visa.

If you are currently on a visit visa which has been expired after March 1, 2020, you will be given a three-month grace period to exit the country or change your visa status.

Q - The previous rule is now cancelled, so what is next for me?

A - It depends on your current situation and your visa status. Different rules apply dependent on whether you are in or outside of the UAE and if your visa has been cancelled or has expired.

In general, the recommendation would be to change the status of a cancelled visa, or renew an expired visa as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of fines.

There are varying grace periods applicable, however, there are no longer extensions until the end of the year.

Q - What are these heavy fines that am I hearing about? Do they start from June 12, and how much will I have to pay for an overstay?

A - At present it is not clear as to whether the fines will be incurred from July 1 or July 12.

In the case of a cancelled or expired visa, failure to comply with the new regulations could result in an overstay fine of Dh225 for the first day and Dh25 for any subsequent days. If the visa was cancelled after March 1, but before July 1, the fines will begin immediately.

In case the visa was cancelled after July 1, there will be a 30 day grace period. Once this has elapsed, these fines will be applied. For residency visas expired between March 1, and July 12 and the individual is inside UAE, there will be a three-month grace period before the fines incur.

In the case of an expired visit visa, the expatriate will be granted a three-month grace period from July, after which overstay fines will be incurred at Dh300 for the first day and Dh100 for any subsequent days.

Q - What steps should I take moving forward if my visit visa has expired?

A - If you are on a visit visa which expired after March 1, 2020, the previous grace period to stay in the UAE until the end of December 2020 has changed. You will be given a three-month grace period from July to exit the country or change your visa status. To avoid any fines, you will need to:

* Exit the country before October 10, 2020

* Renew the visit visa which can be done via a travel agency

* Obtain an employment visa and change the status via an in country application.

Q - What steps should I take moving forward if my residence visa has expired?

A - If you are inside the country and your residency visa has expired after March 1, you will be granted a three-month grace period to renew the residency visa. It is recommended to process the renewal before October 10, 2020 to avoid any fines.

If you hold UAE residency visa that has expired after July 12, 2020, then a normal renewal process should resume. You will need to complete the medical test as mandatory requirement for the issuance of the renewed visa.

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