UAE announces new visa regulations for expats

In a recent resolution, the UAE announced new visa regulations and explanations for expats. The Chairman of the Federal Authority for Identification, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security, Ali Mohammad Al Shamsi, issued the Resolution which came into force from October 3, 2022.

The resolution’s details were initially published by Al Khaleej which states that the new ruling features all procedures related to the loss or damage of passports or identity cards for expats, inside or outside the country.

The decision permits expats who have lost their passport, identification card, or both to enter the UAE and visit the competent department within three working days to complete procedures. The expats must first report the loss and file an admission request to the UAE using the smart services network.

The new decision further specifies the requirements for awarding tourist visas, such as the sponsor or host being a tourism-related institution, company, or registered entity in the accredited facility card system and offering a tourism programme. It also defines the requirements for truck drivers seeking entry visas at land entry outlets or UAE embassies overseas, as well as personnel seeking entry visas on tourist cruises and picnic boats.

For a period of 90 days, foreigners may be issued an entry visa at neighbouring border regions of land entry ports. Visa holders can visit the nation several times as long as their visa is valid, and remain each time for no more than 48 hours, providing they have a valid residence visa in the nearby border country, are a resident there, and are not working. Domestic workers are not permitted unless accompanied by the employer or family members, and visa holders are not permitted to work in the UAE with or without pay.

The decision states that the Director General of Residence and Foreigners Affairs or their representatives may grant an entry visa to expatriates who are required by competent authorities in the UAE on the basis of an official request. Moreover, the Director General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs has the authority to give a “private entry permit” to people accompanying heads of state and ministers on official trips to the UAE.

The ruling states that entry visas are valid for 60 days from the date of issue and allow the holder to stay in the country in accordance with the type of visa issued. All visit visas allow holders to enter the UAE once or several times, depending on the issuing entity. The visa holder, however, is not permitted to stay in the country for longer than 180 days.

The decision also contains new rules for issuing a visit visa to a friend or family. These conditions are in addition to the previously stated prerequisites. To be eligible for the visa, the visitor must be a friend or family of an Emirati citizen, regardless of degree of connection. Instead, the visitor must be a first or second-degree relative of an expat residing in the UAE, and the resident expat must be employed at the first or second level.

The ruling details the issue of a one-year renewable residence permit, subject to the availability of a sponsor or host. The decision also specifies five requirements that must be completed before a resident visa may be issued to expats from countries afflicted by wars, natural catastrophes, or civil upheaval. These prerequisites include possessing the nationality of a country classified as being in a state of war, disaster, or unrest, as determined by the chairman of the authority, being present in the UAE, having sufficient financial solvency, and having suitable accommodation. The applicant’s family members, whether inside or outside the nation, may also be included in the residence permit.

Concerning expat relations, the ruling states that people desiring to bring their family or the relatives of their spouses must satisfy specific standards in order to acquire a residence visa. If the expat is linked to an Emirati living in the UAE, they must provide proof of relationship.

Furthermore, the decision demands a foreigner who seeks to bring their family or the relatives of their wives to have adequate housing and monthly income. They can bring in up to 5 people if their monthly income is Dh10,000, and up to 6 people if their monthly income is Dh15,000. If the number of applicants exceeds six, the authority’s chairman will decide the applicant’s suitability1.

The judgement specifies three groups of people who are exempted from having their residence visas terminated if they are absent from the country for more than 180 days. The residence permit will remain valid until its expiration for holders of golden visas and their families, green visas and their families, and individuals approved for exemption by the Director General of Residence and Foreigners Affairs for legitimate reasons and upon payment of the prescribed fee.

Additionally, the judgement defines six groups of foreigners who are excluded from the passport validity requirement upon entry into the UAE if their passport is valid for at least one month. These persons include flight crews, sailors, workers on tourist and picnic ships, those with emergency entry, transit, and entry permits.

The judgement also outlines five categories of people who can stay in the UAE for up to 180 days after their residency permit is cancelled or expires. Holders of golden and green visas and their families, foreign widows and divorced expatriates living in the UAE, students continuing their education after graduation, and spouses, parents, and children of Emiratis or foreign passport holders are among those eligible.

Just two types of people are allowed to stay in the nation for 90 days after a visa is cancelled or expires: skilled professionals at the first, second, and third levels, and property owners. Holders of visas provided by sponsors or hosts may stay for up to 60 days, while all other types are limited to 30 days.

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