Certain kinds of UAE residency visa holders are permitted to enter the country even if they have been living abroad for longer than six months.
Recently released updated criteria for golden and investor visas applicant allow for some exceptions to the norm that UAE citizens must return to the UAE within the specified term for their visas to be valid.
People with expired visa status were allowed to enter the UAE at the height of the coronavirus epidemic, but worldwide travel restrictions and lockdowns to stem the spread of Covid-19 prevented UAE residents from arriving in time.
The regulations were progressively reinstated in mid-2021, with people with expired visas required to reapply to maintain their status.
Immigration policies passed by the Cabinet in April seek to make it more appealing for talented professionals and families of the best students to live in the UAE and feel at home.
When did entry extension end?
UAE residents who leave the UAE for six months in a row will be unable to re-enter on their current residency visa, which would become inactive.
During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, UAE residents who were stranded outside the country were allowed to enter even if their residency visas had expired for more than six months as an exceptional measure to assist those affected by various international travel restrictions in place at the time.
Authorities did not specify when the visa exemption would be repealed, but visa regulations were reinstated in the middle of last year.
Any exceptions to this rule?
Generally, no allowances are given.
However, if a visa holder has a legitimate explanation, such as medical reasons or border restrictions, for not being able to re-enter the UAE in time, an official letter can be presented to immigration officials.
Will golden visas remain valid?
According to recent laws, 10-year golden visa holders can stay outside the UAE for longer than six months without their residence permit status changing.
This includes sponsored family members who have earned 10-year residency visas.
To which other visa categories does this apply?
According to a 2014 government ruling, certain visa holders can stay outside the UAE for longer than six months and their status would remain unaffected.
- Investors with a valid residency visa, government officials sent abroad for medical reasons or on assignment.
- A foreign person who is the wife of an Emirati citizen and is sponsored by him.
- Emirati people are accompanied by domestic staff.
- People sponsored by the UAE’s diplomatic or consular representative
- Foreign national students studying at a university or institute in another country – this relates to Dubai
Does this cover students in universities overseas?
Foreign students studying at a university or institute abroad will be allowed to visit the UAE after six months if they have a Dubai-issued residency permit and their port of entry is in Dubai.
Students must present proof of enrolment at immigration, such as a valid student ID card or university enrolment letter.
Before traveling to other emirates, students must verify the visa status of their residency permit on the ICA site.
What is the procedure for students in other emirates?
For other emirates, a visa request to authorities must be completed for dependent students’ visas to be revalidated and obtain active visa status.
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