UAE: Immigration authorities launch new visa system

UAE Immigration has launched a new visa structure in August, with increased costs for certain visa types, the introduction of deposits for certain visas, amended visa durations and revised short term visa categories, as well as the introduction of new multiple entry visas available to medical tourists, students, and business visitors.

According to the immigration authorities, the new visa system will enhance customer services and boost tourism in the region.

The new fee structure aims to standardise service fees However, details on the planned implementation these reforms have, as yet, been unforthcoming and the schedule of new visa fees has only been published in Arabic.

Deposits & Fines

A variety of deposits and fines will be introduced, including a “Deportation Fund” for those abusing residency rules, as well as fines for submitting fake documents, inaccurately filled-in applications and failure to honour declarations and affidavits.

Companies in the UAE who abuse the residency system or submit fake documents will be hit with a Dhs 5,000 fine. Those who do not change the legal status of their sponsored workers within a (reduced) timeframe will face a fine of Dhs 1,000 per worker.

Annual repeat offenders will incur fines up to a value of Dhs 50,000.

Stricter Notification Requirements for Terminated Employees

UAE employers will be required to notify immigration officials or their local police of a sponsored foreign employee leaving his/her position within ten days of the employee leaving, rather than the current three month limit. As a result, employers will be obliged to implement internal reporting procedures.

“Short-Term Work” and “Visit”  Visas

The new visa structure should make it easier for frequent business travellers in and out of the region, as well as provide wider options for companies wishing to mobilise employees to UAE for short-term work-related activities.

The end result will be four types of short-term business visas:

  • Multiple-Entry visa , permitting stays of up to 30 days within an overall validity period of up to 180 days – expected to be granted for the full 30-day maximum, rather than the current 14-day maximum.
  • Short-term business visit visa (replacing the current Entry Service Visa (ESV) will permit a single entry for up to 14 days. Visa holders will not be permitted to work for third parties.
  • Long-term business visit visa (single or multiple) should be a modified version of the current 90-day Mission Work Permit (MWP) , requiring prior approval from the Ministry of Labour but not renewable beyond the 90-day maximum stay.
  • Special entry permit  for frequent travellers resident in neighbouring countries, valid for multiple entries with a maximum duration of 90 days, unextendable, permitting  holders to make individual stays of up to 24 hours per entry to engage in business activities only (work is not permitted)


Multiple-Entry Tourism Visa:  The previous visit visa category (business or entertainment) will be replaced by the new visit visa for entertainment (tourism), available for short-term visits up to a maximum stay of 30 days, and long-term visits up a maximum stay of 90 days.

Study visas now permit a 90-day stay, extendable for a one- off additional 90 day period. (Previously valid for 60 days, renewable twice for additional 60-day periods).

Medical entry visas will now permit multiple entries and will also permit holders to be accompanied by family members for their period of treatment in the UAE.

Further Proposed Changes

UAE free trade zones are expected to increase their fees to match the increases already imposed in mainland UAE and may also introduce nationwide in-country visa processes allowing individuals to enter the country as a visitor and switch visa in-country, as well as payroll compliance monitoring in UAE free trade zones currently free from this requirement, The UAE may also adopt countrywide standardisation for evaluating professional qualifications.

Some of the new visa fees relevant to businesses with effect from Aug 2014 are as follows:

·         Employment visa (public sector): Dhs200

·         Employment visa (private sector, free zones, investors): Dhs250

·         Residence visa for family members of expatriates (public sector): Dhs200

·         Residence visa for family members of expatriates (private sector, free zones, investors): Dhs250

·         Residence visa for family members of an expatriate worker sponsored by a national: Dhs150

·         Transit visa: Dhs100

·         Multiple entry work visa: Dhs2,100

·         Residence Visa for study or training: Dhs550 

If you require further advice on UEA immigration, please contact us


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