UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: New Visa Rules Bring Positive Changes for Expats

November 2, 2018

On 21 October, the UAE cabinet approved a number of new visa rules that will prove beneficial to numerous categories of foreign nationals in the UAE: including tourists, retirees, and students and the widows, divorcees, and children of foreign nationals.

Here’s a quick look at the changes that have been immediately implemented:

Tourist Visas May Now Be Extended In-Country

Foreign nationals who enter the UAE on Tourist Visas may now renew their visas twice in-country for an additional 30 days each time, giving them a total extension of 60 additional days without need of leaving the country.

Visas Now Available for Newly Widowed or Divorced Women with Children

The UAE government will now grant a one-year residence visa without need of a sponsor for foreign national women already in the UAE in the event that they are widowed or divorced from their foreign national husbands. The intent is to protect their residence rights and those of their children by giving them a one-year period in which to make arrangements for employment or other means to qualify on their own for a separate, non-dependent visa.

New Visa for Graduating Students and New Adults

Children who had been sponsored for dependent visas by their parents may now extend their stay in the UAE upon graduation from a college or high school or upon turning age 18 years of age. Upon graduation or their eighteenth birthday, they may now apply for a one-year independent visa to continue studies or find full-time employment. The initial one-year visa is eligible for renewal for an additional year.

The same cabinet action also put into motion the process for implementation of one additional positive change for expats expected in the next year:

New Five-Year Expat Retiree Visa Coming

In the coming months, a new five-year visa will be introduced for foreign nationals over the age of 55 years who retire in the UAE. The new visa will include the qualifying criteria of investment property worth at least AED 2 million, savings of at least AED 1 million, or monthly income of at least AED 20,000. More details are expected closer to implementation sometime in 2019.

Our Advice

The UAE continues to be a welcoming destination for international business and foreign expats, and these new changes only make it more so. Companies and foreign nationals looking to benefit from these changes are invited to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialists to discuss the opportunities in the UAE.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UAE, please email us at [email protected].