New visa scheme implemented in UAE

Tags: News,Others

22 Oct, 2018

As published in Khaleej Times
By Ismail Sebugwaawo and Jasmine Al Kuttab/Abu Dhabi

The changes were announced earlier this year.

Sweeping reforms to the UAE visa system that will benefit families and visitors will be implemented from today, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) has announced. Under the scheme, widows, divorced women and their children will be granted a one-year residency visa extension; students sponsored by their parents will get a two-year visa after Grade 12; and visit visa holders can apply for a 30-day extension for two times without having to leave the country.

Visa for divorcees, widows

The one-year visa extension for this category of beneficiaries starts from the date of the divorce or death of the spouse. They won’t need a sponsor to apply for the visa, said Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, acting director-general of foreigners affairs and ports, FAIC.

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“The aim is to give women the opportunity to adjust to their social and economic status after the loss of the head of the family,” he said.

Previously, women and their children had to leave the country after a divorce or death of their husband.

Student visa

One-year visas will be given to students after Grade 12 or those who have completed their university studies. The visa is renewable for another year. Parents will need to deposit Dh5,000 to avail of the visa.

“Students should submit their attested academic certificates for high school or university and other supporting documents that show that they have studied in the UAE,” said Brig Al Rashidi.

Visit visa extension

Visit visa holders will be able to apply for 30-day extensions twice without having to leave the country. A Dh600 fee is applicable for each extension. Previously, visitors had to leave the UAE after the expiry of their three-month visit visas or one-month tourist visas.

‘Humanity comes first in nation’s initiatives’

Lawyers in the UAE told Khaleej Times that the new visa system is another vital initiative set by the UAE government, reinforcing that “humanity comes first”.

“This step, once again, shows the UAE’s stand on human consideration and human matters,” said Ashish Mehta, founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. “The country reinforced this as a requirement for society and for the people.”

He pointed out that the new visa system would benefit thousands of divorcees and widows during times of turmoil.

“When a woman loses her husband, through death or divorce, she goes through a lot of mental stress, emotional stress, and trauma.The UAE has, therefore, established a system that helps meet the needs of women placed in difficult situations.”

Mehta said that the system would also provide a huge relief to many expat parents, with sons over the age of 18. “They were struggling to arrange alternative visas for their sons,” he added.

Abdullah Al Hammadi, a lawyer at Al Mustaqbal Law Firm, said there were “countless cases” of husbands who misuse their sponsorship power against their wives. “Some husbands do not choose to ease the process for their wives and often become very difficult.”