The new reforms to the UAE visa system now grant people on visit or tourist visas a 30-day visa extension twice (total of 60 days) without having to leave the country.
Previously, people on visit or tourist visas, especially job-seekers, had to leave the UAE after the expiration of their three-month visit visa or one-month tourist visa and then applied for new visas so as to return to the UAE.
“The new system now allows people on visit or tourist visas to extend their stay in the UAE for 30 days, for two times, after expiration of the entry permits,” said Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, acting director-general of Foreigners Affairs and Ports at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
“The extension of visas for visitors without exiting the country will help job-seekers get more time to find jobs and will spare them from the travel burden and other expenses as it has been the case.
He noted that the visit and tourist visas have to be extended through travel agents that applied for the original visas at a fee of Dh600 for each of the 30 additional days that the person may wish to stay in the UAE. “The visit and tourist visa can only be extended twice – 30 days for each extension and after that the person must leave the country or face fines,” said Al Rashidi.
Visit visa holders hailed the government decision that will give them a 60-day breather before having to exit the country after the validity of their visa expires.
“I cannot even begin to tell you how relieved I am,” said Aravindan.K, an Indian expat, who is in Abu Dhabi on a visit visa.
“My visa will expire in one month and a half, and I still have not managed to get a job. I will definitely apply for an extension, and continue my job search,” said Aravindan.
Niyas, another expat, said the new rule has come as a blessing for him. “This is my second visit visa. I am desperate to find a job but my days are running out. The extra 60 days means I have two more months to try my luck. It is my dream to find a job in Dubai and be able to support my family back home,” said Niyas.
Thousands of jobseekers enter the UAE every month on visit visas, and many are forced to either go back for good or exit the country and come back on another visit. Pakistani expat Yusuf Jamal who has recently brought his cousin to the UAE on a visit, said the 60-day extension will allow job-seekers to look for the right job and remuneration.
“Because of the time pressure of three months within which visit visa holders have to land a job, many settle for low salaries. I even know people who have taken up jobs that are way beneath their qualifications. The possibility of extending the visa will hopefully change this situation.”