Visa and Immigration in UAE – 7 changes you need to know

Numerous changes have been made to the UAE’s biggest entry and residency visa reforms since October 2022. These reforms simplified procedures, extended the long-term Golden Visa scheme, and created a new Green Visa for five-year residence.

Other changes include an increase in visa fees and longer grace periods for exiting the country after the expiry of visas. We have compiled seven changes that affect residency you should be aware of:

>> Re-entry permit for residents staying abroad for over 6 months: Staying outside the UAE previously canceled residency. However, now such residents can apply for a reentry permit by specifying a reason for the same. When the application is approved, the applicant must enter the country within 30 days starting from the approval date.

>> Rules to sponsor children eased: This move came as a huge relief for families. Applicable to all residency types, residents can sponsor sons till they turn 25 — up from 18 years. There is no age limit to sponsor unmarried daughters.

>> Golden Visa holders can sponsor parents on a 10-year visa: If you are a Golden Visa holder, you can sponsor your parents on a 10-year visa, too. Previously, the long-term residency scheme beneficiaries could sponsor parents for one year, as is the case with regular residency holders.

>> Visa fees increase: The fees to avail of all services offered by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) have gone up by Dh100. The additional smart services fee applies to Emirates ID and residency visas as well.

>> Validity of free zone visas decreased: The validity of free zone visas issued in the UAE has been reduced from three years to two.

>> Longer grace periods to exit UAE after visa expiry: The grace period to exit the UAE after residency visa cancellation has been increased to between 60 and 180 days in most cases. This is up from the previous 30 days.

>> Emirates ID replaces visa stamps on passports: The UAE has done away with the practice of stamping residency visa stickers on passports. Instead, residents’ Emirates IDs officially serve as their residency documents.

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