UAE announces amnesty for expat visa overstayers

Published:  15 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, USA, UAE
Expats in the UAE whose visa and residency documentation expired early in March will now escape fines and will still be allowed to re-enter the country without bias.

All expats in this situation will now be granted a three-month grace period, after which they must exit the country, starting from May 18. Those who decide to leave will not face prohibition from returning at a later date. Exemption from fines will also apply to expired ID cards and work permits. In addition, for labourers employed by local companies as well as support service employees including domestic staff, their visas and work permits will be automatically issued and renewed.

The UAE has a good reputation as regards issues with work permits, visa renewals and other amnesties related to its high number of expat support workers as well as professionals. By the end of 2019, some millions of dirhams'–worth of fines had been waived as part of an initiative to encourage illegal residents to become properly registered without risking prosecution or heavy fines. The same initiative also gave illegal expats the chance to change their status by offering a six-month job-seeker visa, with many thousands taking up the chance to benefit.

At that time, one UAE-based expat family had been living illegally in the UAE for an extended period and had run up fines amounting to $816,735. Originally from Myanmar, the father arrived in 1996 to work and live legally, but his wife had already been illegally resident in the country for 34 years as her legal parents hadn’t arranged for her visa before they died. The family’s four daughters were also illegals and, once they’d been legalised, the father took the chance of reporting everyone after an amnesty had been announced. All are now awaiting their documentation and looking forward to becoming legal residents.
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