Updates to UAE Residency Regulations and Visit Visa Extension for 2023
The UAE has become one of the most attractive business environments in the world thanks to its encouraging economic initiatives and flexible residency options. The UAE has recently witnessed new visa rules in place that aim to make it easier for entrepreneurs and investors to work in the country.
In this article, we go through some of the main updates on residency and visit visas in the UAE.
Visa Fees Increase
The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security (ICP) has announced an increase of AED 100 on all service fees. This new increase is applicable to all services provided by (ICP) including the issuance of Emirates IDs, visit visas, and residency permits.
5-Year Multiple Entry Visit Visa
This newly announced entry visit visa allows you to enter the country multiple times, making it the perfect visa for people who have family members who reside in the UAE. This 5-year multiple-entry visit visa entitles you to a 90-day stay, with the ability to extend it for an additional 90 days If you want to stay longer after your visa expires. Please note that the total number of days that you can stay in the country cannot exceed 180 days each year.
Standardization of Overstay Fine Fee
Staying in the UAE for longer than is permitted by your visa makes you subject to overstaying fines. Recently, the UAE ICP stated that all overstaying fines would be standardized at 50 AED every day of overstaying.
After the end of your grace period (depending on the type of visa you have) the overstaying fees will start to mount up. Please be aware that you won’t be regarded as having overstayed your visa if you are unable to leave the country due to airline cancellations or airport closures.
Validity of Free Zone Visas
The UAE has more than 40 free zones governed by special rules and regulations that allow entrepreneurs and investors 100% ownership of their companies, lower setup costs, and flexible solutions. The UAE government has standardized the validity of work visas, and now visas issued in UAE and Sharjah free zones have been reduced from 3 years to 2 years.
Emirates ID replaces Visa Stamps on Passports
The UAE government stopped stamping resident visas on passports to depend solely on Emirates ID cards. As a result, it won’t be necessary to put passports for stamping, and people applying for residency will be able to apply for both their Emirates ID cards and residency visas in one go, a decision that speeds up and streamlines the application process.
New Rules for UAE Golden Visa
In an endeavor to ease the qualifying standards and increase the categories of people who can take advantage of the program, the United Arab Emirates recently expanded the categories of the Golden Visa and made significant changes to the Golden Residence scheme.
The duration of the Golden Visa has also been increased to 10 years for all Golden Visa categories. Investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientific researchers, outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, and talented workers are among the categories of people who are eligible for the UAE Golden Visa.
According to the new rules, Golden Visa holders may sponsor members of their immediate family, regardless of the age of their kids. The number of sponsored domestic workers has also been made unlimited.
For holders of the UAE Golden Visa and their families, the grace period following the expiration or cancellation of a residence visa in the UAE has been increased from 30 days to 6 months. Expats currently have a 6-month window in which to leave the country without being fined or renewing their visas. However, the holders of UAE Golden Visa may incur overstaying fees if they fail to renew or terminate their dependents’ visas.
New Rules for UAE Green Visa
The new 5-year Green Visa has undergone major upgrades targeted at attracting talents, investors, and business owners. The residency standards have been made more flexible and straightforward, including longer grace periods of up to 6 months after the residency permit has expired.
A 5-year residency visa is now available for skilled workers without a sponsor or employer under the new Green Residency scheme. To be eligible for this Green Visa, an applicant must have:
- A valid employment contract.
- Classification in the first, second, or third occupational level, as determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- A minimum educational level of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
- A minimum salary of AED 15,000.
Please take note that third-level skilled professionals—as defined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation—are qualified for a 90-day extended grace period after their Green Visa’s expiry.
Self-employed workers and freelancers
The new Green Residency Visa allows freelancers and self-employed individuals a 5-year residency in the UAE without a sponsor or an employer. The following requirements must be fulfilled:
- A freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- A bachelor’s degree or a diploma in the respective domain.
- An annual self-employment income over the past two years of AED 360,000 or the ability to demonstrate financial stability during the stay in the UAE.
Investors and partners
The Green Visa grants a 5-year residency to individuals engaged in commercial activities in the UAE.
Applicants in this category should obtain the following:
- A proof and approval of the investment.
- A calculation of the total invested capital for investors with multiple licenses.
- Approvals from the competent local authorities.
New dependency visa terms for Golden Visa Holders
The recent rules of the residency visa have also new benefits for family members of UAE Golden Visa holders. The holders can now sponsor their parents for a 10-year residency, compared to the previous one-year stay. The updated visa scheme also offers an exemption from the deposit required to sponsor parents and only requires a certification proving that the sponsor is the sole caregiver of his/her parents in their home country. Moreover, Golden Visa holders can sponsor their first-degree relatives, including their spouses and children for five years.
UAE Residency Re-entry Permit
UAE residents who have been out of the country for longer than 6 months are now able to return by applying for a re-entry permit. Residents of the UAE who have been out of the country for more than 6 months will be able to enter the Emirates within 30 days of the permit’s issuance. With this newly announced re-entry permit, residents can now remain outside of the UAE for more than 6 months without having their residency canceled.
However, residents must state the reason for their overstay outside the country and submit the documents that support it to be qualified to apply for the permit. Applying for the re-entry permit can be done through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security (ICP) website.
New Rules of Visit Visa Extension
With the intention of streamlining the entry process for travelers to the country, the UAE government recently announced 10 new categories of entry visas that do not require a sponsor. These new visas are available for single or multiple entry and have validity periods of up to 60 days from the date of issuance.
Immigration offices across the UAE have stopped extending visit permits without travelers leaving the country. Instead, those with visit visas must leave the country, request an extension, and reenter the UAE after it is granted.
The visa extension service can be completely done online via the ICP website or its UAE PASS app from outside the UAE.
Travelers who are not able to enter the UAE within the validity period of their visit visa can apply for an extension of 60 days through the immigration portal.
How SPC Free Zone can help you?
SPC Free Zone is located in Sharjah and will help you to navigate the process of obtaining your business license and visa with all simplicity and ease. We offer a fast business setup in the UAE with our flexible and cost-effective business setup packages. You can choose from more than 1,500 business activities, apply for 20 visas under one license, and apply for a dual-license option that offers both mainland and free zone on the same trade license. With immigration services on-site, you can get your license issued in 45 minutes, and UAE residency visa in 5 working days.
SPC Free Zone offers several value-added support services, that include among others family and domestic workers visas. We assist you in obtaining new, renewing, or canceling all categories of residence visas.
Are you ready to start a new life in the UAE? Reach out to the SPC Free Zone today.