Capital International Group

New rules that came into effect last Tuesday canceled the option of extending the visas of visitors while they are in the UAE. According to the revised rules, visitors have to leave the country on the expiry of their visit visa.

During the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE government introduced the option of extending their visas for visitors. The visitor visa rules were changed on humanitarian grounds as travel became difficult. The option to change their status or extend their visas from within the UAE was not available to visitors before the pandemic. Visitors who secured employment in the UAE or opted for the residency visa had to exit the country and come back to make the change in their status effective.

The changed rules, which came into effect on December 13th, are applicable to all emirates except Dubai.

According to travel agents, several residency visa options are available to those who want to stay in the country for a longer duration. They include traditional 2-year visas, work-from-home visas, freelance permits, and others that people can choose from. Therefore, people need not apply for an extension of their visit visas at all.

Travel agents also said that they have come across cases of individuals staying in the UAE for as long as a year on their visit visa and that the UAE government does not want to encourage the same. People who come to the country for tourism purposes rarely extend their visas indefinitely. They also noted that the change is understandable, as people who are here for other purposes have many visa options to choose from. Furthermore, a freelance visa allowed people not only to remain in the country but also to look for work or take up freelance jobs.

As such, various options are available to those who are currently in the UAE on a visit visa. Individuals wanting to extend their visit visas and have a Dubai visa can do so until further notice. However, those with visit visas from other emirates will have to leave the country and apply once again if they want to continue to stay in the UAE. Furthermore, people with visit visas who want to change their visit status can submit their applications. However, they must leave the UAE and re-enter once their application is approved.

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