Stay more than 6 months outside the United Arab Emirates: the 11 exceptions

tampon de visa des émirats à l'intérieur d'un passeport

Many expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates do not live there all year round and travel frequently. Whether it is for professional reasons or simply for leisure, their frequent travels can be a source of problems regarding the validity of their UAE residency.

It happens that their absence from the UAE can last more than 6 months and that is why the question of the validity of their residence visa is at the heart of their concerns.

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) has added 5 new exceptions in addition to the 6 existing exceptions, bringing the total number of exceptions to 11. These 11 exceptions allow expatriates residing in the UAE to keep their visas even though they are out of the country for more than 6 months (limited to 1 year).

Rule of thumb: How long do I have to keep my residence visa in Dubai?

When you are a resident in the UAE, you are subject to certain mandatory regulations regarding the validity of your residence visa.

As a reminder: The general rule regarding visa validity is that if an expatriate resident stays outside the UAE for more than 180 days without interruption, his or her residence visa will be automatically cancelled.

For example, if you have a valid work or residence visa in the UAE and for some reason you need to stay outside the UAE continuously for more than six months (or 180 days) and you wish to re-enter, then you will find that your visa is invalid or expired. You will then need to start all the procedures related to the application for a new UAE residence visa.

Stay outside the Emirates for more than 6 months: the 11 exceptions

If a person holding a residence visa in the UAE stays outside the country for more than 6 months, he/she will have his/her residence visa automatically cancelled. However, there are exceptions to the rule that allow residents to stay out of the country for more than six months without their visa being cancelled.

We have listed the 11 exceptions that allow a resident expatriate to stay outside the UAE for more than six months. These exceptions allow an expatriate to stay outside the country for more than 180 days and maintain the validity of his visa.

The list of 11 exceptions is as follows:

  1. The foreign wife who is sponsored by her Emirati husband;
  2. Domestic workers who accompany an Emirati student abroad;
  3. Domestic workers accompanying an Emirati patient for treatment abroad;
  4. Resident expatriates and their companions sent abroad for treatment, provided they submit a medical report approved by the UAE medical authorities;
  5. Domestic workers accompanying members of diplomatic and consular missions representing the UAE abroad and employees of these missions holding a residence visa;
  6. Expatriate residents working for the public sector, sent by their employer for specialized training or courses, or those working in their employer’s offices abroad, and their families, who hold a valid UAE residence visa;
  7. Expatriate students studying at universities or institutes abroad;
  8. Domestic workers who work in the houses of the royal family abroad and who hold a valid UAE residence visa;
  9. Students enrolled in educational institutions abroad, who hold a valid residence visa in the UAE;
  10. Investors holding a valid UAE residency visa;
  11. Residents sponsored by UAE diplomatic and consular representatives and their dependents may stay outside the UAE for six months while maintaining the validity of their residency visa.

Formalities and application for a residence visa with Merritt

Our team is expert in assisting you in obtaining residence visas, whatever your status.

We deal with residence visas for investors, employees, families, maids, etc.

Our firm will assist you and a member of our team can receive you from Monday to Thursday from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm in our offices in JLT.

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