UAE flights: Residents with expired Dubai visas relieved as some get extensions

AFP
AFP

Dubai - Expats granted automatic renewal on their expired residency visas until December 9.



By James Jose, Juidin Bernarrd

Published: Fri 13 Aug 2021, 6:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 13 Aug 2021, 10:46 PM

Some stranded Dubai expats whose residency visas had expired, heaved a sigh of relief on granting of automatic visa extensions.

On Wednesday, an Amer call-centre employee in Dubai told Khaleej Times that those stranded abroad with expired visas have been granted automatic renewal on their expired residency visas until December 9, besides a one-month grace period. “However, before travelling to the UAE, they need to apply for a pre-travel GDRFA approval and adhere to all other RT-PCR testing protocols set by the government,” the agent explained.

Travel agents also confirmed that their customers had been granted automatic visa extensions, but said it was only awarded to Dubai residency visa holders. Residents who have stayed outside the UAE for over six months can also return. The status of residents in other emirates was not immediately clear.

PR (name withheld on request), who is on a spouse visa, had travelled with her mother to Kochi, in the south Indian state of Kerala, on April 15, and had booked her return ticket on May 14.

However, after suspension of incoming passenger flights from India to the UAE from April 24, she was stranded in India. To add to her woes, her visa had expired in July and she also wasn’t vaccinated.

With the UAE lifting the travel ban on August 5, she applied on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website and filled in the necessary details on Wednesday. She got an approval seven hours later which stated that she could return before September 9. “I’m so relieved that I can finally return home and be with my husband,” said PR.

“I was quite worried because my two-year visa had expired on July 12. But now I can finally return to Dubai,” added PR.

“I had thought about flying to Armenia and then coming to Dubai. But I dropped the idea. It has all worked out well in the end, and I’m thankful to the UAE that I can return,” she said.

PR, who took her first dose of Covishield and is due for her second shot on September 2, revealed that she has booked her return ticket to Dubai on September 4.

Meanwhile, another expat TJ (name withheld on request), too is thankful that she and her family of four can return to Dubai after her visa and that of her elder daughter had expired in June. The family had travelled to Thirvananthapuram, Kerala, in March on a one-month vacation. “I’m so happy that we can return to Dubai and continue with our lives,” said TJ, who works for an insurance firm.

“Thankfully, by God’s grace, my job is safe and I was able to work from home during this time. My residence visa, as well as my daughter’s visa, had expired in June and I was so worried. We had even thought about travelling through Armenia, but it was turning out to be expensive. It was costing us about Dh28,000. We then applied on the GDRFA website and we got the approval,” added TJ, who is vaccinated in the UAE. The family plans to return to Dubai next week.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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