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UAE visit visa holders relieved as grace period is announced

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 11, 2020 | Last updated on August 11, 2020 at 06.32 am
UAE, tourist visas, visit visa, relieved, grace period, announced, Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship,

(KT file photo)

The decision is not applicable for those with visit visas that expired before March 1.

Visitors with visas that expired after March 1 have been granted an additional 30-day grace period to regularise their status or exit the country without incurring overstay fines. The grace period starts from August 11, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) announced on Monday.

The decision is not applicable for those with visit visas that expired before March 1.

The ICA has urged visitors to exit the country within the stipulated deadline.

According to Amer Centres, the penalty for overstaying is Dh200 for the first day and Dh100 per day every day after.

The announcement comes as a major relief for visitors who were scrambling to renew their papers or exit the country before August 11 without incurring penalties.

Last-minute rush

Several visitors "waited till the last minute" to rectify their status, causing a huge rush at typing centres and travel agencies. "We received several last-minute applications. Usually, visit visa approvals come through in a matter of minutes or a maximum of one day. Due to the huge volume of applications, it has been taking longer," said Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels.

Many applicants have decided to stay back by renewing their visas, he added. "Many had waited until the last minute to change their visa status. We have had at least 3,000 applications in the last two days, mostly from Indian, Filipino and Pakistani nationals," said Ahmed.

Rashid Abbas, managing director of Arooha Tours and Travels, said they received "hundreds of last-minute applications". "A two-step procedure is being followed to rectify the visa status. First, they have to apply for a new visa and the next step is to change status."

Harish Kumar, managing director of Jubilant Group, said a lot of misinformation was being spread online. "People should get information from authorised sources only. Bloggers must research better before putting out information."

Enough time to apply

Sudheesh TP, general manager of Deira Travels, said people now have enough time to rectify their status.

"We are seeing three categories of people. The first group was wary of the deadlines and wanted to renew their visas immediately, while the second group waited till the last minute to change their visa status. The third category couldn't afford to pay for the renewal or buy tickets to their home countries. Such distressed cases were pinning hopes on a last-minute grace period, which has now come true.

"Many applications we received were from Indian nationals to change their status or return home. Those on visit visas were given preference by the Indian government to return on the Vande Bharat Mission flights since May," said Sudheesh.

Neeraj Agarwal, consul - press, information and culture at the Consulate-General of India in Dubai, said "at least 4,000 to 5,000 passengers" returned home in the past five days.

Documents needed to apply for a new visa

>Passport copy: Front and back page
>Photo
>Last visa copy

Cost

In Dubai, the charges being levied for a three-month visa renewal is Dh1,834. The application charge is Dh1,276 and the cost to change status is Dh558.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com 

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88


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