UAE: Visa cancellation process after job loss or resignation explained

Types of visas you could apply for to continue staying in the country legally without attracting fines

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By Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 22 May 2022, 10:32 AM

Question: I might lose my job. If I have my family here in the UAE under my sponsorship, how does the company go about cancelling my visa? How long can I stay here? At the end of that period, how can my family and I continue staying here legally?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland private sector company incorporated in the UAE and your residency is sponsored by your employer. Therefore, the provisions of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 Concerning the Executive Regulations of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022) and the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2021 Regarding the Entry and Residence of Foreigners (the ‘Immigration Law’) are applicable.

Upon termination of employment or resignation, the employer needs to cancel your work permit once you sign the cancellation document. This is in accordance with Article 7(3) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, which reads as:

“Procedures for cancelling work permits:

a. Submission of an application for cancellation of work permit via the channels specified by the Ministry.

b. Completion of the required information and attachments.

c. Payment of fines for delay in issuance or non-renewal of work permits, if any.

d. Declaration by the Establishment that the employee has received his entitlements.

e. Any other conditions specified by decision of the Minister, or his delegate.”

Thereafter, your employer should proceed to cancel your residency visa. However, if you have sponsored your family members’ residency, then you must cancel their visas first.

Grace period

Further, in the UAE once a residency visa is cancelled, an individual may reside in the country for a grace period of 30 days, which is including the date of cancellation. During this period, you should either leave the country or change your status of stay. If you find a new employment during the grace period, you may request your new employer to apply for a work permit and change your residency status before the grace period expires.

If you manage to find a new job

Alternatively, if you get a new job, you may hold on to your family members’ visas as your new employer applies for your work permit and residency visa. Holding on to dependents’ visa while transferring your residency visa from one employer to another is subject to approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Dubai (the ‘GDRFA- Dubai’) or Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (the ‘ICA’) — depending on your salary and designation with the new employer.

The GDFRA - Dubai and the ICA are usually very prompt is granting their decision in such matters.

If the same is not approved, you may have to cancel your family members’ residency.

Other options

Further, if you do not find employment during the grace period, you may obtain visit visas for yourself and your family members. You may also obtain an investor visa and thereafter sponsor the residency visas of your family members as well. For more information regarding the said matter, you may contact the GDRFA-Dubai or ICA.

Overstay fines

If you overstay in the UAE beyond the grace period, it shall attract a penalty which is payable to the GDRFA-Dubai or ICA. This is in accordance with Article 11 of the Immigration Law, which states: “Every foreigner whose visa or residence permit has been canceled or whose residence has expired with the expiry of the visa or residence permit period, and does not initiate renewal, In cases where this is permissible - or if he did not leave the country within the periods specified by the executive regulations of this Decree-Law, an administrative fine shall be imposed on him for each day in which he resides illegally in the country as of the date of the expiry of these periods by a decision of the Council of Ministers the value of this fine.”

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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