Covid-19: Help, my residence visa got cancelled and I can't exit UAE
It may be noted that an employee whose residence visa has been revoked must exit the UAE.
Q: My UAE residence visa expired on March 6 and my employer has already cancelled it. I am currently serving my one month notice period and I have until April 5 to depart from the UAE. The return flight to my home country was scheduled to depart on April 3. However, due to coronavirus pandemic, all flights have now been cancelled. I don't know when I shall be able to return to my home country. Will overstay fines be imposed on me? Should I apply for a visit visa in the intervening period of time?
It may be noted that an employee whose residence visa has been revoked must exit the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 19 of the Federal Law No. (6) for 1973 concerning immigration and residence as amended by virtue of Law No. (7) of 1985, Law No. (13) of 1996 and Federal Decree Law No. (17) of 2017 (the 'Federal Residency Law'), which states:
"Foreigners who have obtained residence licence shall be subject to the provisions of Article (11) herein. They must leave the country upon the revocation of their residence permit or the expiration of its term."
In furtherance, it may be pertinent to note that upon the cancellation of a residence visa, the UAE residence visa-holder may continue to stay in the UAE for a maximum period of 30 days as a grace period from the day of its cancellation. Under normal circumstances, staying beyond the grace period shall attract a penalty for the UAE residence visa-holder. However, taking into account the recent measures implemented by the UAE leadership to keep us all safe and contain Covid-19, permission may be granted by the authority concerned on a case to case basis that may allow an individual to continue staying legitimately within the UAE beyond the grace period.
Considering that you are unable to leave the UAE due to the closure of air space and land borders and cancellation of passenger flights, you may apply for a visit visa as the UAE government has already announced its support by considering all such cases on humanitarian grounds.
You may approach the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) for further queries and seek guidance.
Know the law
Taking into account the recent measures implemented by the UAE leadership to keep us all safe and contain Covid-19, permission may be granted by the authority concerned on a case to case basis that may allow an individual to continue staying legitimately within the UAE beyond the 30-day grace period after visa cancellation.
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: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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