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Expired UAE visas of stranded residents must be cancelled

Ashish Mehta/Dubai
Filed on August 9, 2020 | Last updated on August 10, 2020 at 12.23 am
stranded, residents, UAE, India, visa, expiration, cancellation, Covid-19, coronavirus, law, policy, legal view

(Image used for illustrative purpose)

Know your legal rights in the UAE.

Question: My wife has a UAE residence visa. She went to India on February 16 but got stuck there because of the pandemic. Will her visa expire if she is unable to come back by August 16? And if it expires, do I still have to get it cancelled?


The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) mentioned on July 10 that residents, who are staying overseas and whose residence visas have expired as of March 1 or who have spent more than six months outside the country, are granted a grace period to return to the UAE, effective from the date of the resumption of flight operations between the two countries. 

The specific schedule of the grace period will be determined by the ICA. On the other hand, the Government of India and the Government of UAE have agreed on an extension of the 'air bubble' arrangements up to the end of August, where special inbound and outbound flights between the two countries will be operated. Your wife may avail of this facility to return to the UAE on or before August 15 or thereafter, but within reasonable time.

In the event your wife is not able to travel to the UAE during the validity of her UAE residence visa or within the grace period as mentioned by the ICA, her visa will expire. However, if your wife holds an investor visa, then she may be out of the country for one year before the visa becomes invalid. 

Further, it should be noted that even though your wife's residence visa expires, it must be cancelled so that she can travel back to the UAE in the future on a new residency visa or a visit visa. 

You may approach the visa issuing authority in the emirate where you had applied for your wife's visa for further assistance and information on this matter. 

Know the law

If a resident outside the country is unable to return during the validity of his/her UAE visa or within the grace period allotted by the ICA, his/her residence visa will expire and must be cancelled.  

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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