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UAE expats with expired visas may be exempted from overstay fines

Ashish Mehta
Filed on August 31, 2020 | Last updated on August 31, 2020 at 06.13 am
expats, expired visas, visa, legal view, law, uae law

(Photo: Alamy)

The employer may be responsible to pay the overstay fines, if the employee registers a complaint with the MoHRE.

Question: My visa expired last June, however, my employer had not paid my dues, hence my work permit had been pending for cancellation. They are finally releasing my dues tomorrow and cancelling my work permit, too. I understand that they need to pay my overstay fines till tomorrow, but what if they do not settle the penalties? Will there be a problem when I leave the UAE? How many days do I have to leave UAE?

Answer: Any individual who has a UAE residence visa should leave the country or change his visa status within 30 days of cancellation of its cancellation, in case the visa is cancelled before its expiry.

If the visa is cancelled after its expiry, the individual should leave the UAE or change his visa status within the remaining days of the 30-day grace period, which is granted from the date of visa's expiry.

This is in accordance with Article 21 of the Federal Immigration Law: "Any foreigner whose visa or residence permit has been revoked or whose residency has expired...and has not renewed it within 30 days from the expiry date, a fine of not more than Dh100 for every day of illegal residence in the state (must be paid) as of the date of expiry of the time limit."

As your residence visa has expired in June, you may have to pay the penalty, as applicable, as we assume that you have not filed any complaint against your employer for the non-payment of your end-of-service benefits and for not cancelling your visa.

The employer may be responsible to pay the overstay fines, if the employee registers a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

This is in accordance with Article 11 of Ministerial Resolution No. (707) for 2006 Regarding the Rules and Procedures of Conducting Business in the State for Non-citizens.

It states:

"The employee shall not be charged any fees or fines for the cancellation of the sponsorship, work permit, or other fees or fines, if he desires to leave the country and initiated a communication with the ministry for the same during the required timelines as per the provisions of this resolution."

However, currently, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may be not required to pay any overstay penalties, based on an announcement made by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship on August 17. It said those with expired residence visas may be exempted from overstay fines, provided that they leave the UAE before November 17.

Based on this, you may request your employer to pay your end-of-service benefits and cancel your work permit and visa. It is recommended that you approach the visa issuing authority in the emirates where your employer has applied for your residency for further assistance.

Know the law:

A company may be obliged to pay the overstay fines of an employee if a complaint has been filed with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

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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