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UAE residence visa can remain valid even if you stay abroad for 6 months; here's how

Ashish Mehta/Dubai
Filed on December 29, 2019 | Last updated on December 29, 2019 at 12.32 pm
Ashish Mehta, Legal View, residence visa, six months outside UAE


There are some exceptions to the six-month rule.

My daughter will appear for her Grade 12 examinations, and thereafter she will be pursuing her undergraduate education outside the UAE. I anticipate that my daughter may be unable to return to the UAE within six months. What are the implications that may arise owing to my daughter staying outside the UAE beyond the six-month period? Are there any exemptions that can be availed by my daughter which would allow her to retain her residence visa?

At the outset, it may be noted that the regulations pertaining to the expiry or cancellation of a residence visa are stipulated under 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') read with the provisions of the Ministerial Decision No. (360) of 1997 regarding the issuance of executive regulation of the Federal Law No. (6) of 1973 concerning the entry and residence of foreigners (the 'Federal Residency Rules').

Pursuant to the first part of your query, it's pertinent to note that a residence visa issued to an expatriate in the UAE may be deemed to have been cancelled if the individual concerned stays outside the UAE for a continuous period of six months. This is in accordance with Article 61 of the Federal Residency Rules, which states:
"Article 61: The residence permit granted to the foreigner shall be deemed to have been cancelled if the period of his stay outside the country exceeds six months."

In pursuance of the above, your daughter's residence visa shall be considered as cancelled if she stays outside the UAE for a period exceeding six months.

In response to the second part of your query, it may be noted that it may be possible to prevent the invalidation of a residence visa despite the visa holder staying outside the UAE for more than six months or 180 days continuously, provided the visa is still within its period of validity. This is in accordance with certain exceptions which are stated under Article 62 of the Federal Residency Rules, which states:

"Article 62: As an exception from the provisions of Article (61) hereof, the residence permit shall continue to be valid until the end of its term for the following categories:

a) Foreigner women married to UAE nationals.
b) Servants accompanying UAE nationals delegated to study abroad.
c) Servants and escorts of UAE national patients travelling or sent for medical treatment abroad.
d) Foreign patients (and their escorts) who are travelling or sent for medical treatment abroad, holding valid residence permits, provided that they present a medical report approved by the Ministry of Health or the Medical Services of the Armed Forces or the Police.
e) Servants of the members of the diplomatic and consular missions representing the state abroad, and employees of such missions holding residence permits in the state.
f) Foreigners delegated by the public sector corporations to attend training or specialisation courses, or those working in their employers' offices abroad, and their families holding valid residence permits in the state.
g) Servants of the members of the ruling family in the UAE, who are serving their houses abroad, and who are holding valid residence permits in the state.
h) Students studying in one of the universities or institutes abroad."

Since your daughter is pursuing her higher education outside the UAE, she may qualify for the aforementioned exception under Article 62 (h) of the Federal Residency Rules. However, you should contact the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners' Affairs (GDRFA) for further advise. The approval for the exemption is at the discretion of GDRFA.

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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