Dubai: Grace period for visit visas scrapped; fines to apply as soon as permit expires, say travel agents

A call centre executive from the Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security confirmed that there is no grace period for visit visas issued anywhere in the UAE

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Sahim Salim

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KT file photo
KT file photo

Published: Wed 31 May 2023, 12:30 PM

Last updated: Thu 1 Jun 2023, 8:55 AM

A grace period to exit the UAE for visit visas issued in Dubai is no longer applicable, Khaleej Times can reveal. Travel agents have shared notices about the new directive with their clients.

“There is no grace period anymore. From the date of entry, the stay duration is as per the type of visa (30 days or 60 days),” a travel agent told its clients.


Firosekhan, operation manager at Arabian Business Centre (Amer Centre – Sheikh Zayed Road), told Khaleej Times that all emirates except Dubai had done away with the 10-day grace period for visit visas. The grace period only applied to visas issued in Dubai. From May 15, authorities in Dubai have also removed the grace period. This means a visitor or tourist must exit the country before their visas expire. Failing this, overstay fines will apply.

In separate enquiries, call centre executives from the Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP) and the GDRFA confirmed that there is no grace period for visit visas issued anywhere in the UAE. Fines are calculated as soon as the document expires.


Grace period used to apply by default

Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari International Travel Services, explained how the grace period was calculated and applied previously.

“The moment a visitor enters the country, it is updated on the system by default and a grace period of 10 days was added to both 30 days and 60 days visit visas. However, not the grace period will not be added and the person should exit before the last day of the visa,”

He further said that the system now shows the validity of "30 days" or "60 days" without the grace period for certain visas. “We normally don’t check the number of days left for a visitor to exit the country. We do it only upon request,” said Raja.

Absconding charges

Another travel agent explained that they are compelled to file absconding charges against overstayers. "The visas that an agent issues provide sponsorship for any visitor entering the UAE on a visit visa of either 30 days or 60 days. It causes us difficulties and financial losses when a visitor exceeds the duration of their visa. Therefore, we are compelled to report them for our protection,” said Subair Thekepurathvalappil, senior manager for inbound and outbound operations at Regal Tours Worldwide.

Previously, overstay fines are imposed on agents and then later retrieved from visitors. Back then, the minimum absconding penalty is Dh2,000, which would increase every day, according to experts in the travel industry.

Now, however, travel agents are no longer involved. Visitors will have to pay penalties themselves before exiting the country.

Fines explained

Travel experts urge visitors to exit the country before their visit visa expires. “People feel that it’s okay to extend a day or two and pay relevant fines, which a few of them think are minimal. But it comes with a cost,” said Subair.

Overstaying one's visa is a serious offence and can get a traveller stopped at airports' immigration counters.

“Many visitors are unaware of their visa validity status and overstay a few days. They learn about the overstaying status only when they reach the airport. One must be in touch with the agent and seek information on the visa expiry,” said Raja.

“A person overstaying the visa term will have to pay Dh50 for a day, along with Dh320 for relevant charges and exit permits. A person overstaying for 10 days will have to pay Dh500 plus Dh320, which is Dh820,” said Subair.

Where to pay fees?

“One can pay online at the ICP website before leaving for the airport,” said Subair.

However, if one wishes to pay at the airport, “the immigration officer will stop the overstaying visitor to pay the fine with the relevant fees at the counter,” said Raja.

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