UAE visa changes: Parents can sponsor sons until they are 25; families relieved

Change was part of sweeping reforms announced to the Emirates' entry and residency visa scheme



By Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Tue 19 Apr 2022, 3:50 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 8:06 PM

Parents across the UAE got the best Ramadan gift with the new visa rules now allowing them to sponsor their sons till they are 25.

Relief, gratitude and a whole lot of happiness lit up their faces yesterday when the UAE Cabinet announced the biggest reforms to the country's entry and residency visa scheme, which include no age limit for sponsorship of unmarried daughters.

Previously, it was quite draining for parents, financially and emotionally, as they could only sponsor their sons until the age of 18.

The news is a welcome relief for Sharjah-based Jishna Abdussalam Ali, the mother of a 20-year-old university student.

"My son has been studying in Sharjah, and we have been taking a yearly residency visa for him," she said.

"This new legislation will be a big weight off our shoulders. We consider ourselves lucky because when we were in school in the 1990s and my brother turned 18, my parents had no option to sponsor him. I am glad that authorities have taken this decision as it will help many families like ours."

Sarah Fernandes' teenage son, who studies in Ireland, echoes these sentiments. "I feel like I can breathe easy," she said.

"I was very worried about my son's visa sponsorship and how to manage it, but this news has made me very happy. This move will ease so many challenges for us. I am thankful that this rule change has come in the nick of time for us."

A Shahnawaz is a father of two sons and a daughter, and all are studying in Europe.

"My elder son has been coming to Dubai on a visit visa because I cannot sponsor him," he said.

"Now, I am glad that we will be able to get a residence visa for him. My younger son's residency is up for renewal, and I was worried that I would have to get visit visas for him as well. I have been able to keep my daughter under my sponsorship.

"It is always easier to travel when the children have residence visas in Dubai. This new rule is certainly a game-changer for parents like us."

Another parent rejoicing in the change is Zerin Ummer, whose son just turned 18.

"I grew up in Dubai, but we were three girls," she said. "So, my parents never had to think about the visa issues. Earlier this year, when we went to renew our son's visa, it never struck us that there might be an issue. The immigration officials told us that he is over 18, so the visa will be an issue.

"My son is still in school, so we filed a request on humanitarian grounds, and his visa came through. My husband and I worried about what we would do at the next renewal. For parents with boys, this news is a great relief."

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The Cabinet announced a slew of visa reforms ranging from a five-year Green Visa to introducing new categories under the 10-year Golden Visa.

The new system provides more benefits to family members, allowing expats to issue residence permits for their loved ones easily. Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age.

Green Residence visa holders can issue residence permits for their first-degree relatives. In all cases, the residency of family members shall be the validity duration of the original residence holder.


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