Massive changes are coming to the UAE’s visa system

new visa system Dubai passport stamp stock image

The UAE’s Cabinet has announced sweeping to visas across the seven emirates.

The announcement on Wednesday (13th June) is set to boost the economy and lower costs for the private sector, with an affordable new insurance scheme for workers to replace bank guarantees, and a six-month visa for jobseekers.

The Cabinet, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced new legislation that will release AED 14 billion in bank guarantees back to private companies. A new ‘worker insurance’ costing AED 60 annually per worker will replace earlier mandatory deposits of AED 3,000 for each member of staff. This will cover end of service benefits, vacation allowance, overtime, unpaid wages, a return ticket home and insurance of up to AED 20,000, in case of accidents of work.

New laws on visas


Families also benefit – exceptional university graduates will be granted two-year visas extensions. Anyone who needs to fly out of the UAE to change or renew their visas can pay to have this done within the country from the end of 2018, in a step aimed “at simplifying the process and easing the financial burden on individuals.”


visa changes tourism transit Dubai

Those who’ve remained in the UAE after their visa has expired have three months to make the most of the Cabinet’s decision on overstays. From 1st August to 31st October 2018, people who’ve exceeded the expiry date on their visa can leave the country voluntarily, without a “no entry” passport stamp, or apply for a new six-month ‘jobseekers’ visa, which the Cabinet says will “enhance the UAE’s position as a land of opportunities and a destination for talents and professionals.”

Anyone who enters the UAE illegally could also leave voluntarily, if they can prove they have a valid return ticket. Their passport will receive a two-year ‘no entry’ stamp, however.

new visa overstay

Good news for tourists – Dubai is a massive travel hub and anyone transiting through the UAE will have transit entry fees waived for the first 48 hours. Four-day transit visas will be available at passport control for AED 50.

Transit tourists new visas

It’s not the first big announcements about visas we’ve heard this year. Last month the Cabinet announced a massive overhaul of the residency system, with 10-year visas for key professions and 100 per cent foreign ownership of business outside free zones.

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