UAE launches amnesty program, offers 6-month visas

16 Aug 18

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The United Arab Emirates has opened a three-month amnesty period for foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas or are otherwise in the country illegally.

What does the change mean? Those who are seeking amnesty can either leave the country or regularize their status between now and Oct. 31. Those who choose to leave will be given exit permits valid for 10 days and will not be assessed fines. Those who wish to regularize their status will be eligible for six-month visas that will allow them to remain in the UAE and look for work. Former residents can also take advantage of the program and apply for visas during the amnesty period even if they were assessed an entry ban for previous immigration violations.

  • Implementation time frame: Between now and Oct 31.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas in the UAE, have had their visas canceled or are otherwise in the country illegally.

Background: The amnesty period, opened by officials Aug. 1, has already proved popular. Those who take advantage of the amnesty period to leave the UAE will have any fines against them waived, but will be assessed a two-year entry ban. Those who remain in the UAE after regularizing their status will be eligible for six-month visas that will allow them to look for work and register on the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization’s portal, although there is no guarantee that a job will be provided. Amnesty tents have been set up in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and foreign nationals in other emirates can take advantage of the program by visiting their emirate’s main immigration office.

BAL Analysis: The amnesty could potentially allow tens of thousands of foreign nationals to regularize their status, obtain six-month visas and look for work. It also exempts foreign nationals from overstay fines or previously assessed entry bans. Companies or individuals with questions about how the amnesty program works should contact BAL.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.