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Visa expiration or cancellation in Dubai UAE

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Work permit and residence visa cancellation Dubai UAE

Visit visa expiration

Before being used for entry to the UAE, a visit visa entry permit is normally valid for up to 2 months after being issued (the DNRD website says 2 months but allow 60 days to be safe, or less if one of the months includes February). That means for example, if a visit visa is issued on 01 September 2008, then you can use it to enter the UAE anytime from 01 September 2008 until 31 October 2008, after which you can stay up to 30 days (or 60 days or 90 days or whatever period it allows - see visit visas Dubai for a table). After the 2 month period, the permit expires and you will have to apply for a new one. This applies to entry permits for tourists, visitors, employment, residence, etc.

Work permit and residence visa cancellation Dubai UAE

Normally your employer will arrange cancellation of your residence visa and work permit when the time comes to leave the UAE, or when changing jobs. The procedure will usually involve closing bank accounts, returning credit cards, cancelling telephone subscriptions, electricity and water accounts, moving out of company provided accommodation, and anything else for which the employers sponsorship was required. If you are remaining in the UAE, you will have to negotiate some way of retaining bank accounts, telephone lines etc, with your employer.

Remember that if you are working in one of the UAE free zones, your employer and your sponsor are not usually the same - the free zone authority is your sponsor, not your employer, so the free zone authority is responsible for all your loose ends, although your employer might have a hand in helping you to tidy them up.

It's worth considering carefully your departure procedure before you hand in your resignation notice, because once you do tell your company, certain events may be set in motion which can cause complications for you, especially if you have a less than harmonious relationship with your employer. These are some items to deal with:

  • Money in the bank - will you still have access (bank accounts are often frozen when you resign, especially if you have credit cards and/or outstanding loans)?
  • Outstanding loans - do they need to be paid off and when?
  • Credit cards - will they be cancelled, and when do they have to be fully paid off?
  • Final salary and bonus / gratuity - how will it be paid and when?
  • Accommodation (if company provided) - when do you have to move out or can you stay if you want to, and how are the lease terms affected (rent may go up, there may be a transfer cost to change name)?
  • Telephone, internet, water, & electricity connections - if you want to retain them, how, or when are they cancelled?
  • Shipping goods to another country if you are leaving
  • School fees if paid by company
  • Residence or employment ban - will you be subject to either or both?
  • Changing jobs - will you transfer sponsorship, or will you leave country and return and make a new application?

From 01 January 2009, labour permit cancellation can be done at the DNRD (where residence visas get cancelled) instead of the Ministry of Labour offices according to a Gulf News report 26 December 2008: "One now will need just one step to finish the transaction instead of two, ..." said Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of the DNRD. Presumably this only applies in Dubai since the DNRD is the Dubai immigration department, and in other emirates two trips will still need to be made.

Doing a runner from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE

No we're not advocating that you contemplate doing a runner, or telling you how to do this, just saying that you should consider the implications carefully if you choose this option.

  • It's likely you'll be banned (blacklisted) from re-entering the UAE forever, or for a long time at least.
  • You'll of course lose any gratuity and final salary the company might owe you.
  • If you abscond with outstanding bank debts then you could be subject to arrest anytime you attempt to return to the UAE, even in transit, including by accident if your plane gets diverted from another country.
  • There are also potential consequences for other GCC countries - difficulties obtaining an entry visa and/or work permit, and sometimes possible detention, especially as communication improves between the various GCC countries.
  • There are unconfirmed rumours in 2009 that having one of the new UAE Identity Cards makes you more susceptible to detention in another GCC country if you have unpaid debts in the UAE. It must be stressed that this is an unconfirmed rumour only, and could well just be something spread by conspiracy theorists trying to scare people into not applying for the Emirates ID card.
Telephone lines

Employers may not have a problem with you keeping your telephone line, but if they do, a possible alternative is to transfer the number to a friend who has a residence visa in the UAE, or visit Etisalat and leave a hefty deposit as a temporary solution while changing sponsorship (note that it is unknown if this method is an officially sanctioned option, or just luck of the draw depending on who you talk to at Etisalat). Note that prepaid subscriptions (Al Wasel with Etisalat) should not need to be cancelled anyway, and some people get a second line as a back up in case their main mobile phone account is cancelled.

Bank accounts

Bank accounts are a different story, it would be unusual for an employer to allow you to keep an account open once you're off their sponsorship. As soon as you inform your employer that you will be leaving, it is common for them to notify your bank of your departure, and it is possible that your account gets frozen. Therefore you may want to withdraw any cash before you let your employer know of your departure, unless you're fairly certain that access to your account won't be denied. You could also consider opening a second account at another bank before you inform your employer of your departure. A company may only be interested in the bank account where your salary is deposited.

Accommodation

If you are in company provided accommodation, then you are supposed to be allowed to stay there for up to 30 days (not 1 month) after cancelling your work permit but check your contract carefully.

Visa cancellation grace period

Once your residence visa is cancelled, you also have up to 30 days (not 1 month) to exit the country, otherwise you will be fined 25 dhs per day for the first 6 months, 50 dhs per day for the next 6 months, and 100 dhs per day after that (visitors on visit visas who overstay are charged fines of 100 dhs per day plus an initial 100 dh charge).

  • According to Emirates Business 24-7 on 30 March 2009, the length of the grace period was under review and might be extended. By how much was not known, but Hani Rashid Al Hamli, the Secretary-General of the Dubai Economic Council (DEC), reportedly did say about when the change might occur ... "Could be in a month or two months, but it should be earlier this year,"
  • There were unconfirmed reports in May 2009 that the visa cancellation grace period had been extended to 90 days (not quite 3 months) to allow redundant workers more time to look for a new job in the UAE.
  • As of December 2009, there doesn't appear to have been any extension implemented to the 30 day grace period.
Cancellation request denied

According to a report in the Khaleej Times 28 May 2008, the employer must not refuse a worker's request to cancel their visa. This was in response to a complaint from a secretary in Abu Dhabi that her employer would not cancel her visa. "The worker should abide by the law informing the employer before the notice month that he/she will resign. The sponsors have no right to detain the workers like this," said Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi, the Executive Director of the Inspection Section at the Ministry of Labour (MoL) in Abu Dhabi. If a company will not cancel a visa, the employee should file a complaint at the Disputes Department at the MoL.

Negotiation

As with many rules and procedures in Dubai, you may find a degree of flexibility in how company policies are applied - a good reason to stay on the right side of your PRO and other administrative staff at your company.

Tourist & visit visa cancellation

Normally there is nothing a visitor needs to do to cancel their visit or tourist visa. It happens automatically when you leave the country (which means, unless you have a multi-entry visa, you have to apply for a new visa if you want to return to the UAE).

If you have a visit visa because someone has sponsored you, they will have left a deposit with the immigration department and will be able to reclaim it once you have left the country. There's nothing the visitor needs to do, the immigration department will have a record of the visitor's departure, however the sponsor does need to present the receipt they were given at the time of the visa application, before their dosh will be returned.

Last update Tuesday 14-Sep-2010
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