New UAE Visa Rules 2023: Guide to Entry & Residence Permits

Navigate the updated UAE visa system with ease! Explore new entry visa options like job exploration and business visits, expanded Golden Visa categories for investors and entrepreneurs, Green Residence details for skilled professionals, and more. Gain insights into visa stamping changes and residency rights for families. This guide empowers you to pursue your UAE ambitions confidently.

Latest News on UAE Visa

Unified GCC Tourist Visa

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has taken a significant step towards enhancing regional tourism and economic collaboration by approving a unified tourist visa. This groundbreaking initiative will grant visitors a single visa allowing access to all six GCC countries, streamlining travel and fostering greater tourism integration within the region.

Benefits of the Unified GCC Tourist Visa:

  • Simplified travel: Visitors will no longer need to obtain separate visas for each GCC country, saving time and reducing administrative burdens.
  • Increased Tourism: The unified visa is expected to draw in more tourists to the GCC region, leading to increased economic growth and job creation.
  • Enhanced regional integration: The visa will promote cultural exchange and understanding between GCC countries, strengthening regional ties.

Implementation Timeline:

The unified tourist visa is currently in development, with implementation expected between 2024 and 2025. Each GCC country has to finalize its internal regulations before it can launch the visa.

Specific details and procedures, such as the validity period, fees, and application process, are still under discussion and will be announced closer to the launch date.

Expected Impact:

The unified tourist visa is expected to have a significant impact on the tourism industry within the GCC region. Tourism experts predict an increase in visitor arrivals, longer stays, and higher spending, leading to a boost in economic activity.

The unified GCC tourist visa will encourage and facilitate greater regional travel, empowering tourists to visit multiple GCC countries on a single trip. By eliminating visa barriers and facilitating streamlined travel within the region, this initiative has the potential to revolutionize the tourism landscape in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

New UAE Entry Visas 2023

The UAE has introduced about 10 entrance visas without a host or sponsor requirement. These visas are valid for 60 days after the date of issuance and have adjustable durations. They can be used for one or more entries, and they can be renewed at the same time.

1. Job Exploration Visa:

This visa caters to young and skilled professionals seeking job opportunities in the UAE. It eliminates the need for a sponsor, allowing flexibility in exploring various options. Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree and be a fresh graduate from a top university. This visa fosters a dynamic job market and attracts talented professionals to contribute to the UAE’s growth.

2. Business Entry Visa:

Tailored for investors and entrepreneurs, this visa facilitates the exploration of business and investment opportunities in the UAE without a sponsor. It encourages entrepreneurship and foreign investment, contributing to the diversification of the UAE’s economy. Moreover, this visa presents a valuable opportunity for individuals to explore their entrepreneurial ventures in a thriving and supportive environment.

3. Multi-Entry Tourist Visa:

Offering a choice between 3 and 9 months, this visa allows tourists flexibility in planning their visit. The option of single or multiple entries further caters to individual preferences. This visa caters to the evolving needs of tourists, promoting longer stays and boosting the tourism sector.

4. Family Visa:

This revised visa offers enhanced support for families residing in the UAE. Notably, parents can now sponsor their sons up to the age of 25, as well as disabled children with the appropriate permit. Furthermore, the government’s decision to sponsor unmarried daughters indefinitely reflects its commitment to family unity and stability. These changes demonstrate the UAE’s dedication to upholding family values and creating a supportive environment for families to thrive.

5. Entry Permit to Visit Relatives and Friends:

This visa simplifies the process of visiting relatives and friends residing in the UAE. Eliminating the sponsor requirement makes it easier for individuals to connect with their loved ones. This visa strengthens social connections and promotes cultural exchange.

6. Entry Permit for a Temporary Work Mission:

Designed for individuals with temporary work assignments, such as probation testing or project-based missions, this visa provides flexibility for businesses and organizations. Sponsorship by the employer ensures legitimate work purposes and protects employee rights. This visa facilitates efficient project execution and promotes business growth.

7. Entry Permit for Study and Training:

This visa caters to individuals pursuing training courses or internship programs in the UAE. Furthermore, sponsorship by licensed universities or institutions ensures the quality and legitimacy of the program. This visa fosters knowledge exchange and skills development, contributing to a more educated and skilled workforce.

8. Residence Permit for Humanitarian Cases

For the following humanitarian situations, the UAE will grant residency permits:

  • Women citizens with one or more children whose spouses were nationals of the United Arab Emirates and who passed away there
  • Foreign passports held by the parents or offspring of a UAE national
  • Spouses and kids of state citizens of the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) who own foreign passports

9. Dubai & UAE Re-entry Permit

Residency visa holders in Dubai and the UAE who’ve been away for over six months can now apply for a re-entry permit to avoid cancellation, allowing them to return within 30 days of approval. A valid reason and supporting documents are required. Applications go through the ICP website for all Emirates except Dubai, which follows a slightly different process. This new permit provides greater flexibility for residents needing extended time abroad.

10. UAE Entry Permit Extension

Holders of UAE entry permits can extend their stay for up to 90 days, depending on the visit purpose and other factors. A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity is required. Applications are submitted through relevant tourism companies or the ICP smart service system (account creation and fee payment required).

30-day extensions, costing AED 610 (AED 260 for GCC residents, passport copy required), come with additional fees for healthcare, study, and GCC companion permits. These permits have varying maximum extensions (90 days for healthcare, 60 days for GCC companions, and 90 days for study) and respective fees (AED 510, AED 260, and AED 610). Additionally, visit entry permits boast a maximum duration of one year, with the potential for extensions upon approval and payment of corresponding fees.

UAE Visit Visa Rules

Visa Extensions

1. 90-Day Visitor Visa Extension:

  • Holders of 90-day visit visas can now extend their stay for an additional 30 days, bringing the total possible extension to 90 days.
  • The extension can be obtained within the country, eliminating the need to leave and re-enter.
  • The fee is AED 600 (USD 163).

2. 30-Day Extension for All Tourist Visas:

  • All types of tourist visas are now eligible for a 30-day extension within the country.
  • The fee remains the same at AED 600 (USD 163).

3. Online Visa Extension and Termination:

  • Individuals can now extend or terminate their entry permits through a personal online account.
  • This applies to normal visas, green residency visas (valid for 2 months), and Golden visas (valid for 6 months with multiple entries).

4. Neighboring Country Entry Visa:

  • Residents of neighboring countries can obtain a 90-day entry visa at UAE border points.
  • This visa allows multiple entries with a maximum stay of 48 hours per visit.
  • Working in the UAE is not permitted on this visa.

5. Green and Golden Visa Holders:

  • Green and Golden visa holders, along with their families, can stay outside the UAE for more than 180 days without affecting their residency visa validity.

Overstaying Fines

Foreign nationals who overstay their UAE visit visa need an out pass, costing AED 200-300, to leave the country. You can obtain this document at airports, land borders, or the Al Awir Immigration office. Overstayers face fines of AED 50 per day, though a 10-day grace period applies. Airport closures or flight cancellations exempt visitors from fines.

Visit Visa Price

UAE and Dubai visit visa fees have gone up by AED 100, impacting both 30-day and 60-day tourist visas. An ICP customer service representative has confirmed this increase. As an example, a one-month visit visa issued by the ICA now costs AED 370 instead of the previous AED 270.

Unused Visit Visas

Holders of unused UAE visit visas are subject to specific regulations.

  • Cancellation: Visas must be canceled within the validity period (e.g., 30 days for a 30-day visa), incurring a cancellation fee (up to AED 300).
  • Extension: Alternatively, entry can be extended for two months for an AED 200 fee.

Ignoring these requirements can lead to negative consequences:

  • The UAE immigration system may reject future visa applications.
  • Uncancelled visas may incur unnecessary overstay fines.

Therefore, canceling or extending unused visit visas before the validity period expires is crucial.

UAE Residence Visa Rules 2023

While your residency visa is being processed, traveling outside the UAE is prohibited. Additionally, remember that many countries in the region require a minimum of 6 months of passport validity for entry.

Golden Visa

The UAE has enhanced its Golden Visa program, expanding categories, simplifying eligibility, and extending validity to 10 years across all types. Visa holders now enjoy unlimited sponsorship for family members and support staff, along with a 6-month grace period for visa expiry or cancellation. Potential applicants can check their eligibility in minutes through a convenient online quiz.

New Categories:

  • Scientists and Researchers:
    • PhD or Master’s degree from a top university in relevant fields.
    • Recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.
  • Skilled Professionals:
    • Valid UAE employment contract.
    • Occupational level 1 or 2 (Ministry of Human Resources classification).
    • Minimum monthly salary of AED 30,000.
    • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Exceptional Talents:
    • Talent-based, no requirements for qualifications, salary, or professional status.
    • Approval from a government entity is needed.
  • Real Estate Investors:
    • Property purchase worth AED 2 million (on-plan or completed).
    • 6-month grace period for visa expiry or cancellation.
  • Entrepreneurs:
    • Startup investor with UAE-registered SME earning AED 1 million annually.
    • Founder/co-founder of a previously sold project for at least AED 7 million.
    • Project/idea approval from the Ministry of Economy or local authorities.

Existing Categories:

  • Students:
    • Exceptional graduates from UAE secondary schools or top 100 universities.
    • Eligibility is based on academic excellence, graduation year, and university ranking.
    • 6-month grace period for visa expiry after completing studies.
  • Humanitarian Pioneers:
    • Distinguished members of international/regional organizations.
    • Outstanding members of public benefit associations.
    • Award recipients in humanitarian fields.
    • Distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts.
  • Doctors and Nurses:
    • Long-term residency in recognition of COVID-19 pandemic contributions.
    • Seven centers were established for visa applications.
  • Cultural Professionals:
    • Creative professionals aged 25+ (artists, singers, dancers, musicians, etc.).
    • No restrictions on education, employment, salary, or professional level.
    • A letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Culture and Youth is required.
    • Applicant must be present in the UAE during application.
  • Executive Directors:
    • Bachelor’s degree accredited by the Ministry of Education.
    • 5 years of experience in the same position.
    • Salary certificate showing a minimum of AED 50,000.
    • Valid work contract.

New Benefits for Family Members:

  • Parents: 10-year residency sponsorship with no deposit (if certified as sole caregiver).
  • Spouses and Children: Easier sponsorship process.
  • First-Degree Relatives: 5-year residency.

Green Residence

The UAE Green Visa now offers a 5-year residency pathway for skilled individuals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs, attracting talent and boosting the economy. Benefits have been expanded, including a 6-month grace period after visa cancellation or expiration to allow for smooth transitions. Additionally, Green Residence holders can now sponsor their first-degree relatives for the same duration as their visa, fostering family unity.

Skilled Employees:

  • Eligibility: No sponsor or employer required, valid employment contract, classified in occupational levels 1, 2, or 3 by Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), minimum salary of AED 15,000 (USD 4,083).
  • Benefits: 5-year residency, skilled professionals (level 3) receive a 90-day extended grace period after expiry.

Freelancers and Self-Employed Individuals:

  • Eligibility: No sponsor or employer required, freelance/self-employment permit from Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma, annual income from self-employment of AED 360,000 (USD 9,800) for previous two years, or proof of financial solvency.
  • Benefits: 5-year residency, caters to the growing freelancing industry and flexible work models.

Investors/Partners:

  • Eligibility: Approval of investment and proof of investment, total invested capital calculated for multiple licenses, approval of competent local authorities.
  • Benefits: 5-year residency (increased from 2 years), encourages investment and participation in commercial activities.

UAE Visa Stamping

The UAE has eliminated the need for visa stamping in passports, replacing it with the Emirates ID. This change simplifies the application process, allowing residents to submit a single request for their ID and residency visa.

Key changes:

  • No passport collection: Residents no longer need to submit their passports for stamping.
  • Unified application: One application covers both Emirates ID and residency visa.
  • Online amendment: Residents can now modify visa data (personal information, profession, etc.) online.
  • Automatic Emirates ID replacement: Visa amendment triggers an automatic request for Emirates ID replacement.
  • Smart service fee: A new AED 100 fee applies to visa and ID applications.

Online amendment requirements:

  • Website or app: Use the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) website or app.
  • Documents: Submit a colored ID photo, passport copy, signed amendment request from the sponsor, and Emirates ID copies (front and back).
  • Fee: Pay a Dh200 fee. (Refunded if application is rejected due to insufficient details or discrepancies.)

Extended Residency for Emirati Children

The UAE government has significantly improved the lives of children born to Emirati mothers and foreign nationals by extending the validity of their residency visas from three to five years. This decision not only streamlines their residency status but also ensures equal access to healthcare and education, fostering their well-being and integration into Emirati society.

Three-Year UAE Work Permit

In a move to ease financial burdens for employees, the UAE’s Federal National Council has approved a landmark increase in work permit validity. Shifting from the current two-year duration, permits will now be valid for three years. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation issues these permits, which are vital for legal employment in the country. Working without a valid permit is strictly prohibited.

Additional Resources

The new UAE visa rules offer greater flexibility, opportunities, and benefits for individuals seeking to visit, live, and work in the country. By understanding these changes, you can navigate the visa application process seamlessly and fulfill your goals in the UAE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I extend my entry permit if I need to stay longer than planned?

Yes, you can extend your entry permit depending on its type and purpose. Extensions are available for up to 90 days, and additional fees may apply.

How has the Golden Visa program changed?

The Golden Visa program has been expanded, offering 10-year validity across all categories and unlimited sponsorship for family members and support staff. Additionally, new categories have been added, including scientists, researchers, and exceptional talents.

What are the benefits of the Green Residence visa?

The Green Residence visa offers a 5-year residency path for skilled individuals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. It includes a 6-month grace period, the option to sponsor first-degree relatives and various eligibility categories.

Is there still visa stamping in passports for UAE residents?

No, visa stamping has been eliminated. The Emirates ID now serves as proof of residency and visa status.

How has the residency for children born to Emirati mothers and foreign nationals changed?

The residency visa for these children has been extended from 3 to 5 years, ensuring greater stability and access to essential services.

What is the validity period of the new work permits in the UAE?

Work permit validity has been increased from 2 to 3 years, offering greater convenience and reduced financial burdens for employees.

Disclaimer: This information serves as a general overview and may not be exhaustive. Please consult official government websites regarding visa requirements for the most accurate and up-to-date details. Remember, prices and fees can fluctuate. To receive guidance on specific visa applications and situations, consult with an expert.

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