What is the change? The United Arab Emirates has changed the way it calculates the validity of visas on arrival such that the validity period does not restart when the visa holder exits the country.

What does the change mean? Under the change, 30-day visas on arrival will remain valid for 40 days from the date of issuance (30 days plus a 10-day grace period), regardless of whether the visa holder leaves the UAE or not. Those who remain in the UAE past the 40-day period, even if they have left the country in the interim, will face a penalty of 200 dirhams (about US$55) plus 100 dirhams for each day of overstay.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Thirty-day visas on arrival.
  • Who is affected: Nationals eligible for 30-day visas on arrival, including nationals of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. The change does not affect 90-day visas on arrival.
  • Business impact: Business travelers should be sure to renew their visas before they expire in order to avoid overstay fines. Visas are valid for 40 days (including the 10-day grace period), and the validity period no longer resets when a foreign national leaves the country.
  • Next steps:Visa holders can contact the AMER service call center to check how much time they have remaining on their visa.

Background: The new rule appears to have been put in place this summer without an official announcement. The change will primarily affect frequent travelers to the UAE who are eligible for 30-day visas on arrival. The visas are available to nationals of the following countries:

Andorra Hong Kong Monaco South Korea
Australia Ireland New Zealand United Kingdom
Brunei Japan San Marino United States
Canada Malaysia Singapore The Vatican

Under the new rules, the visas will effectively function as a 40-day, multiple-entry visa. A visa issued on Sept. 1, for example, would only remain valid through Oct. 10 (40 days later), even if the foreign national leaves and re-enters the UAE in the interim. In this scenario, the only way for foreign nationals to reset the validity on their visa validity would be to apply for a renewal or to leave the UAE on or before Oct. 10 and re-enter on or after Oct. 11, once the 40-day period ends.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals visiting the UAE on a 30-day visa on arrival should take note of the change in how visa validity is calculated. Those who do not renew their visas when necessary may accumulate steep fines quickly, as fines of 100 dirhams per day will be added on to an initial 200 dirham fine.

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

Copyright © 2016 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

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seven offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP