The Emirati government has implemented changes to its immigration system, updating requirements in many visa categories.

Visa eligibility and enforcement trends:

  • Foreign nationals applying for employment residence permits in free zones are no longer eligible for three-year permits; Emirati immigration authorities now offer one- or two-year visa employment residence permits in free zones.
  • To be eligible for the Job Exploration visa, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world, as defined by Emirati authorities.
  • Foreign nationals who overstay their visas must pay 50 AED (about US$14) per day of overstay (increased from 25 AED).

Visa and deadline extensions:

  • Foreign nationals who frequently travel to and from the United Arab Emirates can have their visa renewals or extensions processed 180 days in advance of their scheduled travel.
  • Golden visa holders can now stay outside of the UAE for more than 180 days without affecting their residency status. Previously, Golden visa holders were required to return within 180 days of leaving the UAE.

Salary requirements:

  • Emirati authorities decreased the salary requirement for sponsoring a parent to live in the UAE from 20,000 AED to 10,000 AED.

BAL Analysis: The Emirati government updated requirements to many of its visa categories in an effort to improve and simplify various immigration policies. Employers and employees should review the updated requirements and plan accordingly.

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

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