What is the change? The United Arab Emirates has implemented key visa reforms.

What does the change mean? Under rules that took effect in October, visitors are allowed to extend visit visas without leaving the UAE, children of foreign workers are eligible for visas after completing university or secondary school, and widows and divorced women may receive one-year residence permits from the time of their divorce or the death of their husband.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visits visas, residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Visitors to the UAE, including business visitors; students who have completed university or secondary school; women who are widowed or divorced.
  • Impact on processing times: The change to visit visa processes will save time by allowing visitors to extend their trips in the UAE without having to leave the country.

Background: The changes were announced earlier this year and took effect Oct. 21. In each case, the changes ease processes for foreign nationals who, under old rules, would have been required to leave the UAE. Key changes:

  • Visitors are allowed to apply for up to two 30-day extensions in-country, whereas previously visitors had to leave the UAE immediately upon the expiration of their visit visa.
  • Children of foreign workers are allowed to obtain one-year visas to remain in the UAE after completing secondary school or their university studies. These visas are renewable once for an additional year.
  • Women who are sponsored by their husbands and become divorced or widowed will be able to remain in the UAE for one year, whereas previously they were required to leave immediately.

Analysis & Comments: The changes are designed to ease visa and residence processes and will benefit visitors to the UAE, students and women who are divorced or widowed.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.