Those who have overstayed their UAE visas are relieved as they now have until end of year to legalise their status or exit the country without having to pay fines.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) on Tuesday announced that the visa amnesty scheme has been extended until December 31, 2020.
The short-term amnesty, introduced on May 14, was supposed to end on November 17.
The FAIC said illegal residents, whose visas expired before March 1, would have their fines waived off if they exit the UAE on or before the end of December.
All penalties and restrictions involving Emirates IDs and work permits shall also be lifted, said Major-General Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, ICA’s Director-General for Foreigners Affairs and Ports.
Thanking the leadership for the kind gesture, Maj-Gen Al Rashidi said the extension comes in line with a directive to give visa violators another chance to legalise their status.
“It’s a boon for me”
Jackie M., an Indian national, wanted to fly out on November 17, the previous deadline of the visa amnesty scheme, but couldn’t as her Covid-19 test result was delayed. The amnesty extension has proved to be a boon for me, she said.
“My flight had been scheduled for Tuesday morning, but I couldn’t travel without the Covid-19 result. I had to change the flight date to Wednesday to first get the test result. But I have been worried I would face hassles at the airport since amnesty was ending today,” she added.
A.S, a Filipino, said his visa had expired in 2018 and he was unable to renew it or exit the country because he was jobless and didn’t have money with him.
He wanted to exit the UAE during the current amnesty scheme and go back to Philippines. But his friends, who would have helped him with the money to buy the air ticket back home, were affected financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is good news that the amnesty scheme has been extended. I am hopeful I will be able to get some money in the coming weeks and buy the air ticket so I can exit the country without facing problems,” he said.
The residence visa of Aisha M, an Ugandan national, expired in February 2020, but she had some issues with her former employer and could not exit the country over the recent months.
“I am now trying to settle the issues with my employer so I can avail of the new amnesty scheme. I want to exit the country and return on a new visa so I can look for another job,” she pointed out.
Authorities said offenders wanting to leave the UAE under the current amnesty scheme must have a valid passport and a flight ticket taking them home as the only requirements.
Unlike in the previous amnesty schemes which required prior registration at amnesty centres, this time those seeking amnesty after their residency visa had expired can go straight to the airport and fly out.