When thinking about a Middle Eastern trip, one of the first places that comes to mind for a leisure traveller is the UAE. It is also a popular destination for expatriates. Dubai, in particular, has an enticing allure for tourists and job seekers, and many changes have been made in recent years to make obtaining a UAE visa less difficult.
One of those characteristics was the ability to apply for a UAE visit visa extension without having to leave the country if a traveller wanted to extend his\her stay. However, presently if you are in UAE and have a valid visit visa to stay in the country and are considering extending that visa, there is a small catch: as with the new visa update, you must leave the UAE in order to apply for the visa extension. Here is a brief summary of the new UAE visit visa update.
The UAE visa extension benefit
Up until mid-December 2022, anyone with a UAE or Dubai visit visa could apply for a renewal without leaving the country. It should be noted, however, that this benefit was made available during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was no longer in force before 2020. The permission for this Dubai visa extension was granted so that visitors who were already in the country would not have to go through the hassle of leaving the country during pandemic times. Furthermore, many countries had closed their international borders, making visa extensions impossible.
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Majority of UAE’s population consists of expatriate, and ensuring tourists feel safe and secure in the UAE was also an important , as tourism is one of the UAE’s most important economic growth factors. As a result, to alleviate tension, this option was provided to ensure that visitors and expatriates are not caught off guard as to what to do if their visa is about to expire and needs to be renewed. With this visa renewal benefit, hundreds of expats earning a living in the UAE will not lose their jobs due to visa restrictions resulting from the Covid -19 pandemic. The visa extension rule has also made it easier for tourists to stay in the UAE and has given visitors confidence that the country is doing everything possible to make their visitors feel at ease. The visa extension from within the UAE was granted solely for humanitarian reasons due to the pandemic. Previously, visitors had to leave the country to renew their visas.
The reason behind updating the visa rule
Why is this UAE visa extension rule being overturned and disallowed if it was working so well for UAE travellers? One of the primary reasons for this UAE new visa rule to get implemented is that the UAE have implement many visa schemes in 2022 that will allow individuals seeking opportunities to stay for longer periods of time. There are freelance visas, five-year residency visas, and two-year work permits. As a result, there appear to be fewer reasons for them to extend their visas in short periods of time.
Another reason is that many people come on visit visas and stay longer without pursuing their goal of finding work, or simply abuse visit visa benefits, which the government clearly wants to dissuade. Now, also because international travel rules have relaxed, though the fear of COVID-19 persists, the UAE believes it is much better to return to its original visa renewal policies.
Options for those with active UAE visit visas
Those in Dubai on a visit visa can currently renew their visa in the emirate until the immigration system is upgraded. Dubai continues to offer Dubai visa extensions right now, but the other emirates have stopped doing so. It won’t be long before Dubai stops offering UAE visa extensions from within the emirate as well.
Those with a visit visa who are staying in another emirate and want to extend their stay in the UAE must leave the country, apply for an extension, acquire the visa and then re-enter. There are several ways to extend visa after exiting the UAE:
- One can apply for Dubai visa from Oman. They can leave the UAE and travel to Oman, which is the closest country to enter rather than taking a flight to their home country. Since you can enter Oman via the road, travel is also affordable. Once in Oman, apply for a UAE visit visa extension and then return to the UAE. However, if your nationality is from a country that requires an Oman visa to enter the country, you will need to obtain one before planning your trip to renew your UAE visa.
- Another way is the airport-to-airport visa renewal where you need to exit UAE via a flight and enter neighbouring country’s airport and then re-enter the UAE to receive a visa extension for an additional 30 days. However, return UAE flight tickets would cost a significant amount of money.
No UAE visit visa extension inside country rule went into effect on December 13, 2022, and all UAE visa holders will now have to exit the country to have their UAE visa renewed and functional. This is not a new rule; in fact, it was in effect until the pandemic brought the world to its knees. The visa rule of extending the visa without leaving the country was implemented solely to address the harsh realities and difficulties imposed by Covid-19. As is typical of human nature, travellers had become complacent with the new rule because it provided a significant benefit. Now, for various reasons, the UAE has reverted to the old visa extension rule, and it is certain that visitors to the UAE will take some time to adjust to these new rules.