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UAE reiterates visa amnesty is for pre-March job losses and overstays

June 08, 2020

A short-term amnesty for people who have lived in the country without a visa since before March 1 will run until August. Immigration officials on Monday sought to clarify details surrounding the scheme, which began on May 18 and runs to August 18. It targets people who were in the country before March 1 without a valid visa - such as workers with expired permits, jobseekers on expired visit visas and people working without any documents. It does not extend to people who have lost their job since March 1, who must pay a Dh200 one-off fee and a fine of Dh25 per day.

A third group - UAE residents who are in work but whose visas ran out during the virus outbreak - are unaffected. Their documents remain valid until the end of 2020.

Major General Saeed Al Rashidi, director general of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, said all fines would be waived as long as people were leaving the country.

“Expatriate residents and visitors are exempted from all fines, as well as the ban stamp," he said, in reference to a record that prevents someone from returning to the Emirates.

The only requirement is all travellers must have a valid passport and a flight ticket home.

The rules differ depending whether someone had a residency visa or was a tourist.

If the person seeking amnesty has an expired residency visa, they go straight to the airport without the need for further checks.

But if they were on a visit or tourist visa, they must arrive hours early.

Tourists leaving Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah airports must arrive six hours before their flight and in Dubai should visit the immigration department at the terminals 48 hours before.

Immigration staff have been placed at the airports to handle amnesty cases.

Families with dependents should ensure all family members leave together. People under 15 and anyone with disabilities do not have to go through the amnesty process.

A free-of-charge number - 800 453 - has been set up to help answer questions.