Did you know that when a woman living in the UAE on her husband’s visa, is divorced or widowed, the UAE Government grants her an extension of one year on her residence visa? Read on for details of some general provisions related to the UAE residence visa. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: If you are planning to move to the UAE to live, work or invest, there are certain general provisions in the residence visa, which would be helpful to bear in mind.

1. Validity of a residence visa

Residence visas can be issued for one, two or three years, if your visa is being sponsored by someone else. However, the UAE has also recently introduced self-sponsored visas, which have a duration of five or 10 years. The five-year visa may be a Green Visa or even a retirement visa. The 10-year Golden Visa, on the other hand, is issued to certain categories of professionals, investors and individuals who have contributed to the UAE society. To know more about it, click here.

However, if you are on a dependent’s visa, which means that your residence visa is being sponsored by a family member, your visa validity cannot exceed that of your sponsor’s, according to, the official website of the UAE government.

2. Medical test

A residence visa requires applicants who are 18 years and above to undergo a medical test to prove that they are medically fit. They must also pass a security check and apply for an Emirates ID card from ICP.

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3. Required documents

You also need to submit certain documents, when you are applying for a residence visa. These can vary depending on your position as an applicant – whether you are a parent, sponsoring your child, or a student, planning to live in the UAE to study at a university here. Below is a list of documents that you may need to provide:

• A recent coloured personal photo with a white background for the dependent
• A copy of the passport of the dependent
• Emirates ID application receipt
• Housing lease contract (certified) or proof of owning a residence
• A copy of the sponsor’s passport with a valid residence permit
• Job contract of the sponsor
• A medical fitness certificate (for dependents above 18 years)
• Entry permit
• Attested birth certificate of the dependent (children)
• Mother’s residence photo (for the newborn)
• Medical insurance or health card
• Divorce or death certificate (for divorced women and widows)
• Proof of housing (for divorced women and widows)
• A proof of the woman’s ability to earn a living (for divorced women and widows)
• A certificate issued by the university or institute specifying the duration of the study (for students).

4. Extension of the residence visa for divorced women and widows

When a woman living in the UAE on her husband’s visa, is divorced or widowed, the UAE Government grants her an extension of one year on her residence visa, according to The extension starts from the date of the death of her husband or the divorce. This type of visa is renewable for one time only and does not require a substitute sponsor. The extension applies to the woman’s children as well, provided they were on their father’s visa at the time of their father’s death or their parents’ divorce.

In addition, the visas of the woman and her children must have been valid at the time of the death or the divorce the duration of the child’s or children’s residence visa should not exceed that of the mother.

5. Resident’s stay outside the UAE

The general rule is that if an expatriate resident lives outside the UAE for more than 180 days continuously, his or her residence visa will be nullified automatically. However, recently, the ICP announced a new permit, which allows UAE residents who may have stayed outside the UAE for more than six months to re-enter the country. Once you apply for this permit, you can re-enter the UAE on your existing residence visa, if your application is approved. If your application is rejected, you would be required to apply for a new residence visa.

Also, there are some exceptions which allow an expatriate resident to stay outside the UAE for more than six months and at the same time maintain the validity of his or her residence visa. The exceptions are:

• An expatriate wife of an Emirati citizen
• domestic helpers accompanying Emiratis having a scholarship for study abroad
• domestic helpers accompanying UAE patients travelling or sent abroad for treatment
• expatriate residents and their companions sent abroad for treatment, provided they submit a medical report approved by medical authorities in the UAE
• domestic helpers accompanying members of diplomatic and consular missions representing the UAE abroad and employees of such missions holding residence visas in the UAE
• expatriate residents working for the public sector sent by their employers to attend training or specialist courses, or those working in their employers' offices abroad and their families who are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
• expatriate students studying in universities or institutes abroad (as per Dubai rules). Check with the ICP if this applies to your emirate of residence.
• domestic helpers of members of the ruling families working in the homes of the royal family abroad and are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
• students enrolled in educational institutions abroad, who are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
• investors holding valid residence visas in the UAE
• residents sponsored by UAE diplomatic and consular representatives and their dependents
• any other person excluded under a decision from ICP, provided that person has a valid residence visa and pay the due fees.

6. Benefits of having a UAE residence visa

There are also several benefits of being a legitimate resident in the UAE, like easily opening a bank account, applying for a UAE driving licence and getting access to go government health services and health insurance. For a more in-depth guide on the benefits of having a UAE residence visa, click here.

7. Renewing your residence visa

It is also important to note that before your visa expires, it has to be renewed by you (in case of a self-sponsored visa) or your sponsor. A renewed visa will let you continue living legally in the UAE without incurring fines or facing legal consequences for the same.

However, UAE residence visas also offer a grace period after the visa expires, which can be for a month, and extend up to six months for certain types of visas.

The ICP has standardised the overstaying fines in the UAE. According to the new rules, visit, tourist and residence visa overstaying fees have standardised at Dh50 per day.

Remember that when the residence visa expires, your Emirates ID card issued by ICP also expires.

8. Cancelling your residence visa

If you are a UAE resident planning to relocate, you must ensure that you cancel your residence visa. This can be done by your visa sponsor, which could be your employer or your family member, or by yourself, in case you are on a self-sponsored visa.

If you are being sponsored by your company, the company would need to first ensure that all your end-of-service dues have been settled. Once you sign a letter clearly stating that you have received all your dues, the company can then proceed to cancel your work permit through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and then your residence visa, through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (GDRFA), if you have a visa issued in Dubai, or through the ICP, if you have a visa issued in any other emirate.

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If you are relocating as a family, once your visa is cancelled, you can then proceed to cancel your dependents’ visa.

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