Amnesty seekers at the Al Aweer Federal Authority for identity and citizenship on the first day of amnesty, 1st August 2018. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The six-month visa granted to amnesty seekers entitles them to stay in the country, but it does not allow them to exit and come back, a senior official said yesterday.

Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, acting director-general for Foreigners Affairs and Ports at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, said unlike the regular, sponsored residence visa, the temporary six-month visa granted to amnesty-seekers does not entitle them to the same privileges and rights.

“The temporary visa only entitles amnesty-seekers to stay in the country for six months, but they cannot leave the country and come back. If they leave, the visa will be cancelled automatically,” Brigadier Al Rashidi said.

Brigadier Rashidi categorically dismissed what was published by a daily newspaper on Thursday.

He said those who wish to come back need to obtain a residence visa for work or a tourist or visit visa.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has recently extended the amnesty for one more month to December 1.

The authority said that the heavy turnout of undocumented residents at the diplomatic missions of the foreign countries and Amnesty Centres and slow procedures at some of the diplomatic missions of foreign countries have prompted the government to extend the amnesty.

The extension will provide more time for the amnesty-seekers to regularise their residency status to stay in the country or leave without paying fines or getting an entry ban.

Brigadier Al Rashidi said the temporary visa is granted without a visa is affixed onto the holder’s passport.

He added the law does not allow the holder of this visa to work unless he or she gets a work opportunity by legal means and regularises his status and transfers to the residence category while the visa is valid, or to leave the country before its expiry.

Brigadier Al Rashidi said the authorities will not offer any leniency to the residency-law violators after the extended amnesty period.

Making life easier

An extensive inspection campaign will be initiated across the country to arrest residency-law violators and they will be prosecuted as per the laws of the country and penalised for the whole period of violation with imprisonment followed by deportation, Brig Al Rashidi said.

He said the extension comes under the directives of the country’s leadership to make all efforts to help all residents and make their life easier.

The authority also clarified that those who will be leaving the country on exit-passes can legally return to the country and there will be no entry ban on them. Even absconders who ran away from their sponsors can leave the UAE without getting the entry ban

However, those who entered the UAE illegally [without a visa] can re-enter the country after two years only.

He said all nine Amnesty Centres across the country will continue to welcome amnesty-seekers who wish to regularise their residency status or leave the country.

The initiative aims to make the “Emirates free from violators”. All undocumented residents can avail of this opportunity, the official said.

Brigadier Al Rashidi called on clients and the media to take news from their official sources and refrain from resorting to interpretation, rumors or inaccurate information, because this harms the interests of the customers and leads to misleading them

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, he said, can be contacted via the call center (80080), or by visiting one of the nine centers set up across the country to receive and serve those who wish to benefit from the amnesty.