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UAE: Residency visa holders staying outside country for over 6 months can now apply for re-entry permit

Residents can apply for the service on the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) website

UAE residency visa holders who stay outside the Emirates for more than six months may now apply for a permit to re-enter the country, Khaleej Times can reveal. Such residents will need to specify a reason for having stayed outside the country for that long and may need to furnish proof for the same. Travel and typing centre agents confirmed having received a notification to this effect.

Residents can apply for the service on the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) website. The service is called ‘Issue permit for staying outside UAE over 6 months’ and can be found under ‘smart services’.

The applicant can re-enter the country only after getting an approval email from the ICP. The approval process takes about five days.

To avail of the service, applicants must enter their details and that of their sponsors, as well as their passport and residency-related information. A mandatory field on the application seeks the reason for staying outside the country for six months or more.

Abdul Gafoor, general manager of Al Mas Businessmen Service, confirmed that the new system has been put in place. “An in-person system used to be in place earlier before Covid-19, but now it has been unified and can be done online.”

T.P. Sudheesh, general manager, Deira Travels, also confirmed having received the notification. “There is an approval process that residents need to follow. This is available on the e-channels of the ICP.”

Residency is typically cancelled automatically if its holder has been outside the country for 180 days. An exception to the rule was Golden Visa holders, who can remain abroad for as long as needed without it affecting their residency status.

The new entry permit system is the latest in a string of changes to the visa and residency system implemented recently. The fees to avail of ICP services, including those to issue visa and Emirates IDs, went up by Dh100 earlier this month. Visit visas can no longer be extended within the UAE, with holders having to exit the country and come back on a fresh visa. The ICP also recently standardised the fine on overstaying visas in the country to Dh50. Tourist and visit visa holders who overstay will pay Dh50 a day instead of Dh100, and those overstaying on a residency visa will have to pay double — Dh50 a day instead of Dh25.

The UAE’s largest entry and residency visa reforms went into effect in October last year. The reforms cover all aspects of residency, including an expanded Golden Visa scheme; a new five-year Green residency; a multiple-entry five-year tourist visa; and job hunting entry permits.

Khaleej Times

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