Overseas property

UAE residence visa cancellation in 2022

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Building in Dubai
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The following article provides the guidelines on how to cancel a residence visa in the UAE in a case of different visa types and revocation reasons. Tranio will explain what kinds of documents are required for visa cancellation, where to apply for it and how long it can take. The duration of the cancellation proceedings may vary in different cases. Following the instructions below you can save your time and energy when revoking your Emirati visa.

Whether you come to stay in the UAE with a work visa, on the grounds of permanent residence by investment or as a member of the main applicant's family, you will be issued the so-called residence visa, which is a renewable residence permit, effectively. This permit will have to be cancelled in case you decide to terminate your permanent residency in the country, which means being absent in the Emirates for more than half a year.

If you apply for the residence visa as an investor in UAE real estate, you will be fully independent of any local representatives: that is, the application and cancellation will be your responsibility. In all other cases, you are legally obliged to seek a local guarantor, formally called sponsor, and it is this person or legal entity that will apply for a residence visa on your behalf, and cancel it too, if required.

Remember that you will need to cancel your UAE residence permit formally even though its validity period is limited by default. Failing to apply for visa cancellation, you might have trouble trying to re-enter the country in the future.

You automatically lose the resident status if the visa term has expired or you have been absent from the UAE for longer than half a year, but legally you still have to apply for its cancellation in such cases too.

However, before we go into specific details for each case, we would like to stress that you will receive your Emirates Identity Card together with a permanent residence (PR) permit, no matter what type of residence visa you obtain. And you should keep in mind that this card will also have to be cancelled under any of the procedures described below.

Emirates ID
Emirates ID AMA Studio / Shutterstock

The ways to submit the application are the same in all cases, which is why we will explain them in a separate section at the end of this article.

Cancelling a UAE work visa (Labour Card)

In the case of a work visa, your employer serves as your sponsor, and you will need to notify him of your intention to terminate your permanent residency in the country. There is now a new law that stipulates that he cannot object to such a decision of yours, unless it violates some terms of your contract with him.

Next, it is him who will need to apply to:

1. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs for a cancellation of your residence visa;

2. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for a cancellation of your work permit, called Labour Card in the UAE.

The application package will also need to include your employer's letter of consent and the legal entity's MoHRE clearance certificate.

Cancelling a UAE work permit in case of changing jobs

If you merely want to change employers without actually leaving the country, you will still have to go through a basically identical procedure, since your residence permit is attached to your work visa. In other words,

  • Your current employer cancels your work permit and residence visa;
  • Your future employer applies for the new ones.

And you do not have to leave and re-enter the country in the process.

Your new employer will need to receive from your current one all the documents required for the application.

Family residence visa cancellation in UAE

If you come to the UAE with your family, they will receive PR permits too, and you will be their formal sponsor, no matter what type of visa you have. Therefore, you will need to apply for the cancellation of their residence visas before your sponsor does his part of the job.

All you need to do is submit the application to the GDRFA in the way you would in all other cases. This part of the process is pretty straightforward, and there will most likely be no complications at all.

There will be no need to cancel a family residential visa in the case of changing employers of the sponsor.

Residence visa cancellation for a person outside UAE

In general terms, one cannot revoke the Emirati residence visa from abroad unless the applicant has been residing outside of the country for at least half a year. But once a visa holder has been absent for six months, his or her residential visa will be terminated automatically, and the foreigner will be allowed to apply for the cancellation too.

In other words, if this is your scenario, just wait for the automatic termination of your visa and then apply for its cancellation, which you must do in any case, as we have mentioned in the introduction. The advantage of cancelling it this way, if you happen to be overseas at the time, is that you do not have to send your passport to the Emirates.

In case you decide to cancel your visa from overseas before its automatic termination, it is the original passport, not a certified copy, that you will have to send to the GDRFA.

According to the recently amended legislation, a foreigner needs no visa sponsors when the residence permit is obtained by investment in the UAE real estate sector. In other words, you will be able to go through the process on your own in any of the ways described in the relevant section below.

The cancellation of a visa obtained by real estate investment in the UAE seems to be the most sensible and hassle-free scenario.

Required documents of UAE residence visa cancellation procedure

1. Passports of a main visa applicant and his/her family members;

2. Emirates ID of a main applicant and his/her family members;

3. Cancellation letters from a main applicant and his/her family members;

4. In the case of a working visa:

  • The employer’s ID;
  • Letter of consent signed by the employer;
  • Employee’s written statement renouncing any financial claims against the employer;
  • MoHRE clearance certificate.

How to Submit the Documents for Visa Cancellation

Basically, your choices are pretty much the same as in any other application to a government authority in the UAE:

1. Applying in person – in this case, in the GDRFA and MoHRE;

2. Asking a reliable legal agent or your own attorney to do the job for you;

3. Submitting an application online via one of numerous services, such as ICP or Sharjah. Usually, we recommend GDRFAD for the following reasons:

  • It is the official online service of the UAE Department of Foreign Affairs;
  • The information is presented in a very concise and clear format, which is quite unusual for government sites;
  • All information is provided in English comprehensible for international users.

Visa cancellation costs and duration

The cancellation process normally takes a couple of days, plus one more day in the case of a work visa. Your sponsor will pay your cancellation fee for you, and you will have to pay 110 dirhams for each family member. And if you do it via the GDRFAD online service, you will pay:

  • Service fees of 60 dirhams in total;
  • Additional 100 dirhams if you apply for an express service;
  • 100 dirhams extra if you submit your application via the Zajel courier service.

Once the application is submitted, you might receive a notification that the documentation package is incomplete. You will have to send the required documents within a month from the date of application; otherwise, it will be cancelled automatically, and you are back to square one. And if the package is fine, you will receive a notification of it and the cancellation certificate via e-mail.

Your cancelled residence visa in the UAE will still be valid for another thirty days; after that, the authorities can charge fines for overdue stay with the following rates:

Duration of overdue stay in the UAE

Fines in Emirates dirhams

The first half a year

25 Dh per day

The following half a year

50 Dh per day

Overdue stay longer than 1 year

100 Dh per day

What to remember before cancellation of UAE residence visa

Preparing for the residence visa cancellation you need to make sure for that the following preparations are finished:

1. You should pay all your utility, medical and schools bills, as well as repay your bank loans if you have any;

2. Settle all financial matters with your employer and sign a confirmation letter that all due payments have been made;

3. Legally, your bank account has to be closed too, unless you only change employers.

As soon as you tell your employer of your intentions, he must and will notify the bank, and they will very likely freeze your account at once. Therefore, you will do well to draw all your money before talking to your boss.

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