If you are living in the UAE and want to extend your stay in the Emirates, you can now apply for an in-country visa change. This is applicable for tourist visas that are about to expire, 30-day and 90-day on-arrival visas, prepaid visas, as well as canceled residence visas. Below is a quick guide to everything you need to know about the UAE visa change at present.
Change UAE Visa Status Without Exit
Generally, both long-term and short-term visit visas require you to leave the country to get it renewed, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process for business-related visits. This is where the Airport-to-Airport visa change policy by the UAE government emerged as a great help.
In Airport-to-Airport visa change, you can fly to any of the nearest middle-eastern countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, or Muscat and return to the UAE upon approval of a new visit visa. Yet with all the quarantine rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mandatory PCR tests, and insurance before flying has made it a complicated and costly process. Besides, many of the Gulf countries have imposed strict travel restrictions as well to limit the impact of Coronavirus as well, so this service may not be a feasible option currently.
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Apparently, the in-country options to change visas are more practical now. You don’t have to exit the country at all for extending or renewing your visa. You just need to contact a travel agency in the country where your tourist or visit visa was issued initially to apply for a new one. However, this has to be done within 3 – 5 working days prior to the expiry of your current visa. You will also need to submit the necessary documents and make the payment for the applicable fees online, which makes the process more convenient.
Documents Required for UAE Visa Change
You can apply for either a 30-day or a 90-day visa as per your needs. The costs to change visa will depend upon the validity of the new visa as well as the Emirate from where you are applying to change visa status. In any case, you are required to submit the below documents for processing your request.
If you are in the UAE on an on-arrival visa, then you will need to submit only a copy of your passport and a photograph. On the contrary, if a sponsor or relative applied for your current visa, then you may have to submit a copy of their residence visa as well.
Applying for a UAE Visa Change Based on the Reason
You may have to clarify the reason behind your application for a UAE visa change without exit as well. Typically, it can be one of the following scenarios.
Note that the procedure for applying for a UAE in-country visa change may vary depending upon your reason. For instance, if you received a 30-day on-arrival visa when entering the UAE, then you can apply for the extension of your visa for another 30 days post the first 30 days plus the 10-day grace period. You can also apply for a new 90-day visit visa if you are planning a longer stay in the UAE.
On the contrary, as a 90-day on-arrival visa is a multiple entry visa that has to be used within 6 months from the first entry in the country, you may need to submit additional documents to verify your stay when applying for an extension for your visa. Likewise, if you have a 48-hour or 96-hour transit visa, but cannot travel due to any unavoidable reasons, then you can apply for a visa change by submitting your entry and transit visa details.
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If you are a UAE resident with a canceled resident visa, you can apply for a change visa status to a tourist visa without exiting the country. This allows you to find new employment or stay in the UAE for some more time for certain reasons. A change from a temporary resident visa to a visit visa can help you to avoid any overstay fines as well. You only have to submit the necessary documents like your resident cancellation paper and residence details before the deadline to apply for the change.
Individuals with a prepaid tourist visa can also apply for an extension of their visas if their visa is expiring soon. This will need paying the applicable fees for getting a new prepaid visit visa, but without requiring the person to leave the country. In the case of visas canceled by the sponsors or employers in the UAE, such individuals can also apply for a new tourist visa without exiting the country if they want to extend their stay and look for other employment opportunities.
Mission visa holders, however, cannot apply for visa change status and will have to cancel their visa before applying for a new visit visa. This means the mission visa holder will have to leave the UAE in order to become eligible for the new tourist visa.
Check Your Visa Status
Due to the global impact created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE government has also announced that no fines would be levied for individuals in case they miss their flights to their home country. The Emirates is also allowing free visa extensions for tourists from certain countries because of the restrictions in traveling back to their home country. Therefore, it will be better to consult with a travel agency in UAE to check your visa status before applying for a UAE visa change.
Note: Please keep abreast of the latest updates on the government website as laws can change anytime.
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