How to KEEP your UAE Residence Visa: Deadlines and Exceptions

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In the United Arab Emirates (So beware: not only Dubai but ALL COUNTRY) the maximum period of time the residents are allowed to remain away from the country is 180 days. This is a period of the time defined by law and in case an employee stays outside the country for more than 180 days his/her visa will get automatically canceled. Re-entry Permits Historically, those who overstayed could obtain a re-entry permit which facilitates a return into the UAE without complications but they are now issued only on exceptional cases (medical or educational cases) so we suggest every employee to start counting 160 days when exiting the UAE, before having to come back to avoid visa cancellation. We suggest 160 days to be on the safe side in case miscalculation happens. Exceptions for Investor Visas Holders An exception to the 180-day rule exists and foreign nationals with a residency visa for investors can benefit from stays of up to 360 days away from the UAE. They can simply fly back every 12 months, as long as their visa has not expired. But not all the investors can enjoy the same privileges. In the UAE, investors can obtain their visas through a business established in one of the free zones or on-shore (mainland); they also have an option to invest in a real estate market and get a property investor visa. Due to specific free zone regulations, which trigger an employment-like relationship between the authority and the investor, it may occur that the profession field in the residency visa will read ‘director’ or ‘general manager’ and, in that case, the visa holder will not be exempt from the 180-day deadline. Some free zone authorities, issue the title of General Manager only to the Partner of the company, but also in this case, the holder of the General Manager visa is required to fly back to UAE every 180 days Visa Cancellation If no entry permit can be processed and the visa has been automatically invalidated, the foreign national will have to apply for a new visa should he or she decide to return to the UAE. But before doing that, the current sponsor must officially cancel the residency visa that has been invalidated. This will clear all the immigration records and will release the employment quota if the one who overstayed is an employee. Conclusion It is always better to consult with a trusted advisor or the free zone authority directly issuing your visa before making your traveling plans. At Plutus we suggest to start counting 160 days when exiting the UAE, before having to come back unless you are not specifically advised otherwise. Many consultants misunderstand this rule by thinking that the permanence in UAE  for an employee visa should be 180 days per year at least, while the deadline is not yearly but it is continuous, this means that the employee can come back to UAE every 160 days even for a very short period of time. In all cases, we always recommend you refer to a credible advisor before making your investment choices, much disinformation is still circling in the UAE while at Plutus all information is backed up with evidence and experience.