UAE Federal Law Number 6 of 1973 concerning entry and residence of foreign national as thereafter amended by Federal Law No. 13 of 1996 regarding the Immigration Law (Immigration law) along with several ministerial decisions governs the rules and regulations pertaining to the issuance of visas in the country. Accordingly, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has promulgated a new rule for divorced/widowed women and their children. The new rule grants divorced or widowed women and their children to extend their visa for another year without a local sponsor at the General Directorate and Residency of Foreign Affairs (GDFRA). The new rule comes with a comprehensive change in the visa regulations in the country, which benefit the foreign expatriate widows or divorcees to manage their status in the country. The authority confirms that under the concerned scheme the visa can only be renewed once.

In accordance with the procedures highlighted by GDFRA, the visa will be processed within forty-eight (48) hours from the date of submitting the application to grant widows and divorced women an opportunity to sponsor their own or children's visa if they do not have male guardians to support them. In order to avail such benefit, it is pertinent to note that the visa of the applicants must be under husband/guardian at the time of either divorce or demise and the concerned visa was not expired.

Procedure for Renewal

The new rule lays down a procedure for submitting an application and the perquisites to be considered prior to registering for a visa extension. The applicants must submit an application form provided by the GDFRA along with an official divorce certificate or a death certificate as the case may be. The applicants must also submit the proof of their previous or existing visa such as the copy of their old visa or any proof for the family. In addition, it is pertinent to note that a nominal fee has been charged by the authority of AED 100 (UAE Dirhams one hundred) for extending the visa and another AED 100 (UAE Dirhams one hundred) for cancelling the existing visa.

Further, the new rule clearly specifies that the visa or residency period for the children will not exceed as that of the mother. Following are the conditions to be met prior to submitting a request for visa extension:

  • The women and the children must be under the sponsorship of the husband during the divorce or death, and such a visa should be valid;
  • Proof of divorce or death must be submitted;
  • A proof of availability of a house is required;
  • A certificate of medical fitness should be provided to the authority for the mother and children above the age of 18 along with their Emirates ID;
  • ealth insurance cards, if requested by the authority;
  • Tenancy contract in the name of the mother.

Conclusion

The concerned rule or scheme will assist the women who have lost the sole breadwinner of the family leaving her and the children in the legal limbo. As opposed to previous situations where divorced or widowed women do not have an employment visa were obliged to leave the country immediately post the divorce or death of their guardian, the new reform will provide additional time-period for the women to manage the situation and either seek for employment or leave the country. The concerned reform will allow women to settle until the legal proceedings with regards to their divorce or death are complete not leaving them in financial constraints.