United Arab Emirates – Family Visas Can No Longer Be Put “On Hold”

Effective immediately, family members of principal residence visa holders can no longer apply to have their family residence visas put “on hold” if the principal changes employer and needs to apply for a new visa.

Previously, when a principal residence visa holder changed jobs and had their initial visa cancelled, any dependent family members could apply to have their family visas put “on hold”. When the principal’s new residence visa was issued, the family visa would be reactivated.

This is no longer possible. Instead, the family member will have their visa cancelled as well, and will have 30 days to obtain a new residence visa or leave the UAE, or risk overstay penalties.

This change affects family members of principal residence visa holders transferring from or to an employer outside of one of the UAE’s many Free Zones.

Principal visa holders changing from one job to another within the UAE Free Zones are not required to cancel their visa and obtain a new visa, so their family members are not affected by this change.

Family members of principal residence visa holders transferring from or to an employer outside of the UAE’s Free Zones should be prepared to leave the country if the principal’s new residence visa is not issued within 30 days, and apply for a new family residence visa once the principal’s visa is issued.