The UAE is known for having strict rules when it comes to visas and employment. Since the majority of the population here is expats and there are a lot of tourists and businessmen coming from different countries as well, it’s normal for the country to implement strict laws and regulations.
In relation to the UAE laws, overstaying is a common violation by expats and tourists. This happens all the time, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If you have just heard about this term and you are curious about what will happen, let’s explore more of this question: can you overstay in the UAE?
What does “overstaying” mean?
There’s nothing special about the term “overstaying.” This is as simple as staying in the UAE beyond the allowed timeline given by the authority. For instance, if you have a residency visa that is about to expire within 3 months but you failed to renew it and you plan on staying in the UAE for the next 6 months, you are overstaying for 3 months.
Overstaying typically happens when you failed to renew your visa or entry permit. If you are an expat or a tourist in the country, overstaying is a violation and you will pay fines and charges if not addressed properly.
Is it legal to overstay in the UAE?
The answer is simple—NO. It is not legal to overstay in the UAE if you are an expat or tourist. Whether you are holding a short-term or long-term visa, there is no exception. You are only allowed to stay in the country within the given period.
If your visa has a 6-month duration, you will only stay in the UAE within 6 months unless you renew your visa. If it’s not renewable, you should leave the country immediately after 6 months to avoid paying hefty fines.
What happens if I overstay in the UAE?
Overstaying in the UAE is a breach of law. In case you overstay, you will have to face penalties and charges. While there are some expats who do this unintentionally, there are foreigners who intentionally violate the law.
Note that if the authorities catch you, regardless if it’s intentional or not, you will be tagged as an offender and the penalties are inevitable. Plus, this violation can be recorded under your name and it can eventually affect your image when you apply for a job in the country.
What are the penalties for overstaying?
Overstaying with a tourist or visit visa
There are expats who use tourist or visit visas to find a good job or attend A business meeting in the country. Tourist or visit visas are short-term in general. Normally, tourists and businessmen are only allowed to stay in the country within 30 or 90 days, depending on the validity of the visa. If you have a tourist visa then you tried to apply for a job in the UAE, expect that there might be a situation wherein the recruitment process takes longer than normal. If that happens and you stayed for more than 30 or 90 days, you will end up violating the law.
According to the UAE Law, you still have 10 days as a grace period if you are holding a tourist visa. This means that after the expiration date, you can still stay within the country for 10 days without paying fines. But, on the 11th day, the fine will start running. You have to pay AED 200 for the 11th day and AED 100 for each day that you stay in the country from the 12th day after the expiration date of your tourist visa. On top of this fine, you need to pay AED 100 as a service charge before you exit the country.
Overstaying with an expired residence visa
You can also face charges even if you are already a resident and employee of the UAE. The grace period for residents is longer, up to 30 days. You can leave the country within the next 30 days after the expiration of your residence visa. However, if you stay more than 30 days, you will have to pay fines. On the 31st day, you will pay AED 125 and AED 25 on the succeeding days up to 6 months. If you are still in the country after six months, the fine increases to AED 50 daily. It will then be increased to AED 100 if you overstayed for a year.
Is overstaying avoidable?
Of course, overstaying is avoidable. The first thing you have to do to prevent overstaying and paying fines is to follow the rules. If you are in the country with a tourist visa, use the visa for its intended purpose. Follow the validity date and make sure that you will only stay within the allowable timeframe. Use the grace period only when it’s needed. Don’t take advantage of it as it can also affect your stay in the country.
To avoid overstaying, make sure to change the status of your visa. For instance, if you are under a tourist visa and you landed a good job within 30 or 90 days, remind your employer that your visa needs to be changed into a residence visa. Your employer should be aware of it so he can help you with the process. Usually, employers take care of the procedure. Wait for your residence visa and ensure that you are not violating any law while it is in progress.
Also, renewals are important. If you are planning to stay in the country for a longer period but your residence visa is about to expire, apply for renewal early. Don’t wait for the validity date to pass before you process it. If your intention is to leave after the validity period, then it’s best to prepare for your leave ahead of time so you don’t have to overstay.
When it comes to overstaying, it’s all about how you manage the use of your visa. The penalties are absolutely avoidable. You just have to do things timely so you can prevent overstaying. If you have friends and family in the UAE who need this information, don’t forget to share!