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Death of the visa run?

Death of the visa run?

Visitors to the UAE have been told they must wait one month before re-entering the country. What does this mean for the legion of illegal workers in the Emirates, and those on daytrips to other Gulf states?

January 18, 2010 2:01 by

According to a recent report in Gulf News, visit, transit and tourism visas are only valid for single entry into the UAE – and entry permits will not be reissued until one month after an individual’s departure from the Emirates.

The report asserted that visitors who make daytrips to neighboring Gulf states are not allowed re-entry into the UAE. According to the newspaper, some visitors have faced difficulties in returning to the UAE after short sightseeing trips to Oman or Bahrain.

“A visitor needs to get a new entry permit to re-enter the country once he or she leaves the country for any destination. The new entry permit will be issued only after one month from the date the visitor leaves the UAE,” Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs (DNRD), told Gulf News.

There appears to be widespread confusion over this issue. Following the Gulf News report, many readers expressed alarm that they will not be able to take relatives and friends on daytrips out of the UAE. And the law could potentially spell the death of the ‘visa run’, which is currently used by thousands of illegal workers to prolong their stay in the Emirates.

There are certain points to make in an attempt to clear up confusion over this “re-entry rule”, which was introduced in 2008 in an attempt to crack down on visa runs.

First, Major General Al Merri told Gulf News that the immigration department will “take into consideration any exceptional circumstances [on a] case-by-case basis”. And this certainly seems to be the case, given that different emirates appear to enforce the law in different ways. Sharjah, for example, is known to be stricter in its interpretation of the re-entry law, in comparison with other emirates.

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  1. Oman Round Trips on January 19, 2010 6:07 am

    large group of tourists make ’round trip’ tours from the UAE into Oman (and back) by coach .
    Imagine how it works on this ‘ad hoc ‘ basis with 30 people on a coach trying to get re-entry from Oman into the UAE to catch their return flight back home from Dubai.

  2. Alex on January 19, 2010 9:36 am

    I don’t know who comes up with these laws, but whoever does really should get an award for idiocy. Plus why is everything applied differently from Emirate to Emirate. Isn’t this one country we’re talking about here?

  3. Dismanirie on January 19, 2010 4:10 pm

    Another idiocy is when the eGate card for Dubai would not allow you to depart from Abu Dhabi. Why on earth can the UAE not act united?

  4. Marcus Osborne on January 21, 2010 6:18 am

    Visa runs! I remember them! For some reason, when I had to do them back in the day, the only seats I could find were on flights to Bangkok! And I wasn’t the only one! I think the government should reconsider as it will have a negative impact on the Thai economy!

  5. AP on January 24, 2010 11:11 am

    UAE is shooting more amunition into its feet. What is required now, to bring the economy back in contention, is to allow foreigners, visitors freely into the country so that they spend more in the country and increase demand for products and services so that the economy revives. Instead, the rules are aimed at further killing the economic recovery. As such, the visit visa (on arrival basis, for GCC residents) cost is exorbitantly high at AED 185 (compared to AED30 equivalent in Oman) and now this further rule will jeopardise the position. I agree with some comments that the rules vary with different emirates! I think there are some vested interests within the UAE government that want to make the economy suffer more for whatever noble reasons they have.

  6. Peter M on January 25, 2010 1:33 pm

    Yet another idiotic rule that wasn’t thought through. Firstly, people who travel to Oman from the UAE for a few days and back, as one of the comments indicates, will become a huge problem at the border. second, what about people who do business with the UAE and fly in on a regular basis more often than monthly? Several large companies have staff from their head offices in EUrope, US and elsewhere that come in two or three times a month and then leave. This kind of mindless rule will sink the economy a bit further because it iwill give these companies an incentive to leave the UAE and go to Qatar for instance… whoever thought of this should be removed from his post as his is causing more damage to the UAE than good.


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