The word ‘ex-pats’ comes from the word ‘expatriate.’ It refers to the people who choose to reside in any other country in the world besides their own native country. There are a lot of ex-pats in the United Arab Emirates. Most of them reside in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The UAE, some of the most prestigious universities in the world, and people all over the globe arrive here to study. However, there has been a change in the new visa and residency regulations for ex-pat students. The change was brought by the prime minister and the ruler of Dubai, Your Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It allows ex-pat students to now bring in and support their families in the UAE. However, they need to be financially stable to do so.
About the Student Visa
While the change has been a blessing for many ex-pat students, student visas are not issued to everyone. As an ex-pat student, you need to be over 18 years of age and reside in UAE to get a student visa for a year. If you show an outstanding performance, you can increase your visa to up to 5 years.
However, securing a student visa in UAE is not easy. You need to fulfill the key requirements. The eligibility criteria are:
- For a freshman student visa
They need to get an official letter from the university that you plan to study in the UAE. Only then can they apply for a Freshman Student’s visa.
- For older students
For students who have cleared the Freshman year, there are a few other things that they have to take care of. You will need a continuation certificate from your previous institution. Apart from that, you need to produce a medical fitness certificate, a Vida sponsor ( parent or relatives or the university), and an approval letter from the GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs).
How can an ex-pat student increase their student’s visa?
A student visa can be extended for ex-pat students who show outstanding performance in their respective universities in UAE. This decision was announced on 24th November 2018. The visa benefits will also benefit the family members of the ex-pat students. The student’s visa can be extended up to 5 years for :
- For School Students
If the ex-pat student graduate with at least a 95% from either a public or private secondary school.
- For University students
It would be best if you had a GPA of 3.75 from any university, inside or outside UAE.
Securing a student’s visa by expatriates who live in the UAE
The UAE laws of expatriates who want their children to study in the country are a bit tricky. The rules are different for female and male students.
The laws suggest that male students cannot be sponsored by UAE expatriates if they are above 18 years of age. The only exception is when a male child attends a ‘higher educational’ institution in the UAE or outside the country for a minimum one year course. There should be suitable documentation to support their claim and prove their attendance record at any higher educational institution. There are, however, no rules that discourage expatriates from sponsoring their female child’s education in the UAE.
The UAE administration has also introduced several new rules. On 21st October 2018, if a student completes 18 years of age or has graduated from any university/ secondary school, he/she will be granted a one-year residence visa. The parents need not place any bank deposits. Only AED1000 needs to be paid when the visa is being issued or renewed. This type of visa can be renewed for another year, depending on the existing rules. To avail of this visa, attested copies of graduation certificates are to be submitted to the administration.
A family residency that can be sponsored by Expatriates
No matter their job titles, if UAE expatriates have a valid residence visa, they can sponsor a residence visa for their family members. The job title is no more a criterion since March 2019. They need to earn a minimum amount of AED 3000 (plus accommodation ) or AED 4000 to apply for family residency. They will get only 60 days, after they enter the UAE, to apply for family residency. The visa will last for 2 to three years, depending upon the resident’s labor contract, type of job, and capacity to be an employer and employee. However, if the family members are above 18 years of age, they need to pass a medical fitness exam.
But the laws are a little biased in UAE. If the father meets all the required criteria, then the mother cannot sponsor the residency visa for the rest of the family. It is the duty of the father. The rules are also different for expatriate employers and expatriate employees. While employees get a visa for a maximum of one or two years, the expatriate employers issue a visa for a minimum of three years. For Muslim expatriates, the laws are strict when sponsoring a family residency for two wives. However, if the man meets the conditions listed in the GDRFA, it is not impossible.
However, the rules can change at any point in time. It is advisable to keep an eye out on Dubai GDRFA and The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
What is the medical fitness test all about?
Whether it is a student’s visa or family residency, it can be observed that a medical fitness test is mandatory. You need to undertake one if you plan to live in the UAE and you are above 18 years of age.
The medical tests will be conducted even if you are applying for a renewal of your visa. You will be tested for two kinds of infectious diseases. The first one will be for testing HIV. Blood will be drawn from your body, and results are to be submitted to the authorities. The second test is to check for pulmonary tuberculosis, where an x-ray of your chest will be assessed. In case one is infected with one of the diseases, they will be deported back to their home country and not granted a visa.
UAE is recently planning to increase its tourism sector, probably to boost the industry after the covid-19 pandemic. But their top priority is public health, and hence, there are strict laws that one needs to follow to gain access to this country.