Amnesty deadline lengthened as thousands apply to extend stay in UAE
Since the beginning of the UAE visa amnesty, thousands of residents with expired documents are taking advantage of the 6-month period to find work and extended their stay in the UAE.
The amnesty, that began in August and has been extended until December 1st, allows those with expired visas a grace period to settle their status or leave the UAE voluntarily without fines or legal repercussions. A six-month self-sponsored visa can be obtained by those who have overstayed.
Approximately 1,800 residents have been issued short-term passports by the Indian Embassy and consulate in Dubai and Abu Dhabi since the amnesty began.
According to the Indian ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri, “A lot of people on expired passports have renewed their passports because of the six-month window for them to find a job.”
Short-term passports can be issued immediately and are valid for one or two years, as compared to a standard Indian passport which is valid for 10 years.
The Indian embassy has also provided approximately 4,000 emergency certificates during the amnesty. Emergency certificates are a one-way ticket out of the country issued to people who have lost their passports or whose documents have been stolen or damaged. It is not possible to get a visa issued on an emergency certificate.
According to the Indian ambassador, many people applying for emergency certificates are in desperate situations after enduring tough experiences. Often unskilled and semi-skilled blue-collar workers are exploited by Indian agents or UAE employers offering illegitimate jobs.
As part of the amnesty, confiscated passports are being returned to allow different nationalities to finalize their status. Of the 2,655 passports received from all immigration offices across the Emirates, 629 identities have been verified and passports returned.
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