We were extremely pleased to hear of the nation’s new visa rule that was introduced yesterday, which will benefit thousands of divorcees and widows during times of turmoil.

A helping hand to those struggling with their situation

The change allows those dealing with a death or divorce to remain in the UAE on a one-year residency visa, without the need for a sponsor, making life a little bit easier at a very difficult and emotionally challenging time. This move reflects the empathy and concern of the government for those struggling at a difficult time and will help families to better assess their individual situation and move forward.

We have worked with many families finding themselves in this situation and the change in rules provides a welcome relief.

Time to re-assess and make difficult decisions

At a time when life is turned upside down, the last thing you want to deal with is getting out of the country you call “home” within the month. Previously, women who had been widowed or divorced and did not have an employment visa, would have to leave the country soon after their divorce or the death of their husband.This one year extension shows empathy and compassion for those in this situation and gives families time to come to terms with the change.

There are so many formalities to be taken care of, the thought of removals and air tickets, legal documents and finances are not at the forefront of a family’s mind.

Finances might not be readily available

Shared bank accounts are usually frozen and can leave some women who do not have their own account without money until legal proceedings regarding the husband’s will have been finalised. Beginning either from the date of death or divorce, the residency visa extension which lasts a year also covers any children affected by the sudden change in circumstances. Families can stay together until all documentation and finances are sorted out, and the family has time to re-assess their situation.

Student visas also updated in new rules

The rules also bring regulations up to date for students looking to renew their visas. Children who have been sponsored by their parents and have turned 18, can extend their visa for a year after they complete their studies at high school or university level. This also allows time for newly graduated students to seek employment within the UAE.

“Students should submit their attested academic certificates for high school or university and other supporting documents that show that they have studied in the UAE,” said Brig Al Rashidi.

‘Humanity comes first in nation’s initiatives’

While there are certain administrative documents that must be provided, the changes in visa rules do generally ease the burden for those who fall into categories not covered previously.