My wife and I used to live and work in Abu Dhabi and are planning to return for a visit after being gone for over two years. Our visas have both expired and we have been out of the country for more than six months. My employer says that my visa is cancelled, but it does not have the stamp that says “cancelled”. Will this be a problem when entering? Also, my wife cannot remember if her’s was cancelled when she left and there is no stamp on it that says “cancelled” but there is a stamp with a date, which may be the date she left. Does this sound like a cancelled visa or do they all have the same stamp? Finally, my wife left her bank account open with a small amount of money left in (less than Dh100). If that account has small fees for remaining open, what is the likelihood that this would prevent her entry? MI, USA
On leaving the UAE on a permanent basis all visas should be formally cancelled as even though they technically expire after having been out of the country for six months, they will still be showing in the immigration system as not cancelled and that can cause issues on re-entering the country. The responsibility lies with the employer as well as the individual, but it is a relatively simple procedure and all visas will be stamped “cancelled” in both English and Arabic once the process is completed. It sounds as if one passport simply has an exit stamp in it, which is not the same thing. To find out what is registered in the government systems, contact the relevant department for clarification and advice on what needs to be done to prevent problems on entry. In this case this is the Abu Dhabi Naturalization & Residency Directorate (ADNRD). The telephone number is +971 (0)2 446 2244. If a bank account was not closed on leaving the country it is wise to check on the status, as although accounts usually become dormant if there is no activity for six months, a bank may charge ongoing fees and these can add up over time, leading to a debt. Contact the relevant bank directly to obtain confirmation, even though it is unlikely that this would cause any issues. A bank would need to have registered a police case for there to be a problem on entry and would not be likely to do so if there is a very small sum owing.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only