With the start of the three-month UAE amnesty just over one week away, consulates and embassies across the country are preparing to deal with thousands of illegal residents who are expected to come forward to change their legal status in the country, or leave altogether.
Khaleej Times has spoken to legal experts - Barney Almazar, director at Gulf Law and head of Free Legal Aid at the Philippine embassy and consulate; and Ashish Mehta, managing partner at Ashish Mehta & Associates - to shed some light on what steps needed to be followed by four categories over-staying persons to change their status.
1: Illegals without passport
For overstaying individuals residing in the country without a passport, what first needs to be ascertained is why they no longer have a valid passport - Whether they have simply lost it, or if they have used it as a guarantee, for say, a bank loan. For the former, they could approach their respective consulate or embassy to process a pass-port renewal if they want to legalise their stay in the UAE. Individuals can then regularise their visas by getting a new sponsor by submitting their application through Amer centres for a new visa by paying an immigration fee of Dh500. If they want to travel back home, they do not need to apply for a new passport, but they will need to get a travel document in place. Illegal residents without a pass-port may approach their respective embassy/consulate and apply for an out pass. Once the embassy/consulate issues an out pass, beneficiaries will then need to approach Awir Immigration directly and get an exit permit with-out ban. The immigration will issue the exit permit and they can exit the country within 10 days after issuance of the permit. A fee of Dh220 is to be paid for the exit permit.
2: Those with pending bank loans
Those having criminal cases against them by banks or financial institutions or any other corporate bodies/individuals should get a waiver/release from the creditor to whom they owe money to. The creditor may submit the waiver/release letter before the court/public prosecution so it will enable the court/public prosecution to close the criminal proceedings and allow the individual to collect their passport from the respective police station or court.
Upon receipt of the passport from the court or police station, the said individual, who is staying in the country illegally, may first approach his respective embassy or consulate and thereafter, the amnesty centre, to complete formalities for leaving the UAE.
3: Parents with child(ren) born out of wedlock
In the case of an overstaying parent/s with a child/children born out of wedlock, the first thing that needs to be addressed is the legal status of the child. Essentially, this child will not exist as they have no legal document proving their status. If the parent or parents are overstaying and are from the same country, they can get the nationality of the child legalised, but only if they can prove, through a certificate, that they are legally married in their home country. However, if the baby is born out of wedlock, this is a criminally punishable offence.
The parents of the child will serve punishment and only after that the parents and their child will be deported depending upon the judgment issued by the court. In cases, where a child is born to parents who are legally married but are residing illegally in the UAE, they could avail the benefit of the amnesty programme. The UAE government always gives special consideration on humanitarian grounds specially in case of elderly people, sick people, women and children.
4: Absconders seeking amnesty
For absconders wishing to avail of the amnesty, certain steps apply depending on the type of absconding case. The first type is that of someone under the sponsorship of a company but have run-away and have had a case filed by the company. The second category covers people who already had the visa cancelled, but did not exit the country within 30 days and had an absconding case against them. The third is an overstaying tourist either on a travel agency sponsorship or visa-on-arrival status.
If there is an absconding report against a person by a company or travel agency, the immigration will remove the absconding report with payment of Dh500 and will issue the exit permit without a ban. In the case of tourists overstaying their visa-on-arrival status, they will simply have the overstay fine waived. firstname.lastname@example.orgQ