The UAE government has implemented its amnesty program this 2018 aimed at either sending people back to their home countries without a ban, or allowing them to stay in the country to work legally. Others who need more time to land a job may also grab this opportunity.
As the amnesty program continues, The Filipino Times spoke to Atty. Barney Almazar, Director at the Corporate-Commercial department at Gulf Law and Nasser Aljehaimy from Tas-heel’s Customer Happiness Center to clarify the top 10 most frequently asked questions by Filipinos about the program.
1. I am an amnesty seeker. Where should I go?
With conflicting information about where to go, Atty. Barney Almazar sets the record straight: “Those who are planning to avail of the amnesty to exit the country or go home, proceed to Al Aweer. Those planning to stay in the UAE should proceed to Amer centers / Typing centers.”
Filipinos planning to secure the 6-month visa may proceed to Amer centers for Dubai-based visa holders or to the Tas-heel centers for the Abu Dhabi-based amnesty seekers.
2. What should I prepare?
Filipinos should always bring with them their passport. However, if the passport is unavailable and they wish to go home, they can secure a travel document free-of-charge from the Embassy or the Consulate.
They are also advised to prepare copies of passport-sized photos and to bring their own pens to fill out several forms. For those going home, they should prepare around Dh 200+ that will be refunded by the Embassy or the Consulate.
3. I don’t have money for the ticket – how can I go home?
For those who don’t have any police, civil, or criminal cases and don’t have the financial capacity to exit the UAE, the Philippine Embassy and the Consulate have already announced that the Philippine government will be shouldering all the necessary fees such as payments for the travel document, exit pass, and travel ticket. All you need to do is to prepare the items mentioned above and to proceed to the Embassy or the Consulate.
4. I am currently in tourist/visit visa and it expires during the amnesty period (August 1 onwards). Can I apply for amnesty to avail a 6-month visa?
Almazar explains that this is not possible. “The 6-month visa is only for those who have overstayed in the country till July 31st and have availed amnesty,” said Almazar.
Atty. Barney Almazar
5. My previous employer cancelled my visa and the grace period ends during the amnesty period (August 1 onwards). Can I apply for amnesty to have a 6-month visa?
This is not possible since the amnesty only covers a period until July 31st.
6. My previous employer filed an absconding case against me during the amnesty period (August 1 onwards). Can I apply for amnesty to avail a 6-month visa?
See #4 and 5.
7. I have a police/civil/criminal case. Am I qualified for amnesty?
Atty. Almazar said that those who have cases may apply for amnesty but clarified that all of their cases must be cleared first. “Kailangan cleared ang kaso bago makapag-apply ng amnesty. Pero kung nabigyan ng travel ban, hindi rin makakapag-apply ng amnesty,” explains Almazar.
8. I have children born out of wedlock. Can we avail the amnesty program to head home?
Children born out of wedlock can only avail of amnesty once the investigation is finished and their cases have been cleared. “Kailangan ma-establish at magawan ng documentation ang mga bata – sino ang mga magulang nila? Saang bansa sila pupunta?” Almazar said. He also mentioned that the parents will have to serve jail terms and undergo hearings to clear their case.
9. I want to stay in the UAE but my passport is expired. What should I do?
Filipinos should head to the embassy or the consulate to renew their passports. Depending on the volume of applications, it takes them around 4-6 weeks to release it.
Tas-heel Abu Dhabi’s Nasser Aljehaimy told TFT that those who seek to secure their 6-month visa should have their passport and passport-sized photo ready and prepare money for the typing service. “When they arrive at Tas-heel center, they should get their number to process their visa. The visa will be sent to them via email within 5-10 working days. They don’t need to come back here,” explained Aljehaimy.
10. I overstayed / I had an absconding case but I am now in the Philippines. Can I avail of the amnesty to go back to the UAE?
Former residents who had entry ban for either overstaying or absconding may return during the amnesty period under a tourist/visit/residence/investor visas provided they don’t have any pending legal cases.