family law


April 07, 2019



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UAE Federal Law No. 29 of 2021 On the Entry and Residence of Foreigners, along with several Ministerial Decisions, governs the rules and regulations about the issuance of visas in the country.

Accordingly, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship promulgated a new rule for divorced/widowed women and their children. The new rule granted divorced or widowed women and their children to extend their visa for another year without a local sponsor at the General Directorate and Residency of Foreign Affairs (GDFRA). The new rule came with a comprehensive change in the visa regulations in the country, which benefited foreign expatriate widows or divorcees to manage their status in the country. The authority confirmed that under the concerned scheme, the visa could only be renewed once.

Following the procedures highlighted by GDFRA, the visa may be processed within forty-eight (48) hours from the date of applying to grant widows and divorced women an opportunity to sponsor their own or children's visa if they do not have male guardians to support them. To avail of such benefit, it is pertinent to note that the visa of the applicants must be under the husband/guardian at the time of either divorce or demise and the concerned visa has not expired.

Procedure for Renewal

The new rule lays down a procedure for applying and the perquisites to be considered before registering for a visa extension. The applicants must submit an application form provided by the GDFRA along with an official divorce certificate or a death certificate as the case may be. The applicants must also submit proof of their previous or existing visa such as a copy of their old visa or any proof for the family. In addition, it is pertinent to note that a nominal fee may be charged by the authority.

Further, the new rule specifies that the visa or residency period for the children will not exceed that of the mother. The following are the conditions to be met before submitting a request for a visa extension:

  • The women and the children must be under the sponsorship of the husband during the divorce or death, and such a visa should be valid;
  • Proof of divorce or death must be submitted;
  • Proof of availability of a house is required;
  • A certificate of medical fitness should be provided to the authority for the mother and children above the age of 18 along with their Emirates ID;
  • Health insurance cards, if requested by the authority;
  • Tenancy contract in the name of the mother.


The concerned rule or scheme will assist the women who have lost the sole breadwinner of the family leaving her and the children in legal limbo. As opposed to previous situations where divorced or widowed women who did not have an employment visa were obliged to leave the country immediately post-divorce or death of their guardian, the new reform provides additional time-period for the women to manage the situation and either seek employment or leave the country. The concerned reform allows women to settle until the legal proceedings about their divorce or death are complete, not leaving them in financial constraints.

Legal Update:
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.

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Many thanks for this very interesting and detailed article. When you mention that the visa can be renewed once, do you mean that it is the new visa under the scheme which after one year can be renewed for another year only (meaning maximum 2 years in total after divorce/death)?
As per the new visa rule, divorced women, widows and their children may apply for one-year residence visa extension without the need of a sponsor from the date of death of the husband or divorce. The aforesaid extension will be granted only once and is subject to the Immigration Department's discretion.

Should you have any further question, please do not hesitate to meet with us for a detailed discussion in our office.   Dr. Hassan Elhais

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