‘My contract has expired but I haven’t received my new visa and Emirates ID yet. Should I be worried?’

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I am a Dubai resident and for the past three years have been working as a dock attendant. My contract expired on January 30. Before the expiry date, I received a message from my company advising me that my documents needed to be renewed and was told to go for my medical on December 17, 2020.

I am still working, but haven’t received my visa and Emirates Identity Card yet. I have asked the company’s public relation officer (PRO) for an update on several occasions, but he says he submitted my documents to immigration and is waiting for the visa stamp. It has been nearly two months and I am concerned that I may have a problem or they could have banned me.

I went to immigration to find out more about my situation and they told me to bring my updated ID card, but I couldn’t do this. How can I find out if my renewal is happening? MN, Dubai

MN has confirmed that he wants to renew his contract of employment with the company, which is a mainland employer. As the previous contract and visa expired on January 30, a new visa is required from that date only.

Standard practice is to apply for a visa renewal a short period before it expires. It is unusual to have a visa medical so far in advance, but that should not be an issue. An employer who arranges for an employee’s visa renewal is unlikely to ban them, and companies need a reason to do this.

I would expect complete documentation to be submitted for processing in January and it can take a little time to be processed, especially as many government employees are still working remotely.

Visas are processed first and ID cards usually follow a week or two later. The timeframe from visa expiry to the date of the query is not unusual.

A company’s PRO and HR department should be aware of the progress of any application and can advise employees how long it will take to complete. If they are not being helpful, individuals have a number of options to check for themselves. However, MN will require the application and reference number, which the PRO should provide upon request.

As this is a Dubai visa, the application can be tracked through the website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. Alternatively, enquiries can be made via the Amer website or through its useful online chat function.

Visas are processed first and ID cards usually follow a week or two later

Keren Bobker

Dubai has its own visa renewal system, so if anyone wishes to enquire about visa applications in other emirates, they should go to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s website.

Ten years ago I had to leave Kuwait due to personal issues and because the company I worked for filed for bankruptcy, I did not receive all my pay and I was unable to make payments on my loans of around $15,000 (Dh55,087).

Will I have any issues transiting through other GCC countries for a connecting flight even if I don’t plan to fly via Kuwait? Also, will I have any issues entering any of the GCC countries, excluding Kuwait, as a tourist? PV, the Philippines

PV has not confirmed if they have an immigration ban for Kuwait but given the circumstances, it seems likely that this could be the case as it involves the non-payment of debt.

The six-member GCC countries share a great deal of information and if a person is banned from entering one country, it is possible that that information has been shared among them. This means that PV could well have a problem entering another GCC country, but this is not always the case for smaller debts.

To know for sure, PV would need to contact the immigration department in the country he wishes to enter to check if he is banned on their systems.

When someone transits through a country, they do not officially enter it, so a ban from entering should not cause an issue if a traveller is just passing through an airport.

That said, there is still a risk in doing this as a flight, for instance, can be delayed or cancelled and passengers will then need to pass through immigration if there is an extended wait for their next flight.

If someone is in doubt about whether they are banned from entering any country, it is wise to carry out all possible checks prior to travelling.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: February 20, 2021 05:30 PM