UAE Digital Government issues advisory for expats on residence visa cancellation

Representational picture depicting cancelling of a UAE residence visa; image used for illustrative purpose only
Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: You must ensure your UAE residence visa is cancelled properly when you decide to leave the country permanently, as failure to close the residency status may result in complications in case you want to return to the UAE in the future.

The advisory has been shared on the website of the UAE Digital Government (

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Expats relocating to another country must also cancel the UAE visa of residents whom they have sponsored, such as family members.

The UAE Digital Government, through its website, states: “If you a have a [UAE] residence visa sponsored either by a family member or by your employer, and you decide to leave the country permanently, your residence visa must be cancelled officially.”

The website points out: “Normally, only the sponsor can cancel your residence visa. You cannot process the application on your own.”

What happens if I don’t cancel my visa?
An ICP official told Gulf News that the residence visa is automatically cancelled by default if more than six months have passed since the expat exited the country.
• In case the former expat (who had not officially cancelled the residence visa) wants to return to the UAE after this time, he or she must seek permission from the ICP through its website or app.
• The ICP will decide if and when the former expat can return to the UAE and what paperwork and payments may be required.

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What companies must do

If a company decides to cancel an employment visa of its employee, it must first approach Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) with an application to cancel the employee’s labour contract and labour card. The employee must also sign this application. Then, the employer should apply to ICP (Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security) for visa cancellation.

The company must also cancel the work permit. For this, it must submit a letter to MoHRE signed by the employee stating that he or she has already received all the dues, wages and end of services benefits from the employer.

What about individuals who are sponsors?

Individuals sponsoring their spouse, children and other dependents must cancel their dependents’ visas before they cancel their own visa. It normally costs around Dh110 to cancel the visa.

The UAE Digital Government explained that according to the procedures, only the sponsor or someone they delegate on their behalf (such as a PRO, for example, in the case of companies) can proceed with cancelling the residence visa of someone they have sponsored. The sponsored person cannot implement the request without the permission and signature of the sponsor.

How to apply for visa cancellation
• The UAE Digital Government said a request to cancel residency can be submitted through ICP-approved printing offices (also know as typing centres or business service centres),
• Or electronically through the platforms provided by the authorities concerned with issuing residence visas (such as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in their emirate).
• The sponsor can also submit a cancellation request through the ICP’s electronic channels, such as the Authority’s website ( and smart app (UAEICP) on the Google Play and App Store platforms.