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Visa Status of Wife Following Divorce From Sponsoring Husband in UAE

All expatriates that come to work and/or reside in United Arab Emirates (UAE) require residency permits, which are typically sponsored by their employers. A residency permit allows a sponsored person in bringing his or her immediate family, including children and spouse. If you’re in UAE on your spouse’s visa, then you will lose the residency permit that was issued to you following divorce. You’ll need to acquire a new residency permit through being employed yourself or being sponsored by an eligible family member. 

Am I eligible to acquire a UAE residency permit?

In order to qualify for the processing of a residency permit, you’d have to belong in any of the categories below:

  • You’ll work within the UAE either under a private company or government office 
  • You’ll study in an educational institution in UAE 
  • You’re dependent on a foreign resident (parent, child, close relative or maid)
  • You’re a dependent of a local or UAE citizen
  • You’ve made an investment within the UAE’s jurisdiction 
  • You’ve purchased property anywhere within UAE 
  • You’re retiring in UAE 

There are several kinds of residency permits you can acquire, depending on the purpose of your stay in UAE. Here are the most common:

  • UAE work visa – this is issued to a foreigner or expatriate who’s found employment in UAE 
  • Family visa – issued to a close family member of an expatriate resident of UAE citizen 
  • Student visa – issued to a foreign national who’s been accepted into one of UAE’s educational institutions 
  • Investment visa – this is for long term residence. It is issued to a foreign national who wants to make a huge investment in UAE. The investment visa for UAE is typically for stay of a longer duration of up to ten years 
  • Retirement visa – this is issued to an elderly foreigner who plans on retiring in UAE and has the necessary financial means in doing so 

Make sure you have the following requirements to process your own residency permit following your divorce in UAE should you wish to stay in the country:

  • Application form duly completed (can be obtained through a typing center or online) 
  • Original passport 
  • Entry visa 
  • Passport size pictures (according to visa photo requirements of UAE)
  • Legal residency or UAE citizenship proof of the sponsor 
  • Medical fitness test certificate 
  • Health insurance plan in UAE 
  • For the family visa, proof of close family ties is required e.g. marriage certificates or birth certificates 
  • For the work visa, the sponsor must include copies of the valid trade license of the company, valid firm card, and work contract 

What will happen to my children following a divorce in UAE?

When processing divorce in UAE, Sharia law is going to apply for child custody arrangements. This means a very division between the children’s guardianship and custody. Mothers, in general, will be getting custody. Fathers, on the other hand, are going to retain guardianship. Essentially, the mother will be the one responsible with the raising of the children up to legal age. The father will be the one responsible with all financial matters. The UAE legislation limits the rights of the mother with child custody if she’s non-Muslim. If she chooses to remarry, there is a possibility as well to lose custody of a child. It is best to consult with a divorce lawyer in UAE

As for child support, visitation will be available to a guardian. It is typically in the place of residence of a child. Parents will be able to work out the arrangements during divorce proceedings. Should they not be able to reach an agreement, the local courts will be the ones to make a financial decision. Additionally, the guardian is going to keep the passport of the child in order to approve any plans for traveling. 

What will happen to proper during divorce in UAE?

With a divorce in UAE, division of assets becomes a significant concern. Generally, every party is going to retain assets that are held in their name, regardless of whether they’re businesses, real estate, cars, etc. A joint asset with both spouses’ names used in the title will be shared in accordance to the contributions that are made. 

For instance, with a husband that has contributed majority of the payment with a property with the wife only paying a small portion of the property, it will be sold with proceeds divided according to the ownership share of each concerned party. It’s important to note UAE local courts don’t have any jurisdiction with foreign assets. All assets that are owned overseas are going to be subject to separate legislation. 

Divorce Procedure By Mutual Consent

Will I receive spousal maintenance following a divorce in UAE?

Another consideration for undergoing a divorce in UAE is maintenance. As soon as the marriage ends, the wife will be entitled in receiving monetary support throughout the duration of the child custody. Spousal maintenance includes all costs that are related to rearing children including medical care and education. When the woman chooses to remarry, the first husband won’t be required in paying maintenance.    

To know more about divorce in UAE, call us here in HHS Lawyers to talk to our seasoned family lawyers in UAE! 

M. Al Khairy, LL.B. is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Al Khairy also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators. Read more