Visitors that have secured a job in the country must also exit the country and re-enter for the status change to be effective.
As visitors and tourists in the UAE scamper to exit the country or make alternative arrangements before the end of their visit visa duration, travel agencies have started introducing special visa change packages.
The move comes after new rules came into effect earlier this week which discontinued the option allowing visit visa holders in the UAE to extend their visas from within the country, according to travel agencies.
Here are some of the packages that are now on offer:
Exit by bus: From Dh599 to Dh850
Online travel agency Musafir.com is offering a visa change package by bus for Dh799.
Ajwah Tours is offering visitors the option to change visa status by bus. The company is offering a 30-day visa starting at Dh599 and a 60-day visa for Dh799. However, GM Malik Bedekar said buses are running at full capacity.
“There is immense demand for buses. Right now, all my bookings are full till the end of this month. Also, this option is only available for those holding passports of India, Philippines, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Those of Pakistani nationality and hailing from the African continent are not permitted to exit by bus,"
At another agency, Anisha Tours and Travels, visa renewal by exiting the country via bus to Oman will cost Dh850.
“However, we are giving this option only to those who need to exit urgently as buses are running almost completely full till the end of this month,”
said Anish Mukil, who works at the agency.
Airport-to-airport: From Dh999 to Dh1,999
Musafir.com offers an airport-to-airport visa change service for Dh1,100.
Whereas, Ajwah Tours is offering a 30-day visa that allows visitors to exit and re-enter the country, by air, starting from Dh999, and a 60-day visa starting from Dh1,999.
Visitors wish to travel to Oman by air can also choose a package offered by Anisha tours, which begins at Dh1,250.
Dubai-based Smart Travels is also offering similar packages to Oman on Flydubai flights for Dh1,050 for a 30-day visa, and Dh1,300 for 60-day visa.
Within the country: From Dh1,800 to Dh2,200
A spokesperson from Musafir.com says the agency is also offering a visit visa change from inside Dubai for a price of Dh1,800.
Anisha Tours and Travels is also giving visitors an option to renew their visas from within Dubai for Dh2,200.
Visitors must exit the country once their visa validity is over. According to industry experts, the rule on renewals was out in place to crack down on those who have been staying in the country indefinitely on visit visas.
The regulation to exit the country to change visit visa status has always been in place. It was during the Covid-19 pandemic that the UAE amended rules to allow for a visa status change from within the country due to humanitarian concerns.
Several other travel agencies in the country said they are expecting to release similar packages during the coming days.
Oman travel demand
Raheesh Babu, chief operating officer of online travel agency Musafir.com, noted that Oman has always been a popular winter destination to travel and the new visa change requirement has added to the demand.
“Oman has always been a popular destination to travel to during the winter with plenty of activities to explore, relax, and enjoy the weather. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, for UAE visa extension exiting the country via bus and travelling to Oman was a common practice. However, due to the pandemic, this was discontinued, but it has resumed this week. Hence, there is much demand for travel to Oman for visa extension.”
News Source: Khaleej Times