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Wife’s Visa Status After Divorce in the UAE

Expatriates who come to work or reside in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must obtain residency permits, typically sponsored by their employers. These permits enable sponsored individuals to bring their immediate family members, including children and spouses. If you are in the UAE on your spouse’s visa and later go through a divorce, you will lose the residency permit initially issued to you. To regain a residency permit, you must either secure employment or obtain sponsorship from an eligible family member.

Am I eligible to obtain a UAE residency permit?

To qualify for a residency permit, you must fall into one of the following categories:

1. Employment in the UAE, either with a private company or a government office.
2. Enrollment in an educational institution in the UAE.
3. Dependency on a foreign resident (parent, child, close relative, or maid).
4. Dependence on a local or UAE citizen.
5. Making an investment within the UAE’s jurisdiction.
6. Owning property anywhere within the UAE.
7. Retiring in the UAE.

In the UAE, there are various types of residency permits available to suit your specific stay purposes. Here are the most prevalent categories:

1. UAE Work Visa: This permit is granted to foreign nationals or expatriates who secure employment within the UAE.

2. Family Visa: Reserved for close family members of UAE residents or citizens, this visa allows family reunification.

3. Student Visa: Designed for foreign students accepted into educational institutions in the UAE, facilitating their pursuit of education.

4. Investment Visa: Geared towards long-term residency, this visa is intended for foreign individuals making substantial investments in the UAE. It often grants extended stays of up to ten years.

5. Retirement Visa: Issued to elderly foreigners intending to retire in the UAE, provided they have the financial means to support themselves.

To obtain your residency permit following a divorce in the UAE, and if you intend to remain in the country, ensure you meet the following requirements:

– Complete the application form (available at typing centers or online).
– Present your original passport.
– Possess an entry visa.
– Provide passport-sized photos adhering to the UAE’s visa photo specifications (43×55 mm or 300×369 px, white background, and good quality).
– Furnish proof of legal residency or UAE citizenship of your sponsor.
– Present a certificate demonstrating your medical fitness.
– Obtain health insurance coverage in the UAE.
– For a family visa, supply evidence of close family ties such as marriage or birth certificates.
– For a work visa, your sponsor must submit copies of the company’s valid trade license, a valid firm card, and a work contract.

What happens to my children after a divorce in the UAE?

In the process of obtaining a divorce in the UAE, Sharia law governs child custody arrangements. This results in a clear distinction between guardianship and custody of the children. Typically, mothers are granted custody, while fathers retain guardianship. Essentially, the mother is responsible for raising the children until they reach legal age, while the father is responsible for all financial matters. However, it’s important to note that UAE legislation imposes certain restrictions on the custody rights of non-Muslim mothers. Remarrying may also lead to a potential loss of child custody. It is advisable to seek guidance from a UAE divorce lawyer.

Regarding child support, visitation rights are typically granted to the guardian, usually at the child’s place of residence. Parents can negotiate these arrangements during divorce proceedings. If an agreement cannot be reached, the local courts will make a decision on financial matters. Additionally, the guardian retains the child’s passport to approve any travel plans.

You may be interested in A Guide for Wives Post-Divorce from Sponsoring Husbands in the UAE

What happens to property during a divorce in the UAE?

In the event of a divorce in the UAE, the division of assets becomes a significant concern. Generally, each party retains assets held in their own name, whether they are businesses, real estate, cars, or other possessions. Jointly owned assets, where both spouses’ names are on the title, are divided according to the contributions made by each party.

For instance, if a husband has contributed the majority of the funds for a property, while the wife has contributed a smaller portion, the property will be sold, and the proceeds will be divided based on each party’s ownership share. It’s important to note that UAE local courts do not have jurisdiction over foreign assets, which are subject to separate legislation.

You may also read Qualifications for Securing Long-Term Residency in the UAE

Will I receive spousal maintenance after a divorce in the UAE?

Another important consideration when going through a divorce in the UAE is spousal maintenance. Upon the dissolution of the marriage, the wife is entitled to receive financial support throughout the period of child custody. Spousal maintenance covers all expenses related to raising the children, including medical care and education. If the woman chooses to remarry, the first husband is no longer obligated to provide maintenance.

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