With confusion mounting over whether or not you require an attested tenancy contract under your name in order to sponsor your family’s residency in Dubai, some of our more enterprising readers have given us the following suggestions on how to circumvent the issue.
But first of all, let’s quickly look at the uncertainty over the family residence visa requirements that have hit the headlines over the past few days.
Initially, it was announced last Thursday in the media that the UAE’s General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs – the authority responsible for proposing the amendments of laws and policies concerning the entry and residency of foreigners in UAE – had revised the rules for expats obtaining a residence visa for their families.
It was announced that expats applying for or renewing a residence visa are now required to produce a valid tenancy contract for where they live along with recent power and water bills as proof of address, and have them attested by the relevant emirate’s municipality.
This new rule opened a whole new can of worms, as a number of low-income and even some high-earning expats in the country live in shared accommodation. Dubai and Sharjah too confirmed that the new rules were being implemented with immediate effect.
Subsequent clarifications of the rules clearly suggested that unrelated families sharing accommodation would have to face the music as the tenancy contract would necessarily need to be registered in the sponsor’s name, and those unable to furnish the required documents would not be able to apply for or renew their residence visas.
Clearly, this new rule will impact a large number of expats living and working in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, in particular, with some expats claiming that they could not afford to rent individual accommodations and would have to send their families back.
However, in a reversal of the earlier announcement, Abu Dhabi has annulled the tenancy contract and utility bill requirement for the residence visa. Nevertheless, authorities in Dubai and Sharjah have not issued any reversal notice yet, and continue to require the additional documents.
With a good amount of uncertainty regarding the rules, one of our readers called in and gave what he termed “a simple solution to the complicated issue” of residence renewal.
Ayush Pradhan (name changed on request) said that he lives with his family in Dubai’s Mirdiff area, and share a two-storey four-bedroom villa with another Indian family. “The residency visa is valid for three years while your tenancy contract is for one year,” he said. “Fortunately, the visas of my family and that of the other family expire in different years,” he explained.
“So, next year, when my family’s visas will need renewal, the rent contract will be under my name,” he said. “The year after that, when my friends’ family’s visas will be up for renewal, we’ll get the landlord to issue the contract in his name – it’s that simple,” he said, adding that although getting new contracts issued and the DEWA bills changed every couple of years is a hassle, he and his friend are willing to take the minor annoyance in their stride rather than stay away from their families or spend a lot more on individual accommodation.
While that’s one way of bypassing the situation, unrelated families sharing accommodation remains illegitimate, and many expats will be hoping that a reversal of the rule will be announced, sooner than later, in Dubai and Sharjah too.