'Can I exit the UAE on a return ticket with a recently expired passport?'

Irish citizen wants to renew their passport during an upcoming visit home but the process will have to be done from the Emirates before they leave

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 8, 2020.   
Abu Dhabi International Airport Media Tour by Etihad.
Victor Besa  / The National
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I am Irish and a resident in the UAE. I have a work visa and Emirates ID and they are valid until February 2022. I have just realised that my passport expired last month. I have a flight booked to visit my family in Ireland and can get a new passport when I am at home. Is it possible to exit the UAE on a return ticket with a recently expired passport? NH, Abu Dhabi

A passport is an internationally recognised document that proves a person’s identity. An expired passport is no longer a valid travel document, so it is not possible to exit the UAE with it (although there are exceptions).

NH will need to obtain a new passport before leaving the UAE and can apply online at Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs website. Once the new passport has been received, she will need to travel with both of them as the residency visa will be in the old one. The passports can be joined by an elastic band but should never be stapled together.

The current turnaround time is 10 working days plus delivery time, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Irish Embassy in the UAE does not issue passports.

I moved to Abu Dhabi for a permanent job in January of this year. I now need to send some of my income to the UK to pay my mortgage there, but I am worried that I will be taxed on this if I send anything from the UAE. I plan to stay in the UAE for five years in case that makes a difference but will need to send money back several times a year. SP, Abu Dhabi

The UK has clear rules about tax residency and these were last updated in 2013, when the Statutory Residency Test came into effect. This sets out when a person is deemed to be a UK resident for tax purposes and is liable to pay income tax. It is not simply a case of being out of the UK and employed overseas.

It is the responsibility of a company to cancel a visa and work permit as soon as an employee finishes working for them
Keren Bobker

A person is not formally considered a UK non-resident for tax purposes until they have been living overseas for a full tax year, from April 6 in one year to April 5 the following year.

However, it is assumed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the UK’s tax authority, that someone will indeed do that once they leave the UK to work overseas. For SP, this means that he must remain a resident in the UAE until at least April 5, 2022.

As SP intends to remain in the UAE for several years, he is able to remit UAE income to the UK without having to pay UK income tax on these monies, provided he does not breach the provisions of the Statutory Residency Test.

UK tax can be complex, so this is a simple overview.

I left my old job and found a new one with another company. The new company has already given me an offer letter and wants me to join as soon as possible but my old employer has not yet cancelled my visa. Can I join the new company without my current visa being cancelled? KS, Sharjah

It is the responsibility of a company to cancel a visa and work permit as soon as an employee finishes working for them. The process should only take a few days.

As KS is moving to a full-time job, the new employer must apply for a new residency visa and work permit by the time he starts working for them. But they cannot obtain the visa until the existing one has been cancelled.

There is a short grace period for this to be completed but he cannot work for a new employer without a new residency visa. To do so is illegal and both the employee and employer can be fined. In addition, KS would have no protection under the law.

If the previous employer fails to cancel a visa in a timely manner, assuming that they are a mainland employer or in a free zone that has adopted the UAE Labour Law, KS should register a case against them with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, which should then contact the previous employer to get them to take action without further delay.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: October 09, 2021, 5:00 AM