Can I renew the residency visa of my special needs son after he turns 18?

An expatriate father wants to know if his son can stay under his sponsorship

While sons can typically be sponsored by their parents up to the age 18 - or 21 if they are in full-time education - special circumstances are taken into account, says Keren Bobker.  Sarah Dea / The National
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My son has special needs and is completely dependent on his mother and myself. He will be 17 in March and is sponsored by me. His residency visa will expire in April this year, so are we eligible to renew his visa for another three years? Is there any way to renew the residence visa of a special needs son after reaching 18 years of age on his father’s sponsorship? A M, Dubai

As a general rule, a father is able to sponsor his son up to age 18 years, or up to age 21 if the son is in full-time education, whether in the UAE or abroad. While these are the stated and published rules, a special application can be made to the relevant department in the emirate where the family lives. In this particular case, inquiries should be made to the General Directory and Foreigner Affairs (GDFA) – Dubai ( The GDFA has issued public statements advising that it has set up a special committee to assess humanitarian cases, and I believe this case would come under its remit. While there are no guarantees, with the right proof of dependency A M should have a good case to apply for a standard two-year residency visa for his son. 


Read more from Keren Bobker:

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I have worked for a construction company for seven years and am now on my fourth visa. For the past two years I have not been receiving my salary every month, and it is always delayed. Now I have four months’ salary pending. That is the total due, although it is not for consecutive months. Should I move to another company to get the outstanding salary and gratuity as per UAE law? Also, can my company ban me if I leave or go to labour court? B G, Abu Dhabi

The first thing B G must do is register a case against the employer at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). The telephone number is 800 665. In a case such as this, the MoHRE will be sympathetic and helpful.

Generally, an employee can leave a company without consequences if they have not been paid for three consecutive months, but if some payments have been made over the past three months, B G will need to obtain written clearance from MoHRE to leave or he will have to compensate the company for breaking his fixed-term contract.

Even if he was resigning or leaving, as he has been with the same employer for more than five years he would be entitled to receive his end of service gratuity in full.

Assuming the MoHRE rules against the company and B G is able to leave without notice or penalty, the company would not be able to apply for a labour ban against him.


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My labour card expired yesterday but I have an employment visa that is valid until February 7. My managers say they will cancel my visa by February 1, so can I stay for another 30 days after February 7? What happens if I stay longer? A P, Dubai

The dates on a labour card and employment-related residency visa should be the same, so it is unusual in this case that they are different. If an employer cancels a visa, the date of cancellation is the date that it ends. In this case, if A P’s visa is cancelled on February 1, he will no longer have residency from that date.

Once the visa has been officially cancelled, a person has a 30-day grace period and must exit the UAE before this expires to avoid fines for illegally overstaying. A P will therefore, need to have left by March 2 to avoid a penalty. If someone overstays, either as they have not exited the UAE or a new employment visa is not processed in time, a penalty is payable. The fine for the first day is Dh125, and then a further Dh25 for each subsequent day. There is also a further service fee of Dh100 on exiting the country. These are the official fees as shown on the Ministry of Interior website, but VAT will be payable on top of these quoted amounts. Note that anyone that significantly exceeds the grace period, that is by a further 30 days or more, could find that they are further penalised and added to an immigration blacklist that could prevent them from re-entering the UAE at a later date. The fines for overstaying on a tourist visa are different: Dh200 for the first day and Dh100 for subsequent days, plus VAT.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

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