Parents in the UAE have expressed their relief at new rules allowing them to sponsor male children until the age of 25.
The UAE’s new visa rule will apparently help them cut costs and not stress over visas whether they were visiting as students or tourists.
The updated law does not affect unmarried daughters as they can remain on their parents’ sponsorship indefinitely.
The change was one of many new visas rules approved by the UAE Cabinet on Monday.
Previously, parents could sponsor their sons only until age 18, and then renew for another three years, provided they were studying in a university.
Students used to have to purchase a university’s visa sponsorship if they chose to study in the UAE, while those studying abroad would come back on visit visas to see their families.
Vinay Java, an Indian parent in Sharjah, said the new rule meant his 19-year-old son Rishabh could better plan for his future, including continuing his studies abroad.
“When my son turns 21, he would have to get his own visa and that was a big worry for us. But this announcement yesterday is a huge relief, and we know that he’ll be able to continue his education without us having to worry about how he’ll enter the UAE,” he said.
“Generally for kids his age, the visa is a big worry because they get stressed about having to get visit visa. It’s a headache.”
Because Rishabh is an Indian citizen with a US visa on his passport, he qualifies for a 14-day visa on arrival to the UAE. But that is not long enough for him to spend an entire summer with his family.
Dr Faizal Malik, a parent in Dubai, has a 19-year-old son who is studying in the UK.
Even though his son Rayyan is a UK citizen and can obtain a UAE visit visa on arrival, Dr Faizal said the UAE was his home and preferred to be on a UAE residency visa, so he can have health insurance.
“Having him on a UAE residency visa gives us a lot of comfort, especially during the uncertainty faced due to Covid-19,” said Dr Malik.
“If he’s on a UAE residency visa, he can stay longer if he wishes to and he does not have to pay for a visa every time he visits.”
Dr Malik, the pro vice-chancellor at the Amity University in Dubai, said the new visa law would have a “huge impact” on parents and students because it offered flexibility.
“Students won’t have to look for a student visa once they graduate and they can join a university without this stress,” he said.
“Parents will save costs and avoid the headache of applying for student visas. It’s a win-win situation for all three stakeholders – the parents, students and the university.”