UAE Cabinet: Residency visas and Emirates IDs to be automatically extended for three months

The extension is among measures to minimise financial pressure on citizens and residents amid the coronavirus outbreak

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The UAE Cabinet has announced measures to minimise the financial effect of the coronavirus on residents.

Among these is a free, automatic three-month extension for residency visas and Emirates IDs that expired from March 1.

The decision is subject to renewal at the end of the extension period.

All judicial notarisation and transactions have been moved online to make them more accessible to members of the public, who have been asked to stay home whenever possible.

The Cabinet also waived administrative fines associated with infractions on any services provided by the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship, starting on April 1 and lasting a renewable period of three months.

Government services that expired on March 1 onwards will also be extended from April 1 for a renewable period of three months.

This decision applies to all federal government services, including documents, permits, licences and commercial registers, the state news agency Wam reported.

Experts welcomed the move saying the extension would be one less worry for residents.

"I know of a number of people who are worried about renewals either as they are self-isolating and don't want to go out, and some who are currently out of the country with visa expiry imminent," said Keren Bobker, a columnist for The National and senior partner at Holborn Assets, a global financial services company.

"This move will give many individuals, and employers, a good period of breathing space without having to worry about legalities, fines or having to take any unnecessary risks. This applies to anyone with a residency visa so to dependents as well."

On Monday, the UAE passed a law to ensure the country would have enough food supplies at all times, including during emergencies.

The law, discussed by the Federal National Council in February, requires retailers to allow their inventories to be monitored.

Those who hoard food supplies or do not adhere to the regulations of the law will be penalised.

The Ministry of Economy was made responsible for implementing the law and will work with the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority to make sure food supplies meet demand.

In case of crisis, retailers will have to distribute their food as directed by the authority.

"Every day we are seeing new announcements designed to help both people and companies to manage better in these unusual times and they are welcome," said Ms Bobker.

"Yesterday's announcement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, clarifying the law regarding reductions in salaries and taking unpaid leave, was much needed too."