UAE family matters: Can I bring my children from a previous marriage to the UAE?

Residency visas for the children of a divorced reader are the topic of this week's Family Matters column.

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I am planning to move to the UAE. Will I be able to have residency visas issued and bring my children from my ex-wife to live with me in the UAE? I am currently married and the custody of the kids – a nine-year-old boy and six-year-old girl – is officially with me, as per my home country divorce judgement.

From a legal standpoint, you can bring your kids to the UAE since you have a court judgement granting you official custody of your children. In the event, your ex-wife raises a complaint in the UAE courts to demand custody of your children, you have a right to show the official judgement from your home country to the court and request to cease the official proceedings in the UAE after getting the foreign judgement enforced before the local courts.

We are non-Muslim expatriates residing in the UAE. I was planning to send my wife back home since she is pregnant. However, because of the doctor's recommendation, I did not cancel her visa and send her back before the delivery of our child. Do I have to apply for a residence visa for my newborn child before I send them back? Will I face any problem with the immigration authorities?

As per the laws of UAE, after the delivery of a baby, the newborn will have 120 days of legal stay in the country. During this period, you are free to decide whether you want to apply and complete the visa procedures for the child or obtain a leave permit and send your baby back to your home country. Kindly bear in mind that the maximum period of legal stay permitted is 120 days.

If you have a question for our legal consultant, email with the subject line ‘Family Matters’.