Previously in the event of a divorce, a wife sponsored by her husband had to either leave the country or obtain a residence visa in her own right*. In the case of a husband's death, the widow could stay in country until the expiry of her current residency visa. On 21st October 2018, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, announced an extension of visas for divorced women, widows and their children**. Under the scheme, divorced women, widows and their children can be granted a one-year residency visa extension, without the need of a sponsor. The extension would start from the date of divorce or death of the husband. It is to be noted that this type of visa is only renewable once.
Applications for visa extensions in the above categories will require various conditions to be met. Prior to the divorce or death of the husband, the wife and the children must have had their residency visas sponsored by the former husband or deceased and the existing residency visas should be valid at the time of divorce or death. The children’s residency period must not exceed that of the mother, noting that a divorced wife or widow can apply for this extension even if she does not have children.
* usually through employment or being self employed through a free zone company.
** following divorce, it is still the father’s responsibility to sponsor the children. The father can however provide an NOC for the mother to sponsor the children.
For further advice with regards to your rights and entitlements following a divorce, please contact our Family Department on email@example.com.
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