All foreigners who live in the UAE on a Residence Visa must have it cancelled if they want to leave the country permanently. UAE visa cancellation has to be done by the sponsor on behalf of the expatriate, same as with a UAE Visa application.

How to cancel a UAE visa?

It is your sponsor who has to cancel your UAE Visa – you cannot apply for UAE visa cancellation on your own. The application process for cancelling a UAE Residence Visa is as follows:

  1. If you are employed in the UAE: Your employer first applies to have your work permit cancelled (see below).
  2. Your sponsor applies for your UAE visa cancellation at the offices of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The GDRFA that cancels your visa must be the same one that stamped it on your passport on the first place.

You have 30 days to leave the country after your UAE visa is cancelled.

Cancelling a UAE work permit and work visa

If you are on the UAE on a Work Visa, your employer must also cancel your work permit (Labour Card) and work contract at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The application process for cancelling a work permit is as follows:

  • Your employer applies through the website of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
  • Your employer attaches the documents electronically
  • The Ministry processes the application temporarily and forwards the information to the GDRFA
  • The GDRFA cancels your Residence Visa and informs the Ministry, who then permanently cancel your UAE work permit

Along with the application for UAE work permit cancellation, your employer also has to submit a letter, signed by you confirming that you have received all the wages, settlements, and benefits you are due. Do not sign the letter unless you really have received them.

Cancelling your UAE work permit if you are changing jobs

If you are just changing jobs in the UAE, but you will not leave the country, then your employer must cancel your work permit for you. It is easiest to change employers if you have already spent two years working for the original employer (ie. your work contract has ended). If you work contract has not ended, but you wish to change employment, then your current employer has to sign a No Objection Certificate (NOC) transferring sponsorship to your new employer.

If your current employer does not agree to the premature termination of your contract, then you may face getting an employment ban. The employment ban can be from six months to one year.

If your employer does sign the NOC and cancels your work permit, you must give your future employer the UAE visa cancellation paper so they can submit a new work permit application on your behalf.

Cancelling the UAE visa for dependent family members

If you have sponsored your family members to join you in the UAE through a Family Visa, you act as their sponsor. As such, it is up to you to cancel their UAE Residence Visas. You must cancel your dependents’ visas before your employer cancels yours.

Normally, if you are only changing jobs and will not permanently leave the UAE, you don’t have to cancel your dependents’ UAE family visas.

Where to cancel a UAE Residence Visa?

Your sponsor may cancel your UAE visa through one of the following ways:

  • In-person, through one of the typing centers of the GDRFA in the emirate in which you live. The typing center then submits the application online and processes it.
  • Online, through :
    • The website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship; or
    • The websites of the GDRFA of the relevant emirate:

Residence Visa cancellation for a person outside UAE (longer than six months)

Your Residence Visa will automatically be cancelled if you remain out of the UAE for longer than six months. If your UAE visa is cancelled while you are abroad, you must re-apply for an Entry Permit to be allowed back in.

However, there are some complications arising from cancelling your visa this way. If you left the country without formally resigning, tying off all your loose ends in regards to your job, and getting a proper visa cancellation, then your employer has the right to report you as absconding, and you may face legal repercussions if you try to re-enter the UAE later.

What documents are required for a UAE visa cancellation?

When your sponsor applies to get your UAE visa cancelled, they must submit the following documents:

  • UAE visa cancellation form, signed by the sponsor
  • Your original passport
    • If you are not in the UAE at the time your sponsor cancels your visa, they may also submit a computerised extract of your Residence Visa. The UAE’s Naturalisation and Residency Department is in charge of providing computerized extracts of visas.
  • Your original ID card
  • If your sponsor is also your employer:
    • The approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
    • The UAE visa cancellation form has to be signed and sealed by the company stamp

What’s the cost of a UAE visa cancellation?

The cost for a UAE visa cancellation may differ from the specific office in which you apply. However, it usually revolves around AED 100 – AED 200. It is your sponsor who’s in charge of covering the costs of cancelling your UAE visa.

How long does it take to get a UAE visa cancelled?

It usually does not take long for a UAE visa to be cancelled. In most cases, the process takes 1 or 2 working days.  If your sponsor also has to cancel your Labour Card, that may take only 1 more working day, making it about three working days in total.

Things to keep in mind before cancelling your UAE visa

Before you get your UAE visa cancelled and leave the UAE, remember to settle some final details, such as:

  • Closing your bank account
  • Making sure you receive all your salaries, benefits, and settlements from your employer. Remember not to sign any confirmation letter if you have not.
  • Paying all your utility bills
  • Canceling your tenancy contract
  • Selling your car (if you have one)