Economy Middle East Guide: Navigating UAE visa cancellation

Know the different requirements and important reminders
Economy Middle East Guide: Navigating UAE visa cancellation
Visa cancellation is an important requirement

With about 9 in 10 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) being expatriates, the country remains a magnet for individuals aspiring to live, study and work within its borders. This appeal is evident in the substantial influx of visa applications processed by authorities. Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs alone has granted over 151,000 golden visas between 2019 and 2022. However, the possibility remains that one may ask about UAE visa cancellation.

If you’re embarking on a journey that leads you away from the UAE — or toward a new opportunity within the country — this is your ultimate guide. 

First, what’s the repercussion?

To clarify, you cannot exit the country without UAE visa cancellation. Failure to formally cancel your visa may lead to legal repercussions. These include paying fines or being subjected to a travel ban. 

What are the requirements?

Whether you’re working on your family, tourist, student, investor or employment visa cancellation UAE has certain requirements you must comply with. As for the necessary documents, you must prepare the following before visiting any visa cancellation service centers:

  • Your passport
  • Your Emirates ID card
  • Your visa cancellation application form signed by the sponsor
  • A copy of your sponsor’s passport
  • A no-liability certificate from the bank
  • A copy of your entry permit (if applicable)

It is recommended to verify the specific documentation requirements based on your specific visa validity and circumstances. 

UAE work visa cancellation

Leaving the UAE permanently? Keep in mind that canceling your work permit is needed before you can cancel your residence visa. Note that it’s your employer who will initiate the cancellation process for your work permit and labor contract with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). 

For him or her to facilitate the cancelation, he or she must do the following:

  • Get your signature on the visa cancellation application form.
  • Obtain a letter from you confirming the receipt of all due payments. These include salary, leave salary, gratuity and other end-of-service benefits.
  • Seek approval from MoHRE to cancel your labor contract.
  • Submit an application to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICP) to formally cancel the residence visa.

Now, if you’re simply switching jobs within the country, your current employer is still obliged to proceed with canceling your existing work permit. Then, your new employer will have to apply for a new work permit and visa on your behalf.

On your part, you must secure a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current employer, explicitly granting consent for the cancellation of your work permit. This will help mitigate the risk of an employment ban or any other complications that may arise.

If your employer refuses to cancel your UAE visa, get help from the MoHRE. Alternatively, you can contact the relevant Free Zone Authority for assistance if you work within a Free Zone.

UAE visa cancellation

UAE family visa cancellation

If you have sponsored family members in the UAE, you must cancel their residence visas first before you can cancel yours. This rule remains applicable even if your family members are already out of the UAE. Be sure to check the status of their visa cancellations before initiating yours.

If your spouse has his or her own employment visa, their employer must undertake the cancellation process stated above.

Read: New visa rules in the UAE on October 3

Canceling other types of visa

Apart from work and family visas, someone in the UAE may carry other types of visa, including investor, student, tourist or temporary visas. If this is your case, you can make the cancellation process online via the ICP website or app. Alternatively, you can enlist help from one-stop shops like Amer Service Center to help you with the cancellation.

To complete the procedure, simply submit the mandatory documents and settle the applicable visa cancellation fees. You will receive the official visa and cancellation fee approval letter via email.


To ensure a smooth visa cancellation process, you must address several important matters. First, settle any outstanding utility bills to avoid complications. The same goes for any outstanding debts (In this case, you must also secure the necessary clearances). 

Properly terminate your tenancy contract and vacate your accommodation. Then, if you own vehicles, either sell them or make arrangements for their transfer. Moreover, you must close your bank accounts and get a no-liability letter to confirm financial closure. 

For further legal and financial clarity, you may consult with a lawyer or tax advisor to address potential liabilities. 

UAE visa cancellation FAQs

  • Is it required to cancel a UAE visa before exiting?

Yes, you need to cancel your UAE visa before exiting the country. If you fail to do this, you could face legal complications, including fines or a travel ban.

  • How long is the processing period?

Typically, it ranges from 1 to 5 working days. But take note that the duration will still depend on your specific circumstances and on how efficient the government services involved are.

  • What is the grace period after canceling a UAE visa?

After having your UAE residence visa canceled, you will have a grace period of 30 days from the date of the cancellation confirmation letter to leave the country or get a new visa. If you’re a visit visa holder, you will have a shorter grace period of ten days. Certain long-term residence visas, like the Green Visa, offer a more extended grace period of six months. 

Exceeding your specific grace period may result in daily fines.

  • I have a UAE bank account. Can I keep it after the visa cancellation?

In most cases, you can retain your bank account after your UAE visa cancellation. However, your account status may change from a resident to a non-resident account, which might involve different terms and fees. 

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