It’s been exactly 44 days since we arrived in Dubai. I entered on working visa, my trailing spouse and our daughter came with me with visit visa. Being Japanese nationals, they are entitled to automatic visa on arrival valid for 60 days only.
So, 60 minus 44 = 16 days left before their visit visa expires and we are starting to panic at the ugly turn of events.
My employer has arranged for the transfer of my visa from employment to residency. Until then, I can’t sponsor any of my family members. Who would have thought that a simple process as that would take more than two months!?
Most people I know got their passports stamped with resident visa just after a few weeks! Trailing spouse and Pristine need to make a visa run preferrably before March 12.
The ‘visa run’ or visa change basically involves exiting and re-entering the country to gain an exit stamp and new entry stamp in your passport.
Looks like we have three options:
1. At the Immigration Department – Pay AED500 for a 30 days stamp. This method can be used only once before you must physically leave the country in order to renew the visa.
2. Leave the country – You can simply fly to a neighbouring country and back into Dubai. Tell the travel agent/airline you want to do a visa run and they will find the quickest flight back for you.
Visa run flights are usually to Doha (Qatar), Manama (Bahrain) or Muscat (Oman) and you return an hour or so later, usually on the same plane.
New visit visa — good for 60 days.
3. Drive to the Dubai-Oman border at Hatta – Driving over the border into Oman is also an option as you can get your passport stamped at the border near Hatta, but this is possible for those on the list of 33 exempt countries. (Japan is in the list)
This route takes 4 hours total (It is roughly a 120 km drive to the Omani border).
New visit visa — good for 60 days.
Option #1: Why would we pay costly money and line up the whole day at the Immigration Department and face all the Dubai officialdom and get 30 days extension when we can pay the same using Option #2 and #3 and getting twice as long?
Option #2: Problem. Trailing spouse M and Pristine will be going to fly ALONE, I mean, together, without me because my I don’t have my passport with me, it’s in the hands of the Immigration officials already (resident visa application in progress and taking forever!). M, with his limited English, travelling with overactive toddler, facing visa-related stuff…no, we shall skip this one.
Option #3: We don’t have a valid UAE driver’s license yet. Hence, we can’t hire a car and drive all the way to the Omani border, although I am itching to drive to the vast desert! Wait, we can actually apply for a temporary driving license as we are entitled to (Japan is among the privileged to have easy, hassle-free access to getting an automatic UAE license) but we are not familiar with Dubai roads, yet.
I spent the whole morning walking around town looking for options to solve our problem. It was so hot when the local paper says it’s only spring here! I must have lost one dress size with that 2 hour walk I did.
We can hire a car plus accompanying driver, with extra charge of course but it seems kind of scary to trust your life with a stranger, no?
I spoke to people in the head office about my dilemma and they said it’s my personal problem. (But he will talk to his supervisor about it, no promises of course!)
Someone give me a large dose of Tylenol, please.