How our family's visa and overstaying penalty got reduced

My wife and my daughter incurred overstaying penalties because of a delay by my previous employer in canceling my visa. That delay has created a tremendous ripple effect on our residency status.

Raqz visa was expired when she gave birth. Because she is breastfeeding, she cannot exit the country to get a new one.

That time, we cannot get our baby a birth certificate as both parents visas are required. His passport also has to wait.

Overstaying fine has an initial cost of AED250, and AED25 gets added every day until a new visa is issued. The 3-month penalties have gone up to AED5,500 for both of them.

A colleague encouraged me to apply for a penalty reduction.

I inquired with the Immigration Department and was advised to visit the Naturalization and Residency Prosecution Office in Al Awir and look for the Visa Fine Reduction section. This is where cases related to amnesty are being handled.

We went to Al Awir and told one customer relations officer our story. He’s not 100% agreeing that our case is acceptable. But he still submitted the application. They asked for my passport copy and Emirates ID (as the sponsor) and passport copies of the dependents.

Aya's case was not questioned much because she's a minor. As for my wife, they asked us to return with a medical report duly authenticated by the Department of Health Authority (DHA) or MOH.

Processing fee for visa reduction is AED141.

We went to Mediclinic City Hospital to request for DHA medical report. Apparently, they do not provide such authenticated report. We bounced from one DHA-centre to another all over Dubai - 7 tiring stops to be exact - only to be told to go back to the hospital and get it from there. I applied and paid AED130 for it; collected 2 days after.

I brought the medical report along with her passport back to Al Awir. I had to tell the story over again to another officer. He deemed the case as not valid. He refused to entertain the appeal until I told him that my daughter’s case has been accepted a week ago. Eventually, he accepted the plea.

While we were still there, I received an SMS saying that the visa fine for my daughter was already reduced to AED500 with validity to pay inside 3 weeks. Such a piece of great news. It has given us hope that the wife will also be rewarded with such.

And rightfully so, after another 5 days, I got the same SMS for the wife - AED500 instead of 2,750.

We’re very thankful to GDRFA officials who looked into our case with consideration and compassion. Truly you've shown a great sense of tolerance yet again.

Our reflection

All throughout this ordeal, Raqz and I are immersed in prayer. We prayed for God to lead the way before every step we’ve taken. We prayed for strength to endure those multiple stops and initial rejections. We prayed for wisdom for us to say the right and gentle words with the officials. We prayed for composure.

I was about to give up on the 7th stop. Frustration was sinking in, but I chose to upheld my dependency to God. Raqz kept cheering for me with her encouraging wisdom.

It was not us at all. The good results we receive were all God’s favor. True enough, if we are dependent on him, he will sustain us through it all. The situation allowed us to further develop a complete dependency to God even more.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." 1 John 5:14

Have you observed some people during tough times, when all seems lost they’d say, “Now all we can do is pray.”

One of the things I’ve learned as I continue to grow in faith is to put prayer ahead of everything. Prayer should be the first step - not the last resort. It’s not a ‘Call a friend’ privilege. Prayer for me prepares me to be stronger no matter how rough the path ahead is.

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