How You Can Get a Dubai Residence and Employment Visa

No doubt, despite its fairly high cost of living, Dubai is still seen as of of the top destinations for employment. So if working and staying in Dubai entice you, here is the right article for you on how to obtain a Dubai Residence and Employment Visa.

Residence visas in Dubai are administered by the Immigration Department which is referred to as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (DNRD). The rules are same throughout the seven emirates of UAE.

Dubai residency and employment visasAny foreign national who wants to live in the UAE must apply for a residence visa, which should not be confused with a work permit, which is completely different.
A residence visa has to be usually sponsored by the company that seeks to employ an expatriate. The visa is required for various formalities like opening a bank account in the UAE, getting a driving licence, registering a car, etc. In almost all cases the residence visa is valid for two years.

Based on their validity, there are five different types of residence visas in the UAE. These are:

  • Investors visa which is valid up to three years
  • Employee (private and public sectors) resident visa which has a validity of two years
  • Family visa which has a validity of up to two years
  • Students visa with one year validity; and
  • Domestic helpers visa with one year validity.

Ideally Residence visas for employees are generally taken care of by their employers. The employer takes care of all the paperwork although the applicant needs to make a trip to a hospital or health clinic for a medical test. Employers can also process residence visas for the spouse and children of an employee. A valid residence visa holder can however sponsor a spouse and/or children provided they meet the minimum salary requirement of AED 3,000 per month (with paid accommodation) or AED 4,000 per month (without paid accommodation). Sponsoring a parent requires a higher minimum salary and may require a deposit. Generally, women can sponsor their spouse and children if they fall within the following professional categories: doctor, lawyer, nurse and teacher. If a woman is not employed in one of these categories, she may still be approved to sponsor her family based on her salary and with special permission from DNRD.

Upon entry into the UAE, family members have 30 days to process their residence visa. One should remember that if a holder of a Dubai resident visa leaves the UAE for six months or more, the Dubai residence visa becomes invalid. The entire process has to be carried out again.

Generally the application process for a residence visa involves the following steps:
(i) Sponsor (or the employer) applies for an entry permit, if applicable (employment visa for employee, relative visit visa for relative, etc). For nationals of countries which get a free visit visa on arrival, this step is often omitted but be aware if working that it is illegal without an employment entry visa, or a work permit.

(ii) After arriving at Dubai, the residence visa applicant needs to go to a government hospital or medical clinic for a health check. The medical check is a blood test and chest X-ray for HIV (AIDS), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis (TB), Leprosy, and Syphilis.   

(iii) The applicant and a representative of the sponsor goes back to residency department with passport, medical test results, salary certificate, tenancy agreement, documents verifying relationship between sponsor and applicant for example marriage certificate for spouse.  

(iv) At the residency department the application form must be filled and the fees must be submitted.

(v) After a couple of days the applicant needs to collect his passport with a new resident visa stamped on it.


The following can act as sponsors for an applicant who is applying for a resident visa of Dubai:

  • A UAE resident earning more than AED 4,000 per month
  • A company based in the UAE
  • A travel agency, hotel or eligible airline.

The following documents are required while applying for a Dubai resident visa:

  • Application form
  • Multiple passport-size photos
  • Original and copy of the sponsored person’s passport
  • Copy of the valid company card
  • Copy of the valid commercial licence
  • Employment permit issued by Ministry of Labour
  • Application fee
  • A complete medical test results
  • Original valid medical certificate for spouse and children over 15 years old
  • Copy of the sponsor’s employment contract or salary certificate
  • Copy of the sponsor’s valid residence permit
  • Copy of marriage certificate attested by the country where the marriage took place
  • Copy of birth certificate for children.


Resident visas are generally valid for two years. There is a 30-day grace period once a residence visa expires. However, it is advisable to begin the renewal process in advance. The same documents are needed, and a new health check needs to be carried out. The fees are the same.