Top 5 Ways on How to Get a Dubai Residency Visa

Top 5 Ways on How to Get a Dubai Residency Visa

Are You Struggling to Get a Residency Visa in Dubai? Want to relocate to the UAE? It’s time to think about applying for a Dubai resident visa. It makes sense that you would be drawn to the country given its first-rate infrastructure, cutting-edge technological capabilities, shrewd geographic placement, and other first-rate facilities like healthcare, transportation, and employment. In the article: Top 5 Ways on How to Get a Dubai Residency Visa, you will learn the 5 easiest ways on how to get Dubai Residency.

There is a lot of interest from foreign nationals to visit and apply for residency in Dubai. One can obtain residency in Dubai in 2022 or in another emirate in UAE if sponsorship by an employer is provided. The Dubai residence visa must be renewed every three years. Another way to obtain residency in Dubai is by purchasing real estate. Once a person obtains residency, he or she will also be allowed to open a bank account in Dubai.

A Dubai residence holder may sponsor members of their immediate family. To apply for the Emirates ID card, open a bank account, get a UAE driving licence, sign up for Etisalat or Du mobile and home packages, and use many other services, you must have a valid residency.

A highly flexible and adaptable UAE visa policy is available to anyone who want to move to Dubai and become permanent residents. This policy allows multi-year residencies for investors, students, professionals, remote employees, and even retirees.

Who is Eligible for a UAE Residence Visa? 

You are eligible for a UAE residency visa if you fulfil one of the below-given criteria. 

  1. You need to work under a governmental or a private company in the UAE
  2. Study in one of the UAE educational institutions
  3. You are dependent on a foreign resident or UAE citizen
  4. Are an investor in the UAE
  5. Own a property in the UA.
  6. You will retire in the UAE

Who can live or reside in the UAE/Dubai?

Foreigners can live as residents in the UAE if they are:

Employees

Employed by a company in the UAE – in this case, the company will apply and sponsor your residence visa while you are in the UAE.

Employed by the government sector – in this case, the government entity will apply and sponsor your visa while you are in the UAE.

The hiring company, which is legally required to apply for the individual employee’s entrance visa and work permit, in addition to sponsoring their residency, must sponsor expatriates. Depending on the work contract, the residence permit would be valid for either one or two years.

Employer-sponsored foreign nationals may sponsor members of their immediate families as well, provided they meet certain requirements, such as earning a minimum salary of AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus housing.

For more information on obtaining residency through employment, please read here.

Investors

Investors in a business in the UAE – in this case, the investor himself will process and apply for his own visa under the sponsorship of his company’s registered name.

A resident visa is available to foreigners who launch a business in Dubai’s mainland or free zones or invest in one that already exists.

Investors who possess shares in an existing firm worth at least AED 72,000 or who are launching a new business with a capital investment of that level are eligible to apply for this visa.

The investor visa is a part of the Golden Visa programme, which offers investors a long-term visa for themselves and their families in exchange for meeting additional requirements relating to the amount and value of their investments.

For more information on obtaining residency through starting a business, please read here.

Buy a property in the UAE – in this case, the property owner’s residence visa will be sponsored under the property he owns.

Real estate purchases in Dubai may result in the buyer receiving a residence permit. The property must be finished upon acquisition and have a value of at least AED 1 million in order to qualify for the UAE investor visa programme. Dependents may also be sponsored by real estate purchase residence visa holders.

Dependents that are sponsored by:

  • Someone who is employed in the UAE
  • An investor/business owner in the UAE
  • A property owner in the UAE.
  • Dependents include children, parents, maids and close relatives.

Students

University students sponsored by their universities in the UAE – in this case, the university will apply and sponsor your visa under the educational institution’s name.

Expats who are at least 18 years old and choose to enrol in a college or university in Dubai are eligible for a residency visa that is sponsored by one of the approved institutions and colleges in Dubai (only for male students) or by the parents (for female students).

The student visa is typically only good for a year, but it can be extended for another year if you provide proper documentation from the appropriate higher education institution proving that you’re continuing your education.

Students in universities inside and outside the nation who graduate with a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 are given a 5-year Golden Visa.

For more information on obtaining residency through academic studies, please read here.

Retired residents – in this case, special conditions apply.

If they match the requirements, retired citizens over 55 can apply for a 5-year visa. A retiree must meet one of the following requirements to be eligible for a 5-year renewable retirement visa: invest in real estate worth at least AED 2 million; have financial reserves of at least AED 1 million; or have an active income of at least AED 20,000 per month.

For more information on obtaining residency through a retirement visa, please read here.

  • Note that a residence visa is issued to a foreigner when he/she is already inside the country after entering the UAE via an entry permit, short or long-term tourist or visit visa.

Conditions for getting a Residence Visa in Dubai

A residence visa requires applicants who are 18 and above to undergo a medical test to prove that they are medically fit. They must also pass a security check and apply for an Emirates ID card from Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Validity of a Dubai Residence Visa

The validity of stay on a residence visa varies according to its type and the sponsor. It can be for 1, 2 or 3 years, or up to 5 or 10 years without a sponsor.

According to recent changes, a residence visa can also be issued for 5 and 10 years subject to certain conditions.

Benefits of having a UAE Residence Visa

Being a legitimate resident in the UAE will entitle you to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Access financial facilities
  • Apply for a driving licence
  • Access government health services and health insurance
  • Register his/her children in government schools and in private schools
  • Work and invest
  • Travel visa–free to certain destinations (check with foreign embassies in the UAE).

How much does it cost to obtain Dubai Residency?

The procedure of obtaining a residence visa for Dubai is subject to certain fees, depending on the type of permit to be obtained. These costs can imply:

  • the service fees which refer to obtaining the visa processing fee, the knowledge, and innovation fee;
  • the fee related to obtaining the medical certificate after the medical evaluation;
  • the fee for obtaining an e-residence permit or for changing the expiring visa;
  • the bank fees and the fee related to having the Ministry of Labor approved the work visa.

In the case of those applying for a residence permit based on employment, the Dubai company hiring them must also deposit a guarantee which will transform them into sponsors. This is why, most of the times, all the costs associated with obtaining a Dubai residency cannot be calculated exactly.

The fees for a UAE Residence Visa change depending on what duration your visa is issued for. For one year, the UAE Residence Visa fee is AED100.

Additionally, you will also have to pay a processing fee which also changes depending on where you apply, which can range from AED70 if applying in person or AED40 if applying online.

Please keep in mind that the visa fees are subject to change and that you will have to pay additional fees for medical exams and health insurance as well.

Documents required when applying for residency in Dubai

Together with the relevant application form, a foreigner applying for residency in Dubai must also submit copies of a valid passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and marriage certificate if applicable. The applicant must also submit copies after all qualifications. It is also possible for the authorities to request details on previous work experience and references from former employers.

The applicant will also undergo a medical exam prior to their employment. A medical examination will be necessary every time the residence permit in Dubai is renewed.

New requirements for obtaining a Residence Visa for Dubai

In 2018, the UAE government has changed a few of the requirements related to obtaining Dubai residency. Under the new conditions, foreign citizens applying for a residence permit in Dubai based on a work contract must also submit a certificate of good conduct which must be obtained from their countries of residence. In the case of those who change jobs, this certificate is not required.

A new requirement for foreign citizens applying for residence permits in Dubai is having a valid email address, they will be sent an email by the local authorities in which they will be notified about their visas.

How to apply for a UAE Residence Visa?

First, your sponsor has to get an Entry Permit for you at one of the following:

  • The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
    • The ICA’s eChanel portal
    • The mobile apps for Apple and Android
  • The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – GDRFA either online (see the websites below) or in-person. If your host applies in-person they must do so through one of the licensed typing centres of the GDRFA in each Emirate or through one of the Amer centres in Dubai.
  • GDRFA Dubai mobile apps for Apple and Android

Once you are in the country, your sponsor has to apply for your Residence Visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the relevant emirate in which you will live.

At the time of application, they will also pay a UAE Residence Visa fee, depending on the validity of your visa.

Once your application is approved, the GDRFA will affix a Residence Visa on your passport, and you will receive an Emirates ID, valid for the same duration as the visa.

Renewing your Dubai Residence Visa

Your sponsor must renew your residence visa before it expires. A renewed visa will let you continue living legally in the UAE without incurring fines or facing legal consequences for the same. The relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) allows residents a grace period of 30 days to stay in the UAE after their visas expire.

As per the UAE immigration’s fines system, the penalty to stay on after the expiration of the grace period is:

  • AED 25 per day during the first 6 months (180 days)
  • AED 50 per day during the second 6 months (180 days)
  • AED 100 per day after passing a year and more.

Remember that when the visa expires, your Emirates ID card issued by Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Ports Security (ICA) also expires.

How early can a Dubai Residence Visa be renewed?

The time limit to renew an expired residence visa is 30 days from the date of expiry. However, if there is a need to renew it a few months earlier (one to six months) for travelling reasons, you must first take special permission and approval from the relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner’s Affairs in the emirate that issued your visa.

Requirements for renewal of UAE Residence Visa

The conditions for renewing the residence visa are similar to those for sponsoring family members, getting a work permit and when your visa was issued for the first time.

Basic requirements are:

  • a sponsor with a valid residency permit
  • passing a medical fitness test for those above 18
  • insurance card (mandatory in Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
  • a renewed identity card issued from ICA, or an original receipt that you have registered with ICA to get a renewal.

The following documents are needed:

  • online application or application through a registered typing office for renewal of residency permit signed by the sponsor, whether public sector, private sector company, or personal sponsor
  • original passport of the sponsored
  • photo of the sponsored.

For employers working in the private sector, the sponsoring company must submit the following additional documents:

  • a copy of a valid firm card
  • a copy of a valid trade licence
  • a copy of renewed labour card of the sponsored
  • a copy of labour card renewal receipt for those who reached (60) years and above.

Those sponsoring their families: spouse, children, parents and siblings (relatives of first and second degree) must present:

  • a copy of the husband’s/wife’s employment contract or company contract for investors
  • a salary certificate from the employer stating the employee’s monthly salary
  • a legalised marriage certificate
  • a registered tenancy contract
  • latest utility bill.

Who must cancel your Dubai Residence Visa

Normally, only the sponsor can cancel your residence visa. You cannot process the application on your own.

If a company decides to cancel an employment visa of its employee, it must first approach Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation with an application to cancel the employee’s labour contract and labour card. The employee must also sign this application. Then, the employer should apply to General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) for visa cancellation.

The company must also cancel the work permit. For this, it must submit a letter signed by the employee stating that he has already received all his wages and end of services benefits to Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

An individual sponsoring his/her spouse, children and other dependents must cancel the dependents’ visas first before he cancels his/her own. Cancellation must be processed through the GDRFA that stamped the residence visa in the first place.

How to cancel your Dubai Residence Visa

There are two ways to cancel your visa. You can do it either through a registered typing centre or online.

  • Registered typing centreThe sponsor may visit any typing office registered by GDRFA in the respective emirate. The typing centre will fill the cancellation form on your behalf and process it online through the respective GDRFA.
  • OnlineAlternatively, the sponsor may process the cancellation online through the respective GDRFA or through the eChannels platform of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Documents required

The following documents are required for cancelling a residence visa through GDRFA:

  • cancellation form signed by the sponsor
  • if the sponsor is a company or a firm, the cancellation form must be signed and sealed by the company stamp and a clearance certificate from Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation must be attached
  • the original passport of the sponsored
  • original identity card of the sponsored
  • if  the sponsored ones are out of the UAE, the sponsor may present the original passport or a computerised extract of their residence visas. (Kindly contact Naturalisation and Residency Dept to get a computerised extract of the residence visa.)

Visa rules for Dubai Residence Visa holders travelling abroad

The general rule is that if expatriate residents, that is, people who hold a UAE residence visa, live outside UAE for more than six months continuously, their residency visa will be automatically nullified. If this happens, they will have to apply for a new entry permit to enter the UAE again.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule, which allow the resident expatriate to stay outside the UAE for more than six months and at the same time maintain the validity of his residence visa. They include:

  • foreigner wife of an Emirati citizen who is on the sponsorship of her husband
  • expatriate government employees sent abroad for treatment, provided they submit a medical report approved by Ministry of Health and Prevention or other medical authorities in the UAE.
  • domestic helpers accompanying Emiratis for studies or medical treatment
  • domestic helpers accompanying members of diplomatic and consular missions representing the UAE abroad and employees of such missions holding residence visas in the UAE
  • expatriate residents working for the public sector sent by their employers to attend training or specialist courses, or those working in their employers’ offices abroad and their families who are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
  • expatriate students studying in universities or institutes abroad (as per Dubai rules). Check with the GDRFA if this applies to your emirate of residence.

How to Obtain Dubai Residence for family members

Most foreign citizens relocating to Dubai are also interested in applying for visas for other family members. They should know that they can obtain a residence visa for close family members, such as spouses and children and even parents.

The applicant must also meet certain criteria in order to be allowed to bring family members into Dubai. Among these, his or her salary must be at least 4,000 AED or 3,000 AED but additional funds will be required for accommodation purposes.

In the case of those seeking to bring their parents, the employer can sponsor the employee, however, the minimum salary requirement is 10,000 AED.

In order to bring one’s family, the residence permit in Dubai holder must first apply for an entry residence visa on their behalf – this procedure must begin 30 days before their arrival.

When it comes to the documents required to obtain residence permits in Dubai for family members in 2022, the applicant’s marriage certificate and salary pay slip must be submitted together with information about the family member’s identification papers.

The conditions for obtaining Dubai residency are no longer that stringent, which is why the number of foreigners relocating to the UAE has increased. The government also encourages foreign citizens moving here for work or business purposes through various incentives.

Conclusion

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As such, the process for getting a Dubai Residence Visa is the same as for any other emirate in the UAE.

You must have a sponsor in Dubai (or invest/buy property there). Then, your sponsor has to apply for your entry permit and residence visa at one of the licensed typing centers of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai or an Amer center.

Read also: Applying for a UK Visa

Photo Credit: Istockphoto

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