Residence Visa

Except for the UAE national and GCC citizens, citizens of other countries must obtain UAE residence visa to legally stay in the UAE. For many expatriates, companies that employ them will sponsor them to obtain UAE residence visa, along with labor cards or work permits. But not always. Resident visa is required to open bank accounts, obtain driving licenses, registering cars, filed a PO Box, and so forth. There are several ways in which visas can be obtained.

List type of UAE Residence Visa

Employees Residence Visa is the most common type and the company where employees work as a sponsor. Your company must prepare all necessary documents to go to the hospital or health clinic for medical tests.

Family Residence Visa to sponsor a husband or wife, and children.

Investors Residence Visa is intended for entrepreneurs who want to open a business in the UAE.

Maid Residence Visa sponsored by employer to sponsor a maid.

Property Residence Visa sponsored by property company whose properties purchased by the visa holder. This visa is a part of marketing for Dubai property sales to foreigners and is valid for only 6 months and multiple entries.

Residence Visa to sponsor a blood relatives such as your parents, parents-in-law, brother or sister. The application is not automatically granted and a special application must be submitted to the Department of Immigration.

Student Residence Visa sponsored by the university where a visa holders study. Upper-level students in colleges and universities can get UAE residence visa, and are usually renewed every year. While the secondary and primary level students will normally be under sponsorship of one of their parents.

Expiry and UAE residence visa cancellation

Expiry is when your visa becomes invalid. This occurs after the expiry date (usually 3 years or 2 years after the visa is issued, in some cases even only 1 year), or if you are outside the UAE for 180 days or 6 months (assuming 180 days to secure). Expiry does not mean your visa is canceled, as some expats can not go back to visit the UAE with a tourist visa because the previous residence visa is not canceled.

Cancellation of your residence visa is an active process that needs to be done even if the visa has expired. If a new visa, whether residence visa or tourist visa, can not be removed, usually your company or sponsor will take care of this for you. If not, then go to the UAE Immigration Department which issued the visa, your passport to deal with cancellations. Prepare the AED 500 for the cost of processing and typing. If you are abroad, then the cancellation can still be done but the sponsor you need to go to the Immigration Department on your behalf with at least a copy of the passport, and possibly the original.

Residence visa cancellation again

UAE visa holders who leave the country for more than six months will get their visas revoked and must apply for new visas.

Dubai residence visa application process

In general, resident visa application process involves the following steps:

- Sponsors proposed entry permit if needed (e.g for employment visas or visas for their employees visit blood relatives). For citizens of countries that get a free visa on arrival, this step is often overlooked but keep in mind if that it is illegal in the UAE to work without employment visa or work permit.

- Once inside, visa applicants need to go to a government hospital or health clinic for medical examination. Medical examination is a blood test and chest X-rays for HIV (AIDS), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis (TB), leprosy, and syphilis. If examination result is positive for each condition, the person is deported, except for syphilis which can be cured in the UAE. For those who is detected with TB, he/she will be first quarantined and then deported. There are various reports say that hepatitis B and / or case C must be deported, may be deported, may not be deported, and so on. Assume the worst unless you can find out otherwise from the UAE immigration department or the Department of Health.

- Step two is an examination of criminal record where fingerprints will be taken and matched with data banks at the Department of Immigration. For those who got caught once had a record of crime in the UAE, will be deported to the previously processed legally (if not punished for previous crimes).

- Employee or sponsor (usually accompanied by the Public Relations Officer or the PRO of the company) back to the immigration department with a passport, medical tests, salary certificate if necessary, house rental agreements, if necessary, documents proving the relationship between the sponsored and the sponsor (e.g to sponsor a family) and other necessary certificates (e.g married certificate). Each certificate must be legalized by the Department concerned in Indonesia and the UAE embassy in Indonesia. For other certificates in Indonesian language, should be translated into English or Arabic and legalized.

- In immigration department, look for the office typing (typing center), they'll have the application form and collect fees. Then follow their instructions.

- Back in a few days to collect your passport with residence visa which is affixed to the passport. Or it could also PRO who will do it and handed it back to you in the office. From January 2011, the period of validity of visas is 2 years from previously 3 years. Visa which is already expired can be extended for the next 2 years provided it is required by sponsors.

Residence Visa, minimum wages and other requirements

Minimum salary requirements for sponsoring a child, wife, first-degree blood relatives is AED 5,000 to AED 10,000 (depending Emirates). Some sponsors settings (depending of the Emirates where visas issued) require a minimum size of apartments or villas, or number of bedrooms.


Advances amounting to AED 5000 (usually) per person is required by the sponsor for visas every person. While the cost of the visa itself is relatively cheap, around AED 120 to AED visa of 1 year and 360 dirhams for 3-year visa. Of this fee, AED 200-300 for medical tests.

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