Foreigners aspiring to establish long-term residency and employment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must secure a UAE Residency Visa. This vital document serves as the gateway to accessing the multitude of opportunities that the UAE offers, enabling individuals to build their lives and careers in this dynamic and rapidly growing country.
Whether you’re drawn to the flourishing business landscape of Dubai, the cultural richness of Abu Dhabi, or any other emirate, obtaining a UAE Residence Visa is an essential step towards turning your dreams of living and working in the UAE into a reality.
Within the confines of this blog, we will delve deeper into the subject of UAE residency visas, exploring facets such as the expenses associated with acquiring a UAE residence visa and more.
Opening Opportunities with a UAE Residence Visa
Possessing a UAE residence visa comes with a myriad of advantages:
- Banking Freedom: Gain the ability to open a bank account and access financial services easily.
- Financial Flexibility: Qualify for bank loans, whether personal loans or your dream car financing.
- Global Mobility: Enjoy visa-free entry to numerous countries, enhancing travel opportunities.
- Educational Choices: Enroll your children in government or private schools, ensuring a quality education.
- Driving Privileges: Obtain a driver’s license, granting you the freedom to drive in the UAE.
- Healthcare Access: Access government health services and secure health insurance coverage for your well-being.
Note: Acquiring a UAE Residence Visa necessitates meeting specific eligibility criteria, which typically involve securing employment or investing in one of the emirates.
Eligibility for a UAE Residence Visa
To be eligible for a UAE Residence Visa, individuals must fit into one of the following categories:
- Employment: You plan to work in the UAE within a government entity or a private company.
- Education: You intend to study at a UAE educational institution.
- Dependents: You are a dependent of either a UAE citizen or a foreign resident, which includes children, parents, domestic workers, or close relatives.
- Investment: You have made a substantial investment in the UAE.
- Property Ownership: You have purchased property within the UAE.
- Retirement: You are planning to retire in the UAE.
Varieties of UAE Residence Visas
UAE Residence Visas are categorised based on the purpose of one’s stay. These include:
- UAE Work Visa: Granted to foreign individuals who secure employment in the UAE and obtain a Work Permit.
- UAE Student Visa: Issued to foreign nationals accepted into UAE educational institutions for the purpose of pursuing studies.
- UAE Family Visa: Extended to close family members of UAE citizens or foreign residents.
- UAE Investment Visa (Long-term Residence): Reserved for foreign nationals who make significant investments in the UAE, offering extended validity, often up to ten years.
- UAE Retirement Visa: Designed for elderly foreign retirees with the necessary financial means to retire comfortably in the UAE.
- Work Remotely from Dubai Program: Tailored for foreign freelancers seeking to work remotely in Dubai, providing them with the opportunity to do so from this vibrant city.
Note: Every foreign national seeking to reside in the UAE under a Residence Visa is required to undergo a medical examination to confirm their physical fitness.
Applying for a UAE Residence Visa
To secure a UAE Residence Visa, you must initiate the application process after your entry into the UAE using an entry permit. It’s important to note that, similar to the entry permit, you typically cannot apply for a residence visa independently. Instead, you must have a sponsor, which could be your employer, spouse, or another eligible entity, to submit the application on your behalf.
Applying for a UAE Residence Visa
- Obtain an Entry Permit: Your sponsor must secure an Entry Permit for you from one of the following sources:
- The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
- The ICA’s eChanel portal
- Mobile apps available for Apple and Android
- The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), either online or in-person, through licensed typing centres (varies by emirate) or Amer centres (Dubai).
- Reside in the UAE: Once you have entered the country with the Entry Permit, you must be physically present in the UAE.
- Apply for Residence Visa: Your sponsor must then submit an application for your Residence Visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in the specific emirate where you intend to reside.
- Payment of Visa Fee: During the application process, your sponsor will need to pay the UAE Residence Visa fee, which varies depending on the visa’s validity period.
- Approval and Documentation: Upon approval, the GDRFA will affix the Residence Visa in your passport. Simultaneously, you will receive an Emirates ID, valid for the same duration as your visa.
Emirate-Specific GDRFA Websites and Resources
For specific information and procedures related to each emirate, refer to the respective GDRFA websites:
- Abu Dhabi
- Dubai (Also, consider Amer, a website accessible to Dubai citizens and residents for family reunion applications and visa extensions for visitors)
- Ras Al Khaimah
Following these steps will guide you through obtaining a UAE Residence Visa efficiently.
2 Years Residence Visa Dubai Cost
The expenses associated with a UAE Residence Visa vary depending on the visa’s validity period. For a one-year UAE Residence Visa, the fee is AED 100.
Furthermore, there is a processing fee, which depends on the application method. If applying in person, the processing fee can be AED 70, whereas online applications may incur a fee of AED 40.
Note: These visa fees are subject to change, and additional costs may arise for medical examinations and health insurance, so staying updated on the latest requirements is advisable.
Entry Permit vs. Residence Visa
These two essential documents serve distinct purposes, each with their rules and application processes. Making it is vital to grasp the differences and know when and how to acquire them.
|Characteristic||UAE Entry Permit||UAE Residence Visa|
|Purpose||Allows entry into the UAE for a specific duration (usually up to three months)||Permits long-term residence in the UAE|
|Issuance Basis||Sponsored application often required before entering the UAE||Sponsor applies after entry into the UAE|
|Variations||Various entry permits based on purpose of travel, eg., UAE Tourist Visa||Singular residence visa for extended stays|
|Application||Initiated by the sponsor before arrival||Sponsored application post-entry into the UAE|
|Exemptions||Some nationalities may not need an entry permit or can get one on arrival||Typically, no exemptions applicable for long-term residence|
Duration of Stay with a UAE Residence Visa
The length of your stay under a UAE Residence Visa hinges upon the purpose of your visit. Typically issued for 1, 2, or 3 years, these visas are renewable, allowing extended stays.
However, it’s worth noting that Investment Visas and Retirement Visas offer even more extended periods, ranging from 5 to 10 years, with renewal options.
Renewing Your UAE Residence Visa Before and After Expiry
UAE residence visa renewal fees 2023, your UAE Residence Visa must be renewed within 30 days before its expiration date. However, it’s important to note that your sponsor can also initiate the renewal process after the visa has expired, provided it falls within the UAE residence visa expiry grace period.
The UAE residence visa renewal procedure mirrors the initial application process. Your sponsor must submit the renewal application at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in the relevant emirate.
Understanding the UAE Residence Visa Grace Period
UAE expatriates are given a grace period of 30 days from the visa expiration date. Even if your visa has officially lapsed during this period, you can remain in the country. However, it’s crucial to note that if you fail to secure a visa renewal within this grace period, you must exit the country and re-enter using an entry permit. Overstaying beyond the grace period will result in fines, with penalties accumulating for each day of overstay.
Penalties for UAE Residence Visa Overstay
Overstaying your UAE Residence Visa comes with the following fee structure:
- For the initial 6 months (180 days): AED 25 daily.
- For the subsequent 6 months (180 days): AED 50 per day.
- Beyond the first year: AED 100 per day.
Empowering Widows and Divorced Women: UAE Visa Renewal Policy
Since October 2018, the UAE government has introduced a significant immigration policy change, granting widows and divorced women of UAE residents the privilege of residing in the country independently, without the need for a sponsor, for one year following either the passing of their husbands or their divorce. This rule also extends to their children, if any.
To be eligible, these women and their children must have been under the husband’s visa at the time of his demise or the divorce, and their visas must remain valid at the time of application. The application process, conducted through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), necessitates the submission of the following documents:
- Proof of death or divorce (as applicable).
- Evidence of suitable accommodation.
- Demonstration of the woman’s financial capability to support herself.
- The Emirates ID Card.
- Medical fitness certificates.
Note: This type of visa can only be extended once
UAE Re-entry Rules: What Happens If You Leave for More Than 6 Months?
If you currently reside in the UAE under a residence permit and depart the country for a period exceeding 6 months, your pass automatically becomes invalid. In such a scenario, re-entry into the UAE necessitates a fresh permit application, typically initiated by your sponsor on your behalf.
However, there are specific exemptions to this six-month residence rule, and the following categories are not subject to it:
- Golden Visa Holders and Their Family Members: Those holding 10-year visas and their family members are exempt.
- Government Employees on Medical or Assignment Abroad: Government employees residing abroad for medical reasons or official assignments are not bound by the rule.
- Investors with Approved Residence Permits: Investors holding residence permits under approved classifications are exempt.
- Spouses of Emirati Citizens: The wives of Emirati citizens, sponsored by their husbands, are exempt from this regulation.
- People Sponsored by UAE Embassies or Consulates: Individuals sponsored by UAE embassies or consulates fall outside the scope of this rule.
- International Students Residing in Dubai: International students enrolled abroad are exempt if they live in Dubai.
- Domestic Employees Accompanying Employers Overseas: Domestic employees accompanying their employers overseas do not need to comply with the six-month rule.
Note: These exemptions offer flexibility to individuals in specific categories, allowing them to re-enter the UAE without needing a new permit after extended periods of absence.
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 (as explained above).
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 centres of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai or an Amer centre. If you have any inquiries regarding the Residence Visa for the year 2023, please contact Shuraa Business Setup at +44 7538 205604. We are here to assist you.