UAE residence visas can be processed quickly and with an efficiency that is unparalleled, allowing most visas to be processed within 3 weeks. This means expats living and working in the country can hit the ground running and settle into life in the UAE in next to no time. Over the past few years, the UAE has introduced more varied visa options and the population has steadily been increasing, with over half the population being aged between 25 and 49; new visa types have been introduced to support modern working practices and those with families.
Unsure which visa solution is right for your circumstance? Here’s a snap shot of some of the various visa types available.
An employment visa comprises two parts, a Labour Card issued by MOHRE and a residence visa issued by the Ministry of Interior, Immigration department. These two together support individuals who live and work in the UAE. The Labour Card ensures the individual is in legal employment which respects the local labour laws, with schemes like the Wages Protection Scheme ensuring employees are paid fairly and on time. Once the residence visa stamp is issued an Emirates ID card is issued, the Emirates ID provides access to a range of smart services such as facilitating bill payment and sponsoring immediate family members. The Employment Visa is a comprehensive visa solution for expats moving to the UAE for employment opportunities.
Individuals holding at least a 24% share in a locally registered company can apply for an Investor visa which is valid for 3 years rather than a 2-year employment visa. Investors, like employees, are also able to sponsor immediate family members to live in the UAE.
Individuals with a residence visa are able to sponsor their immediate family and dependant children, including adopted and stepchildren, up to the age of 18 for sons (or 21 for student sons) and until marriage for daughters. Previous salary requirements and job title restrictions have been significantly reduced in recent years opening up this option to more families. Spouses are permitted to seek a separate Labour Card from their employer permitting them to work whilst under family sponsorship. Historically, men sponsored by their wives were unable to work but this has been possible since early 2020. Adult children who wish to work should seek sponsorship directly from their employer.
Foreign Student Family Visas:
Individuals studying in the UAE can now also sponsor their family but will be required to prove that the family can afford suitable accommodation for the family. These visas were introduced in recognition of Master’s and PHD students who often have children and families and to acknowledge the positive impact of having family support during studies.
Newer visa types that have been introduced include a remote work visa and longer-term visas for those that invest in companies and property in the UAE.
Remote work visa:
One of the newest visa types introduced. Employees and business owners who can work remotely are now able to apply for a renewable 1-year remote working visa. The main requirement is to show a monthly income of at least USD $ 5000 which is currently approximately AED 18,300, applicants will also be required to show either proof of business ownership or an employment contract.
UAE Golden visa:
The 10-year Golden Visa is available for individuals with specialised talents or investment in public fund or company to the value of AED 10 million. Specialised talents must be accredited by the relevant council, doctors or specialists must have a recognised qualification and demonstrate relevant work experience. A 5-year option is available for individuals investing in property with a value of AED 5 million, entrepreneurs with an investment of AED 500,000 or outstanding students.
Individuals aged over 55 years with either an investment in property of AED 2 million, financial savings of no less than AED 1 million or a monthly income of at least AED 20,000 can apply for a 5-year retirement visa. This can be renewed so long as one of the aforementioned criteria continues to be met.
5-year multi entry tourist visa:
This visa allows individuals to enter the UAE at any time over a 5-year period, staying a maximum of 6 months each time. One advantage is that holders do not have to enter every 180 days to keep their visa valid which will greatly benefit companies regularly sending employees to the UAE, or UAE residents who are studying or working abroad and returning to visit family.
Individuals can now be nominated by government officials for UAE citizenship, this initiative is aimed at investors, professionals and special talents and their families. As passports are given on nomination only there is currently no way to apply for permanent citizenship.
The information above was current at the time of publication. Of course, visa rules and regulations can change, so we encourage you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest information or call our team on 04 551 0677, we’d be happy to assist