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Over the past few years, the UAE has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for business. Entrepreneurs not only look to set up their company in Dubai, but also live in the emirate with their families. Thus, business owners need to obtain a UAE residence visa, followed by dependent visas for their family members.

According to recent statistics, the UAE is home to a large expat population, with residents from all over the world flocking to cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi for career opportunities and a high standard of living.

With such a diverse community and a wealth of opportunities available, it’s no surprise that obtaining a UAE residence visa is a key step in making the most of what this vibrant country has to offer.

What is a UAE Residence Visa?

A UAE Residence Visa permits foreigners to live and work in the United Arab Emirates for a specific period. It’s important to note that, unlike some other countries, you generally cannot directly apply for a UAE Residence Visa yourself.

To obtain a residence visa, you typically need a sponsor who is a UAE citizen, company, or educational institution (except for certain visa categories like investor visas).

For those who get into the country on an employment contract, there are two more ways to acquire a UAE residence permit. In addition, you must either invest in real estate or start a business in the UAE.

What Are the Different Types of Residency Visa in the UAE?

The types of UAE residence visas available each have their own requirements and validity periods. Some of the most common types include:

Carefully consider the types of UAE residence visas available; each has its own requirements and validity periods. Some of the most common types include:

1. UAE Employment Visa

Your employer in the UAE typically sponsors this most common type of residence visa. It usually remains valid for two or three years and can be renewed as long as you stay employed by the same company.

2. Investor Visa

This visa is for individuals who invest a certain amount of money in a UAE business. There are two main types of investor visas:

  • The 5-Year Golden Visa (Property Investor Visa): This visa requires an investment of at least AED 2 million (around USD 545,000) in property in the UAE and is valid for five years.
  • The 10-Year Golden Visa (Long-Term Investor Visa): This visa requires an investment of at least AED 10 million in a UAE business or fund, or real estate with an annual rental income of no less than AED 1 million. It is valid for ten years and is automatically renewed.

3. UAE Retirement Visa

This visa is available for individuals aged 55 and above who meet specific income and health requirements. It allows them to reside in the UAE without the need for employment.

4. UAE Student Visa

This visa is sponsored by your educational institution in the UAE. It is typically valid for the duration of your studies, plus an additional 30 days.

5. Domestic Worker Visa

This visa is for domestic workers employed by UAE residents. It is typically tied to the sponsor’s visa and is valid for the duration of the employment contract.

6. UAE Family Visa

This visa is for the spouse and children of UAE residents or citizens. It is typically tied to the sponsor’s visa and is valid for the same duration.

7. UAE Green Visa

This is a relatively new visa category. It is a five-year visa that allows freelance professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors to live and work in the UAE without the need for a local company sponsor.

Read Post: Types of Residency Visa In UAE

Who is Eligible for a UAE Residence Visa

Eligibility for a UAE Residence Visa depends on the specific type of visa you’re interested in (mentioned above). However, most types of UAE Residence Visas share some general eligibility criteria:

  • Most types of visas require applicants to be above 18 years old.
  • You must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • You must be in good health and pass a medical test.
  • Health insurances are mandatory for most visa categories.
  • Security clearances might be necessary depending on the visa type.
  • Meet financial requirements specific to the visa type (e.g., minimum income, proof of funds).
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.

Documents Required for a UAE Residence Visa

The documents and requirements for a UAE Residence Visa vary depending on the specific type of visa you are applying for. However, some general requirements apply to most types:

  • Valid passport with validity exceeding six months from the application date.
  • Two passport-sized photographs meeting UAE specification
  • Completed visa application form
  • Medical fitness test result
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in the UAE

Employment Visa:

  • Employment contract with a UAE company.
  • Proof of the company’s valid trade license and firm card.
  • Salary certificate or bank statements (if applicable).

Investor Visa:

  • Proof of investment (e.g., business registration documents, property ownership papers).
  • Bank statements showcasing sufficient funds.

Family Visa:

  • Marriage certificate (for spouse).
  • Birth certificates (for children).
  • Proof of sponsor’s residency status (e.g., Emirates ID, visa).s

These are general requirements, and additional documents might be necessary based on your individual situation and the chosen visa type.

Benefits of Obtaining UAE Residence Visa

There are several potential advantages of getting residence visa in the UAE, including:

  • Live and work in the UAE for an extended period (1 year to 10 years, depending on visa type).
  • Gain access to the UAE’s job market and pursue career opportunities.
  • Benefit from government healthcare services or obtain health insurance.
  • Enjoy visa-free travel to certain destinations with some visa types.
  • Invest in businesses or establish your own company (with specific visa types).
  • Experience a high standard of living and world-class infrastructure.
  • In some cases, sponsor your spouse and children to live with you in the UAE (depends on visa type).
  • Enrol children in public or private schools within the UAE.
  • Potentially benefit from a favourable tax regime (no income tax for residents).

How to Get a Residence Visa in Dubai, UAE?

To obtain a Dubai residence visa in 2024, you must carefully and correctly follow several steps in the application process. Here is the step-by-step guide:

1. Secure Sponsor to Apply Residence Visa

Except for the Green Visa or investor visa, you generally require a sponsor to apply for a UAE Residence Visa. This can be a UAE company (for employment visas), a UAE citizen (for family visas), or an educational institution (for student visas).

The sponsor plays a crucial role in initiating the application process and ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements.

2. Obtain an Entry Visa

Your sponsor must obtain an entry permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s online portal. Moreover, it’s also available on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website. In addition, this can be done in person from one of the licensed GDRFA typing centres.

3. Prepare required documents

Compile all the necessary documents as per your chosen visa type. Ensure they are complete, valid, and meet the specified format requirements.

4. Apply for Residence Visa

Your sponsor needs to apply for your immigrant visa in the UAE at the GDRFA. Therefore, always collaborate with Shuraa and we’ll help you apply for the same by managing your Dubai residence permit.

5. Pay the cost of Residence Visa

At the time of application, you will have to pay a UAE residence visa cost. The fee varies depending on your residency visa validity. Furthermore, the residency visa validity for employees and investors is different.

6. Wait for approval and visa stamping

The authorities will review your application and inform you of the outcome. Upon approval, the visa will be stamped on your passport.

7. Obtain Emirates ID

After receiving your visa, you need to apply for an Emirates ID card, which is the official identification document in the UAE. The Emirates ID will be valid for the same duration as the visa.

It’s advisable to consult one of our experts at Shuraa Business Setup for the most up-to-date and accurate information concerning the process and requirements for obtaining your desired UAE Residence Visa.

Can I Renew my UAE Residency Visa?

Yes, you can renew your UAE Residency Visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and follow the established procedures. Generally, your sponsor is responsible for renewing your UAE Residency Visa before it expires. However, some visa types, like the Green Visa, allow individuals to sponsor themselves.

To renew your UAE residency visa you must follow this procedure:

  • Ensure you meet the renewal requirements, which might involve maintaining sponsorship, meeting income thresholds, and having valid health insurance.
  • Collect necessary documents like your passport, current visa, medical fitness test results, and proof of sponsor’s status (if applicable).
  • Your sponsor or a typing centre will submit the application and required documents to the GDRFA in your emirate.
  • Pay the applicable renewal fees.
  • The authorities will review your application and inform you of the decision. Upon approval, you’ll receive your renewed visa.

The cheapest residence visa in the UAE are the long-term ones extended for 90 days. The license can be renewed for twice 6 months. However, you may require paying additional fees such as medical tests, visa stamping fees, etc.

UAE Visa Renewal for Divorced Women and Widows

In the UAE, divorced women and widows are eligible for a one-year visa extension on their existing residence visa, without the need for a new sponsor. This is a significant benefit compared to the traditional system where they would have needed to find a new sponsor, which could be challenging.

Eligibility:

  • Divorced women who were previously sponsored by their husbands on a dependency or family visa.
  • Widows who were previously sponsored by their husbands on a dependency or family visa.

Requirements for renewal:

  • The woman and her children (if any) must have held a valid visa at the time of the divorce or death of the husband
  • Proof of divorce or death certificate
  • Proof of residence
  • Medical fitness test
  • Health insurance (not always mandatory)
  • Emirates ID (Necessary)

What is the Cost of UAE Residency Visa?

Application processing fees can vary depending on the chosen method (online or in-person) and the specific emirate. For a one-year UAE residence visa, the fees typically range between AED 70 and AED 100. For a two-year UAE residence visa, the fees are approximately AED 3500 without insurance. With insurance, the cost increases to around AED 5272.

Additionally, a two-year UAE family visa cost 2024 is generally around AED 2200 without insurance. Furthermore, a three-year UAE residence visa cost can be around AED 3700 without insurance. 

However, the actual cost of obtaining a UAE Residence Visa varies significantly depending on several factors such as visa types, processing fees, visa duration and much more.

The fees of an immigrant visa in the UAE can vary according to the type and person to be sponsored. Therefore, below is the approximate cost breakdown:

Type of UAE Residence VisaEstimated Cost*
Employment VisaThe employer usually bears the cost, but processing fees (AED 70-100) and Emirates ID card (AED 410) apply.
Investors Visa – Golden Visa (10 years)AED 5,000 for application processing + medical test fees + typing centre charges.
Investor Visa – Golden Visa (5 years)AED 3,000 for application processing + medical test fees + typing centre charges.
Property Investor VisaApplication processing fees + medical test fees + typing centre charges (vary based on property value).
Retirement VisaAED 3,000 for application processing + medical test fees + typing centre charges.
Family VisaAED 310 application fee + refundable deposit + medical test fees + typing center charges.
Green VisaAED 5,000 application fee + medical test fees + typing center charges + insurance costs.

*Please note these are approximate costs and can change based on specific circumstances.

Is there a difference between the UAE Entry Permit and Residence Visa?

Entry Permit allows you to enter the UAE for a specific purpose and complete the necessary procedures to obtain a residence visa. These purposes can include tourism, business visits, attending events, or medical treatment.

Entry permits are valid for a short period, typically 2 months for regular visas and 6 months for some specific types (like Golden Visas). Entry permits are not renewable.

Whereas Residence Visa allows you to reside in the UAE for a longer period to work, study, invest, or retire.

Residence visas typically range from 1 year to 5 years in duration, with some special visas (like the Golden Visa) offering even longer validity periods (10 years). You can renew them upon meeting specific requirements and following the established procedures.

Secure Your UAE Residence Visa with Shuraa!

Obtaining a UAE Residence Visa opens doors to a world of possibilities. However, securing a residency visa in the UAE involves rigorous documentation. From submitting the necessary paperwork to attending medical examinations, there are several steps involved in obtaining a residency visa.

Moreover, you must know all the legal procedures involved in procuring this visa for error-free processing. Therefore, for a smoother and more efficient experience, consider partnering with Shuraa Business Setup.

We have years of experience in assisting individuals and businesses with their visa requirements and establishment needs in the UAE.

So, get in touch today at for a free expert consultation at +971 44081900 or WhatsApp at +971 507775554. For inquiries, drop an email at [email protected].

– Faizan Bashir
Country Head, Shuraa Indi

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How long does it take to get Dubai residence visa?

Generally, the immigration office will take up to 48 hours to process your application. If application is approved, you should receive their Emirates ID card within two weeks. Your worker’s residence status lasts up to two years with the option for renewal.

Q2. How to download residence visa copy UAE?

Download your e-visa using these steps:

  1. Visit Smart Services ICA.
  2. Select passport information.
  3. Select either ‘residency’ or ‘visa’
  4. Enter passport number and passport expiry date.
  5. Enter nationality from the dropdown on the right. A corresponding number will appear on the box on the left.
  6. Select the captcha check box and click on search.

Q3. What is passport validity to enter UAE with residence visa?

To enter the UAE, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive in the UAE. If you have a residence permit, your passport’s expiry date must be at least 3 months after the date you arrive in the UAE.

Q4. Can you travel outside the UAE while your residence visa is in process?

Your Emirates ID is linked to your residence permit. If it is under process, then you won’t be allowed to exit Dubai airport. So, it is always better to complete your process of Emirates ID and then proceed to travel to your home country.

Q5. What is the required photo size for a UAE residence visa?

Your Emirates ID / residence visa for UAE ICA photo size must be 35×40 mm. This means that your head must be between 62 and 65.10000000000001 % from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head.

Q6. How long is UAE residence visa valid?

The validity of a residence visa varies according to its type and the sponsor. It can be for 1, 2 or 3 years on a sponsored visa, or up to 5 or 10 years on an unsponsored visa. According to recent changes, a residence visa can also be issued for 5 and 10 years, subject to certain conditions.

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