Foreigners who wish to live and work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an extended period can apply for a UAE Residence Visa. This visa offers several benefits, including:
Banking and Loans: With a Residence Visa, you can open a bank account in the UAE and have access to various banking services. It also enables you to apply for bank loans, such as personal loans or car loans.
Visa-Free Travel: Holding a UAE Residence Visa grants you visa-free access or visa-on-arrival privileges to several countries, making travel more convenient.
Education: Your children can attend government or private schools in the UAE, ensuring access to quality education.
Driver’s License: A Residence Visa allows you to apply for a UAE driver’s license, enabling you to legally drive in the country.
Healthcare: UAE Residence Visa holders have access to government healthcare services and can also obtain private health insurance for comprehensive medical coverage.
To be eligible for a UAE Residence Visa, you must meet specific criteria, which can vary depending on the emirate and visa category. Common requirements include finding employment with a UAE company or investing in a business within the UAE. Each emirate may have its own regulations and requirements for obtaining a Residence Visa.
It’s important to consult with the UAE immigration authorities or seek professional guidance to understand the specific eligibility criteria and procedures based on your individual circumstances. This will help ensure a smooth and successful application for a UAE Residence Visa.
Who is Eligible for a UAE Residence Visa?
To be eligible for a UAE Residence Visa, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Employment: You have a job offer from a government entity or a private company in the UAE, and your employer will sponsor your visa.
- Education: You have been accepted into a recognized educational institution in the UAE, and you have the necessary student visa sponsorship.
- Dependents: You are a dependent of a UAE citizen or a foreign resident, such as a child, parent, maid, or close relative, and your sponsor will facilitate your visa application.
- Investment: You have made a significant financial investment in the UAE, which may include starting a business, buying shares in a company, or establishing a partnership.
- Property Ownership: You have purchased property in the UAE, meeting the specified value threshold, and you can provide the required documentation to support your visa application.
- Retirement: You plan to retire in the UAE and meet the specific criteria for the Retirement Visa, which typically includes meeting age and financial requirements.
How Many Types of Residence Visa are there in UAE?
There are different types of UAE Residence Visas based on the purpose of your stay. These include:
UAE Work Visa: This visa is granted to foreign nationals who have secured employment in the UAE and obtained a Work Permit from their employer.
UAE Student Visa: Foreign students accepted into a UAE educational institution can obtain a Student Visa to pursue their studies.
UAE Family Visa: Close family members of UAE citizens or foreign residents can apply for a Family Visa to join their relatives in the UAE.
UAE Investment Visa (long-term residence): Foreign nationals who make a significant investment in the UAE are eligible for an Investment Visa. This visa allows for a longer duration of stay, up to ten years.
UAE Retirement Visa: Elderly individuals who wish to retire in the UAE and have the necessary financial means can apply for a Retirement Visa.
Work Remotely from Dubai program: Freelancers and remote workers can apply for this visa to work from Dubai while employed by overseas companies.
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What are the Requirements for a UAE Residence Visa?
When applying for a UAE Residence Visa, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Completed UAE Visa Application Form, which can be obtained online or from a typing center.
- Original passport.
- Two passport-size photographs that meet the UAE visa photo requirements.
- Entry visa (if applicable).
- Proof of your sponsor’s legal residency or UAE citizenship.
- Medical fitness test results, indicating that you are in good health. This is a requirement for all Residence Visa applicants.
- Proof of UAE health insurance coverage.
- For family visas, include documents that establish your family ties, such as birth or marriage certificates.
- For work visas, your sponsor must provide the work contract and copies of the company’s valid trade license and firm card.
- Any additional documents specific to your purpose of travel, depending on the type of Residence Visa you are applying for.
It’s important to note that the requirements may vary slightly depending on the visa category and the emirate in which you are applying. It is advisable to consult with the UAE immigration authorities or seek professional advice to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and meet the specific requirements for your UAE Residence Visa application.
UAE Residence Visa Application
To apply for a UAE Residence Visa, you need to be present in the UAE and enter with an entry permit. It is important to note that in most cases, you cannot apply for a Residence Visa on your own. Instead, you must have a sponsor, such as your employer or spouse, who will apply for the visa on your behalf. The sponsor will be responsible for initiating and facilitating the Residence Visa application process.
Sponsorship for UAE Residence Visa Application
To apply for a UAE Residence Visa, you must have a sponsor. The sponsor can vary depending on the type of visa:
UAE Work Visa: Your employer serves as your sponsor and will apply for your Residence Visa.
UAE Student Visa: Your educational institution acts as your sponsor and will apply for your Residence Visa.
UAE Family Visa: A family member who is a UAE citizen or resident can sponsor your Residence Visa.
UAE Investment Visa or Property Visa: In these cases, you can apply for the Residence Visa yourself, as your investment or property ownership will serve as the basis for sponsorship.
How to Apply for a UAE Residence Visa
Obtain an Entry Permit: Your sponsor must apply for an Entry Permit on your behalf. They can do this through various channels, such as the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, the ICA’s eChanel portal, or the relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) office. The application can be submitted online or in-person at licensed typing centers or Amer centers. This step is completed before you enter the UAE.
1. Arrive in the UAE:
Once the Entry Permit is granted, you can travel to the UAE.
2. Apply for a Residence Visa:
After arriving in the UAE, your sponsor needs to apply for your Residence Visa at the GDRFA office of the respective emirate where you will reside. They will submit the necessary documents and pay the applicable Residence Visa fee.
3. Visa Processing:
The GDRFA will review your application and, if approved, affix the Residence Visa to your passport. You will also be issued an Emirates ID, which is valid for the same duration as your visa.
4. Completion and Collection:
Once the Residence Visa is processed, you or your sponsor can collect the passport with the visa and the Emirates ID.
It’s important to follow the specific guidelines and requirements provided by the GDRFA in the respective emirate. It is advisable to consult the official websites of the GDRFA or seek professional assistance to ensure a smooth and accurate application process for your UAE Residence Visa.
UAE Residence Visa Fees
The fees for a UAE Residence Visa vary depending on the duration of the visa. For a one-year visa, the fee is AED 100.
In addition to the visa fee, there is also a processing fee that depends on whether you apply in person or online. If applying in person, the fee can be around AED 70, while the online application fee is typically around AED 40.
The Difference Between the UAE Entry Permit and Residence Visa
The UAE Entry Permit and Residence Visa differ in their purpose and duration:
The Entry Permit is issued for a specific period, typically up to three months, and allows the holder to enter the UAE. It is obtained before entering the country and is based on the purpose of travel, such as tourism or business. For example, a UAE Tourist Visa is a type of entry permit.
Your sponsor, such as an employer or family member, applies for the entry permit on your behalf. Some nationalities are exempt from needing an entry permit or can obtain one upon arrival, depending on their eligibility.
The Residence Visa, on the other hand, is for long-term residency in the UAE. After entering the country with an entry permit, your sponsor must apply for a residence visa from the relevant visa-issuing authorities. The residence visa allows you to legally reside in the UAE for a specified period.
While the entry permit is temporary and grants entry to the UAE, the residence visa is for extended stay and residency in the country. It is important to note that the residence visa application process must be completed after entering the UAE with an entry permit.
How Long can I Stay with a UAE Residence Visa?
The duration of a UAE Residence Visa varies depending on the purpose of your travel. Typically, residence visas are issued for 1, 2, or 3 years and can be renewed upon expiration.
In certain cases, such as with Investment Visas or Retirement Visas, longer-duration visas are available. These visas can be issued for 5 to 10 years and are also renewable upon expiration.
Getting a UAE Residence Visa Renewal before Expiry
To renew your UAE Residence Visa, your sponsor must initiate the renewal process within 30 days prior to its expiration. However, it is also possible to renew the visa during the grace period after it has expired.
The renewal procedure for a UAE Residence Visa is similar to the initial application process. Your sponsor will need to submit the necessary documents and apply at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in the relevant emirate.
What’s the UAE Residence Visa Expiry Grace Period?
The UAE provides a grace period of 30 days to expatriates whose Residence Visa has expired. During this period, individuals can stay in the country without any penalties. However, if the visa is not renewed within this grace period, individuals must exit the country and re-enter using an entry permit.
It’s important to note that overstaying beyond the grace period will result in fines being imposed for each day of overstay.
UAE Residence Visa overstay fee
If you overstay your UAE Residence Visa, the fees for the overstay are as follows:
- For the first 6 months (180 days) of overstay, the fee is AED 25 per day.
- For the second 6 months (180 days) of overstay, the fee is AED 50 per day.
- After one year has passed, the fee is AED 100 per day.
UAE Visa Renewal for Divorced Women and Widows
Since October 2018, a new immigration rule in the UAE allows widows and divorced women of UAE residents to remain in the country without a sponsor for one year following the passing of their husbands or their divorce. This rule also applies to their children, if they were under their husband’s visa at the time of his death or the divorce, and their visas are still valid.
To be eligible, these women and their children can apply for a visa renewal at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The application requires the submission of the following documents:
- Proof of death or divorce (as applicable)
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof that the woman is financially capable of supporting herself
- Emirates ID Card
- Medical fitness certificatesIt’s important to note that this type of visa can only be extended once.
Consequences of Leaving the UAE for More Than 6 Months
If you have a UAE residence permit and you leave the country for more than 6 months, your permit will become invalid. This means that you will not be able to re-enter the UAE without applying for a new residence permit.
However, there are certain categories of individuals who are exempt from this six-month rule. These include:
Golden visa holders and their family members:
Holders of 10-year visas and their family members are exempt from the six-month residence requirement.
Government employees on medical or assignment-related leave:
Government employees who are living abroad for medical reasons or for official assignments are exempt from the rule.
Investors with approved residence permits:
Investors who have residence permits under approved classifications are exempt from the rule.
Spouses of Emirati citizens:
The wives of Emirati citizens who are sponsored by their husbands are exempt from the six-month rule.
Individuals sponsored by UAE embassies or consulates:
People who are sponsored by UAE embassies or consulates are exempt from the rule.
International students in Dubai:
International students who are enrolled abroad but are living in Dubai are exempt from the rule.
Domestic employees accompanying employers overseas:
Domestic employees who accompany their employers overseas are exempt from the rule.
It’s important to note that these exemptions may vary, and it’s advisable to check with the relevant authorities or your sponsor for specific details and requirements.
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