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 centers of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai or an Amer center.
Foreigners who start a business or invest in an existing company in Dubai’s mainland or the free zones are eligible for a residence visa. This visa is granted to investors who own shares in an existing company worth at least AED 72,000 or are establishing a company with a capital investment worth the same amount.
Eligibility for a UAE Residence Visa:
- You will work in the UAE, under a governmental office, or in a private company.
- You will study in a UAE educational institution
- You are the dependent of a UAE citizen or foreign resident (child, parent, maid, or a close relative)
- You have made an investment in the UAE
- You have purchased the property in the UAE
- You will retire in the UAE
Types of UAE Residence Visas:
The types of UAE Residence Visas are divided depending on the purpose of your travel. As such, there are the:
- UAE Work Visa, which is issued to foreigners who have found employment in the UAE and obtained a Work Permit.
- UAE Student Visa, which is issued for foreign nationals who have been accepted into a UAE educational institution
- UAE Family Visa, which is issued to the close family members of UAE citizens or foreign residents
- UAE Investment Visa (long-term residence), which is issued to foreign nationals who make a substantial investment in the UAE. This type of visa is issued for a longer duration than other types of residence visas (up to ten years)
- UAE Retirement Visa, which is issued to elderly foreigners who want to retire in the UAE and have the necessary financial means to do so.
- Work Remotely from Dubai program, which is issued to foreign freelancers who want to work in Dubai remotely.
Requirements for a UAE Residence Visa:
When applying for a UAE Residence Visa, you must have several supporting documents, such as:
The UAE Visa Application Form obtained online or through the relevant typing center
- Your original passport
- Two passport-size pictures, in line with UAE visa photo requirements
- Your entry visa
- Proof of your sponsor’s legal residency / UAE citizenship
- Proof you have passed a medical fitness test*
- Proof of UAE health insurance plan
- For family visas, include proof of family ties, such as birth/marriage certificates
- For a work visa, your sponsor must include the work contract and copies of the company’s valid trade license and valid firm card
Any additional documents related to your purpose of travel. For more, see:
- UAE Work Visa
- UAE Family Visa
- UAE Student Visa
- UAE Investment Visa
- UAE Retirement Visa
All foreign nationals who want to live in the UAE on a Residence Visa have to pass a medical exam proving their fitness.
You have to apply for a Residence Visa once you’re already in the UAE, meaning you have to enter with an entry permit first. Additionally, just as with the entry permit, in most cases, you cannot apply for your own residence visa: you need a sponsor to apply on your behalf, such as your employer, spouse, etc.
Apply for a UAE Residence Visa:
- First, your sponsor has to get an Entry Permit for you at one of the following:
- The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
- The mobile apps for Apple and Android
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – GDRFA either online (see the websites below) or in person. If your host applies in person they must do so through one of the licensed typing centers of the GDRFA in each Emirate or through one of the Amer centers in Dubai.
GDRFA Dubai mobile apps for Apple and Android
Once you are in the country, your sponsor has to apply for your Residence Visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the relevant emirate in which you will live.
At the time of application, they will also pay a UAE Residence Visa fee, depending on the validity of your visa.
Once your application is approved, the GDRFA will affix a Residence Visa on your passport, and you will receive an Emirates ID, valid for the same duration as the visa.