Here’s how you can Obtain a Residency Visa in the UAE

by Zaara 17, Jul 2020

Here’s how you can Obtain a Residency Visa in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most attractive countries in the world in terms of operation of business and residence. The main benefit of the country includes tax-free status, excellent opportunities for business development, high standards of living, and economic and political stability. Before setting up your business in any of the Emirates, it is required to obtain a resident visa (residence permit). It is relatively easy to obtain such a visa within a relatively short period if the individual requirements are duly followed.

UAE Residence Visa

The UAE residence visa is a permit that allows foreign people to live in this country for an extended period. The visa is valid for 2-3 or even ten years and may be renewed as many times as a person needs. Many international families are living in the Emirates for generations, just keeping on renewing their visas regularly.

Foreigners who want to live and work in the UAE long-term need a Residence Visa. A  UAE residence visa offers the holder a lot of benefits, including:

  • You can open a bank account
  • You can get a bank loan (car or personal loan)
  • You have visa-free access to many countries
  • Your children can attend private or government schools
  • You can get a driver’s license
  • Easy access to government health services and health insurance

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining UAE Resident Visa

To be eligible for a UAE Resident Visa, you must check the following categories:

  • You will work in the Emirates either in a governmental office or in a private company
  • You will study in a UAE educational institution
  • You are the dependent of a UAE national or foreign resident (parent, child, maid, or a close relative)
  • You have invested in the UAE
  • You have purchased a property in the UAE
  • You will retire in the UAE

Different Types of Residency Visas in the UAE

The different types of Residence Visas in the UAE are divided depending on the purpose of your travel. They are as under:

  1. UAE Work Visa – It is issued to foreigners who have found employment in the UAE and obtained a Work Permit.
  2. UAE Student Visa – It is issued for foreign nationals who have been accepted into a UAE educational institution
  3. UAE Family Visa – It is issued to the close family members of UAE citizens or foreign residents
  4. UAE Investment Visa (long-term residence) – It is issued to foreign nationals who make a considerable investment in the UAE. An investment visa is issued for a longer period than other types of residence visas (up to ten years)
  5. UAE Retirement Visa – It is issued to elderly foreigners who want to retire in the Emirates and have the necessary financial means to do so

Requirements for Obtaining the UAE Residence Visa

To apply for a resident visa in the UAE, you need documents as mentioned below:

  • The UAE Visa Application form obtained online or through the relevant typing center
  • Entry Visa and Original passport
  • Health Insurance proof
  • Two passport-size photos according to the UAE visa photo requirements
  • Proof of your sponsor’s legal residency / UAE citizenship
  • Proof that you have passed a medical fitness test (Note that all foreign nationals who want to live in the UAE on a Residence Visa have to pass a medical exam proving their fitness)
  • For family visas you must include proof of family ties, such as birth/marriage certificates
  • For a work visa, your sponsor must take in the work contract and copies of the company’s valid trade license and valid firm card
  • Any added documents related to your purpose of travel.

Application for Residence Visa UAE

You must apply for a resident visa once you are in the UAE. It means that you have come to the UAE with an entry permit first. Moreover, just as with the entry permit, in most cases, you cannot apply for your residence visa: you need a sponsor to apply on your behalf, such as your employer, spouse, etc. So, who can apply for your UAE residence visa?

You can only apply for a Residence Visa via a sponsor. However, in some instances, you may be your sponsor.

  • For a UAE Student Visa, your school is your sponsor
  • For a UAE Work Visa, your employer is your sponsor
  • For a UAE Family Visa, your family member is your sponsor
  • If you are an investor or buying any property in the UAE, you can apply yourself, and your company/property serves as sponsorship

Procedure to Apply for the UAE Residence Visa

First, your sponsor must get an Entry Permit for you at any of the following:

  • The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
    • The ICA’s eChanel portal
    • 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 UAE, your sponsor must apply for your Residence Visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the pertinent 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.

How long can you stay in the UAE with a Residency Visa?

The duration of UAE Residence Visas depends on the purpose of your travel: they are issued for 1, 2, or 3 years and can be renewed. However, Investment Visas or Retirement Visas are also issued for 5-10 years and are renewable.

Renewing your Residency Visa

Your sponsor has to renew your Residence Visa within the 30 days before its expiry date. However, your sponsor may also renew your visa after it expires if it is within the UAE residence visa expiry grace period. The renewal procedure for the UAE residence visa is similar to when you first got your visa: your sponsor has to apply at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in the pertinent Emirate.

How can Commitbiz Assist you?

We have a decade of experience in helping expatriates obtain visas in the UAE. Our experts are well-versed with the legal guideline and can make the complete process hassle-free. Contact us today for more information.


What is a residence visa in UAE?

A UAE residency visa is a license that permits foreigners to live in the UAE for a prolonged period.

Can I work in UAE without a residence visa?

Working without obtaining the proper visa status is illegal and can lead to imprisonment, fines and deportation.

How much does a UAE residency visa cost?

 The cost of a UAE resident visa varies depending on your permit’s duration

When can one obtain a UAE resident visa?

After receiving the results of your medical tests, one can obtain a resident visa within 2-3 business days.

How much does a UAE residence visa cost for one year?

The UAE residence visa fee for a year is approximately around AED 1000.

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