Life Admin, Living

Getting a Residency Visa: What’s involved

Life Admin - Visa

If you’re working in the UAE, your company will sponsor your residence visa from start to finish including the cost. You’ll need a passport with at least 6 months validity, colour photos and you’ll need to pass a medical exam testing for HIV/AIDS or pulmonary tuberculosis. Following your successful visa application, you’ll then need to apply for your Emirates ID card (see below). Once you have your visa, you can then open a bank account, get a driving license, register a car and apply for a PO Box.

When your visa is processed, you can then sponsor family members or maids/nannies. A husband can sponsor his wife only when his salary is above AED 4,000, while there are much stricter criteria – including a list of accepted jobs – if the wife is sponsoring the husband. A three-year visa costs around AED 370, and you’ll need to provide the following:

  • An application form
  • Three photographs with a white background
  • Passports and photocopies
  • Your medical certificate
  • Employment contract
  • Salary certificate
  • Tenancy contract
  • Health insurance
  • Your marriage certificate

The process can be quite lengthy, but there are one-stop visa services in Dubai who will process the paper-work for you for a fee. The same process applies for children, but you can only sponsor boys until the age of 18 – or 21 if they’re in full time university – while girls can remain sponsored until she marries.

As of June 2016, visas will only be processed alongside health insurance – if you’re on a work visa, your employer will have to provide your coverage.

If you’re travelling to the emirates for holiday, 39 countries – including America, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Australia – don’t need visas prior to arrival. If you’re not on the list of approved countries, you’ll need your tourist visa sponsored by a hotel or tourist company (14-30 day visas).

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