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).