UAE Employment Visa FAQs

Who needs an employment residence permit for the UAE?

Non-citizens of the UAE are required to obtain a work permit and residency permit in order to work in the country. There are different types of visas/permits, each for a particular purpose.

What is Emirates ID?

Emirates ID is an identity card issued by Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security-ICP. All UAE nationals and residents are required by law to obtain Emirates ID Card and carry it at all times.

What are the rules for obtaining an employment residence permit?

The following requirements are to be met in order to qualify for an employment residence permit:

  • Attested academic education certificate that they have the required qualification
  • Qualifications to fill the role assigned by their employer.
  • Have a valid contract with a local registered employer in the UAE.
  • Medically fit and free of infectious diseases (e.g. HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis etc)
  • Should be between 18 and 65 years of age (exceptions may apply);
  • No previous history of an immigration or labour ban

How long should my passport be valid?

Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months at the time the application is submitted.

What is legalization?

Legalization is the formal confirmation by the appropriate authorities that a document is truthful, correct, and authentic. Legalization involves authentication by the foreign office and the UAE Embassy in the country of issue of the document. In addition, the legalised document is required to be counter legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.

Do all new employees need to have their educational certificates legalized?

Yes, all employees need to complete legalization of their highest academic degree/diploma/ secondary certificates as a part of their Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) work permit application

How long is the employment entry permit is valid once issued?

The employment entry permit is valid for 60 days from the date of issue and cannot be extended, hence the employee is required to enter UAE within the validity period. Upon entry to the UAE, there is a 60-day grace period to complete the residence visa process.

How long can I remain in the UAE with my employment residence permit?

The employment residence permit will allow you to live and work in the UAE for an initial period of up to two (2) or (3) years.

Can I extend renew my employment residence permit?

Yes, residence permit may be renewed from within the UAE for an additional two (2) or (3) years. The renewal application process can be initiated approximately 180 days in advance of the expiry date, if needed.

Do I or my family need to be in the UAE to renew residence visa?

Yes, for the residence visa renewal process, the visa holder and the visa sponsor must be inside the UAE until the process is completed, which takes typically 2-3 weeks. A UAE residence visa is typically renewable in every two or three years

Are there any limitations on the amount of time I can spend outside of the UAE?

As a legal resident of the UAE, you cannot spend more than six (6) months continuously outside of the UAE. If this requirement is not complied, your residence permit will automatically lapse and become void. Please note, mandatory de-registration is required and subsequently a new employment residence permit application will need to be processed.

Can I travel in and out of the UAE with the entry permit?

Upon entering the UAE on Entry Permit, you must remain in the UAE until the completion of the residence visa. You CANNOT leave while your residence visa is under process.

What is included with the medical screening test?

This will include a medical history review, physical examination, chest x-ray and blood test.

Can I start work while my work permit is under process?

No, you are not allowed to work until your employment entry permit is issued or visa change status process is complete.

Can I work on a visit or tourist visa?

No, it is illegal to work in the UAE with or without pay while being on a visit or tourist visa. According to the UAE's labour and residency laws, a individual cannot work if he/she has not been issued a work permit and an employment visa. Violators may be liable to fines and deportation

Is there anything else I should know about the residence visa process?

  • Yes – You should be aware that, once you have received your residence visa, you are not allowed to drive in UAE using your international driving license. You must immediately transfer your license to a UAE license.
  • Please also note that a residence permit and emirates ID are required in order for you to open a local bank account in the UAE.
  • An employee, male or female, with an unmarried domestic partner will not be able to sponsor his/her partner. However, his/her partner may work and live in the UAE if they obtain their own employment through which they can be sponsored for a residence visa.
  • Nationals from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are not required to apply for a residence visa however they are required to obtain a work permit in MOHRE.

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