Immigration & Visas Overview

U.A.E companies are located in either Free Zones or freehold as LLC companies. Although each fall under the basic U.A.E immigration rules and regulations, each operate differently and requirements and regulations differ slightly.

In order for an applicant to be eligible for an employee visa, the company must have a registered company in the U.A.E with any of the Authorities and hold a valid Trade License and Establishment Card.

Employment visas are generally issued for 2 – 3 years, depending on the issuing Authority.


Employee Visa

As soon as the employment contract has been signed and the start date agreed, the application for the Employee visa can be submitted.
The first stage of the application can be submitted whilst the employee is outside the country.

As part of the visa process, a medical examination which includes a blood test and chest x-ray is required.

In addition, fingerprint biometrics will have to be submitted to the Emirates ID Authorities in order to obtain the national ID card. Holding this card is a compulsory requirement in the U.A.E, and is required when obtaining a U.A.E driving license, registering a car, opening a bank account and for many other transactions.

Dependent Visa

Although males are generally expected to be the ones to sponsor their families, it is permitted for a female to sponsor her husband and children. However, this is subject to immigration approval and can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Medical testing required for spouse and Emirates ID card required for all dependents.

Important note: Dependent visas can only be applied for once the primary sponsor has obtained his/her residency visa, has secured a property in the U.A.E and finalized a tenancy contract, which is registered with the government and connected DEWA (water & electricity).

Timelines & Fees

Processing times vary between Authorities and can range from anything from 1 to 6 weeks. This processing time depends not only on the Authority, but also on the applicant’s nationality and whether additional security checks are required by immigration.

Fees also vary between Free Zones and depend on the type of service desired. Most Free Zones offer a choice of ‘Regular’ or ‘Express’ service, which also determines the processing cost involved.

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