Residence Visa, Immigration and Becoming a Resident in Dubai and UAE

Applying for immigration entry and obtaining a resident visa in Dubai and the UAE is an uncomplicated process, but it is important to understand well the procedures before starting them. In particular, it is important not to confuse the residence in Dubai or the United Arab Emirates with the resident visa and / or immigration card.

The visa resident card is normally valid for three years and can be issued to business owners together with a business license for themselves, their family members and employees. In order to get the immigration card that allows a business to issue resident visas for their employees, the business cannot be offshore but needs to be established in the UAE through a proper commercial license. Many foreign establishments are set in a free zone and can be wholly owned by a foreigner but are generally permitted to conduct business solely within its relevant free zone and are limited to performing solely those activities specified in its license.

In order to conduct business in the UAE, in fact, a foreign investor is required to establish a formal legal presence (directly or through an agent) that must be set up in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Law. Articles 313 to 316 of the Companies Law permit foreign companies to open branches or representative offices within the UAE (Outside of a Free Zone).

The visa resident permit allows the holder to

  • Remain in UAE over 90 days
  • Rent or buy a house
  • Buy a car
  • Perform the mandatory driver license conversion

The visa residency however does not automatically give the holder residency in the UAE. For that, you will need to apply to your Embassy in Abu Dhabi or Consulate in Dubai. One must apply for a residence permit following their arrival. Foreigners have to register with the local Emirates National Identity Authority. All UAE residents who are 15 years or older receive a National Identification Card (NIC) upon registering with the local authorities. Their ID card is linked to the validity period of their residency.

Documentary evidence is needed in order to establish residency:

  • The individual needs to have his or her ordinary residence in the UAE, both personal and for any family members, if applicable;
  • Any accompanying children (minors) need to have established enrollment and actual attendance in schools or in the foreign country schoolings;
  • Proof of working on an ongoing basis (as an employee or contractor or freelance) in the UAE;
  • The signing of contracts for the purchase or rental of residential properties in the country of immigration;
  • Invoices and bills of gas supply, electricity, telephone and other tariff payments, paid in the foreign country;
  • Registration on the electoral roll of the country of immigration;
  • The lack of meaningful and lasting relationships of an economic, family, political, social, cultural and leisure in their own country

Essentially, to obtain residency in Dubai or the United Arab Emirates one must, as a condition:

– Have a Resident Visa;

– Prove that you reside permanently in the UAE with the lease and / or all related documentation (bills, bank account extract etc.).

All nationalities except for UAE and GCC nationals need to obtain a UAE residence visa to legally live in any of the emirates. Residence Visas for UAE have a maximum period of stay in the UAE equal to the validity period of the permit (usually 1 or 3 years); however, if the holder stays outside the UAE for more than 6 months in one period, then the visa becomes invalid (not cancelled), as some have found out when attempting to re-enter the emirates.

Please note that visa-holders of all types can modify the status of their entry and residency permits electronically through a few quick and user-friendly steps while staying in the country, said Brigadier Dr. Rashid Sultan Al Khadar, spokesman for the Naturalization, Residency and Ports department at the Ministry of the Interior. For any enquires, a new 24-hour hotline for visa and naturalization issues for any of the emirates, or on any matters related to residency, is available. The public can call the toll free ‘AMER service on 8005111′ and obtain feedback on questions via communication by phone, fax, email and e-chat.

Residence Visa, Immigration and Becoming a Resident in Dubai and UAE

2 thoughts on “Residence Visa, Immigration and Becoming a Resident in Dubai and UAE

  • April 16, 2017 at 12:49 am

    To whom it may concern,

    I am currently looking for options to issue a Dubai residency as I have a job offer but it requires being already resident.
    I am looking for the least expensive option in order to issue the residency. The time required to finish the whole process is a major factor in my decision.

    Thanks for your feedback,
    Hesham Enan
    35 years old
    2 kids

  • October 3, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I would like to become dubai resident l am Australian and wish to start a freezone business in UAE. What are the options for me? I want quick and cost effective please suggest thank you


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