Getting a UAE Visa

To work in the UAE you must have a sponsor. This can be someone already living there or an employer who will sponsor you for admittance so you can take up a job.

There are different kids of visa for different kinds of work and lengths of stay and the one you need will be decided on the basis of number of things that are taken account like whether you are coming to work or for a holiday, the country you are coming from.

If you are already a citizen of one of the countries in the Gulf Cooperative Council then you don’t actually need a visa – merely your passport (those countries are Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates and Oman).

Otherwise you will receive your visa on arrival at the airport.

If you are a citizen of an Arab Gulf Country Council (but not one of the GCC countries) and belong to a list of certain professional occupations then you will be allowed a 30 day visa. These occupations tend to be the professions – doctors, accountants, engineers and public sector workers.

If you belong to one of the countries on an approved list then you can get a free single visit visa – but verify with a UAE embassy before travelling. The countries on the approved include the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the countries within the EU and some others. A full, up to date list can be seen on the UAE immigration services website.

If you don’t qualify for a visa under any of these more-or-less automatic critera, then you must apply for a visa through a sponsor. The sponsor must sort out all of the paperwork on your behalf:

  • A sponsor in the Hotel and Tourist Industry can apply for a 14 day Service Visa, a 30 day Tourist Visa or a 30 day Visit Visa which can be extended for another 30 days at a later.
  • Airlines can apply for a 4 day Transit Visa for airline staff.
  • Other sectors within the UAE can only seek to obtain Visit Visa’s and Service Visas but not Tourist Visas.
  • If you have a friend on relative already living the UAE then they can apply for a visa on your behalf as a sponsor.

If these rules sound fairly straightforward that’s because, in most cases they are. However visitors from countries including Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Niger have further limitations. It is always advised that you check with The Naturalisation and Residency Administration of the Ministry of the Interior for the region of Dubai to get proper, up-to-date information.

If you are coming to the region to work and your employed is sorting out the visa on your behalf there a few things to be aware of.

  • The sponsoring company handles all paperwork required for your visa application, and employment visas only last an initial 30 days (although they can be extended).
  • You can’t leave the sponsoring company without their permission
  • During your initial 30 day visa, you must apply for a residency visa. These are normally valid for 3 years and without one you won’t be able services such as bank accounts and phone numbers etc.
  • There is also a medical test

Your prospective employer should be able to explain all available options to you.Please, note that although we are trying to update this information as fast as possible it is always advisable to check latest changes at the Visa Section of the UAE Embassy of the country where you currently reside.

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