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UAE Residence Visa and Entry Permit

UAE Residence Visa and Entry Permit

The Entry Permit

Entry Permit allows the holder to enter the UAE and it is valid for only a certain amount of time (usually up to three months). Entry permits are issued based on the purpose of your travel. For example, an entry permit for tourism purposes is a UAE Tourist Visa. Your sponsor has to apply for your entry permit before you enter the UAE.


The Entry Permit Application

Online Channel –  These are the online channels for applying for entry permits:

  • the eChannel’s portal
  • the website of GDRFA – Dubai
  • ICP App on Google Play and App Store
  • Dubai Now on Google Play and App Store


Services Centers –  Typing Centers

Offline visa application can be done through typing centers registered by ICP or typing centers of GDRFA, where the visa application is typed and processed through the GDRFA of the respective emirate. Upon approval, the sponsor will receive a message about the approval and the original entry permit.

Those invited by an individual residing in the UAE or any organization (could be a public or private enterprise, a relative, a tour operator, a hotel or a UAE-based airline) can apply for an Entry Permit.


There are various types of Entry Permit. You can apply for the one that best suits your purpose of the trip. Entry Permit categories include:

  • Employment
  • Family visit
  • Tourism/transit
  • Treatment
  • Mission
  • Attending conferences

Entry Permit validity depends on the type of permit issued. For example, if the reason provided for entry permit is employment, the validity is likely to be two months. Within these two months, the employer would have to apply for a residence visa to avoid any penalties or fines.

The validity period may differ for other permit types.


The Entry Permit fee is AED 500 (charges may vary according to the visa type). The sponsor has to pay the Entry Permit fee.

Entry Permit extension is allowed twice for a period of 30 days respectively. Each renewal costs AED 600. Overstayers are fined AED 100 for each day after a grace period of 10 days.


The Residence Visa

The Residence Visa allows the holder to reside in the UAE long-term. After you enter the country, your sponsor has to apply for your residence visa from the relevant visa-issuing authorities as described above. Once you are in the country on an entry permit, your sponsor can then apply for your residence visa.


Residence Visa Application

Once you are in the country, your sponsor has to apply for your Residence Visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the relevant emirate in which you will live. At the time of application, they will also pay a UAE Residence Visa fee, depending on the validity of your visa.Once your application is approved, the GDRFA will affix a Residence Visa on your passport, and you will receive an Emirates ID, valid for the same duration as the visa.


UAE Residence Visa and Entry Permit

Foreigners who want to live and work in the United Arab Emirates long-term need a UAE Residence Visa. A residence visa for the UAE offers the holder a lot of benefits, including:

  • You can open a bank account
  • You can get a bank loan (personal or car loan)
  • You have visa-free access to several countries
  • Your children can attend government or private schools
  • You can get a driver’s license
  • You have access to government health services and health insurance

However, to be able to get a Residence Visa for the UAE, you must meet certain eligibility criteria, such as finding a job or investing in one of the emirates.


To qualify for a UAE Residence Visa, you have to fall under one of the following categories;

  • You will work in the UAE, under a governmental office or in a private company.
  • You will study in a UAE educational institution
  • You are the dependent of a UAE citizen or foreign resident (child, parent, maid, or a close relative)
  • You have made an investment in the UAE
  • You have purchased property in the UAE
  • You will retire in the UAE


You can only apply for a Residence Visa through a sponsor. Residence Visa application can only be made by sponsors who meet the GDRFA criteria. This can include companies or individuals. However, in certain cases, you may be your own sponsor.

  • For a UAE Work Visa, your employer is your sponsor
  • For a UAE Student Visa, your school is your sponsor
  • For a UAE Family Visa, your family member is your sponsor
  • If you are an investor or buy property in the UAE, you can apply yourself and your company/property serves as sponsorship


Type of UAE Residence Visas

The types of UAE Residence Visas are divided depending on the purpose of your travel.

As such, there is the:

  • UAE Work Visa, which is issued to foreigners who have found employment in the UAE and obtained a Work Permit.
  • UAE Student Visa, which is issued for foreign nationals who have been accepted into a UAE educational institution
  • UAE Family Visa, which is issued to the close family members of UAE citizens or foreign residents
  • UAE Investment Visa (long-term residence), which is issued to foreign nationals who make a substantial investment in the UAE. This type of visa is issued for a longer duration than other types of residence visas (up to ten years)
  • UAE Retirement Visa, which is issued to elderly foreigners who want to retire in the UAE and have the necessary financial means to do so.
  • Work Remotely from Dubai program, which is issued to foreign freelancers who want to work in Dubai remotely.


Residence Visa applicants have to undergo a medical and security test.


Yes, one can travel out and return to the UAE as long as their Residence Visa is valid. The period of travel cannot exceed six months or the document would be considered void.


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