UAE Residence Visa | Residency Permits in United Arab Emirates

UAE Residence Visa: All you need to know

The UAE is a popular destination for expats looking to live and work in a vibrant and dynamic country. If you’re considering moving to the UAE, you’ll need to obtain a residence visa to be able to stay in the country for an extended period of time.

About UAE Residence Visa

A UAE Residence Visa is a document that allows an individual to legally reside in the United Arab Emirates for a specified period of time. It is typically issued to foreign nationals who run their own business e.g. by setting up a free zone or mainland company with visa entitlement, have a valid job offer, own property, or are married to a UAE citizen. The process of obtaining a UAE Residence Visa involves completing several documents and medical tests, and may require a security deposit. Once obtained, a UAE Residence Visa provides access to public services, including healthcare and education, and allows for unlimited entry and exit from the country during its validity period.

In this guide, we’ll outline everything you need to know about obtaining a UAE residence visa, including the different types of visas available and the requirements for each.

Types of UAE Residence Visas

  1. Investor Visa: This is a type of visa intended for individuals who wish to invest in a business or company in the UAE. The minimum investment required to qualify for an investor visa varies depending on the type of business or company.
    This visa option is frequently chosen by most of our clients as we assist them in establishing their businesses, either through a mainland or free zone company that’s eligible for UAE Residence Visas. In some free zones, business owners are categorized as investors, while in others, the shareholder(s) of the company must appoint themselves as managing directors or general managers and may even have to provide a labour contract same as an employment visa.
    Previously, the investor visa was valid for three years, but since 2022, it has been shortened to two years. However, it can be renewed indefinitely to allow for long-term stays. It’s important to note that even a long-term stay does not entitle one to a UAE passport, and there’s no provision for a UAE permanent residency at this time.
    Of course, we’re happy to prepare the labour contract for our clients in case it is required to make it as easy as possible for them!
  2. Employment Visa: This type of visa is for individuals who are coming to the UAE to work for a company. It is sponsored by the employer and is valid for up to two years.
  3. Property Investment Residence Visa: This is a type of visa that’s available to individuals who own property in the UAE worth at least AED 1 million (approximately USD 272,000). This visa allows the holder to stay in the country for a period of six months, which can be extended as long as they continue to own the property.
    In recent times, the UAE government has introduced changes to the Property Investment Residence Visa program, allowing for a 5-year residence visa for individuals who own property worth at least AED 5 million or more, and a 10-year residence visa for those who own property worth at least AED 10 million or more.
    This type of visa provides an excellent opportunity for foreign investors to gain a foothold in the UAE real estate market while enjoying the benefits of residing in the country. Our firm can assist clients in obtaining this visa by helping them navigate the complex requirements and procedures involved in the application process.
  4. The Student Visa is a type of visa that’s specifically designed for individuals who are coming to the UAE to pursue higher education at a university or college. This visa allows them to stay in the country for the duration of their studies.To be eligible for this visa, students must have a valid acceptance letter from a recognized educational institution in the UAE, and they must meet certain academic requirements. Students must also provide evidence of their financial ability to support themselves while they’re studying in the UAE.Once the Student Visa is obtained, it’s valid for up to one year and can be extended for the duration of the course. During their stay in the UAE, students are required to maintain full-time enrollment in their course of study, and they must abide by the rules and regulations of the educational institution and the UAE government.
    It’s worth noting that students who wish to work while studying in the UAE must obtain a work permit, which is separate from the Student Visa. Our firm can assist clients in obtaining both the Student Visa and work permit, as well as navigate the complex procedures and requirements involved in the application process.
    Overall, the Student Visa is an excellent opportunity for individuals who wish to pursue higher education in the UAE while experiencing the country’s rich culture and heritage.
  5. The UAE currently does not offer a specific retirement visa for individuals who wish to retire in the country. However, property owners who are over the age of 55 may be eligible for a long-term residency visa, provided they meet certain conditions.
    To be eligible for the long-term residency visa, the property must be owned outright or have a minimum value of AED 2 million (approximately USD 544,000). Additionally, the property must be the primary residence of the applicant, and they must provide evidence of their financial ability to support themselves during their stay in the UAE.
    Once the long-term residency visa is obtained, it allows the holder to stay in the UAE for a period of five years, with the option to renew it. The visa provides the holder with access to public services, such as healthcare and education, and allows for unlimited entry and exit from the country.It’s worth noting that while the UAE does not currently offer a specific retirement visa, the long-term residency visa is an excellent opportunity for individuals who wish to retire in the UAE and enjoy the country’s warm climate, rich culture, and vibrant lifestyle.
  6. The Golden Visa is a highly coveted long-term residence visa that’s available to a select group of individuals in the UAE. This visa provides the holder with the ability to stay in the country for up to 10 years, making it an excellent option for those who wish to establish a long-term presence in the UAE.
    The Golden Visa is typically granted to individuals who are investors, entrepreneurs, or exceptionally talented in their field, such as science, arts, or sports. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must meet certain criteria, such as having a certain level of income, investing in a UAE-based company, or possessing a specific skill set.Once the Golden Visa is obtained, the holder is entitled to reside and work in the UAE for a period of up to 10 years. The visa is renewable, and holders can enjoy the same benefits as those with other types of residence visas, including access to public services and the ability to enter and exit the UAE without restriction.
    Overall, the Golden Visa is a highly sought-after visa option that provides a range of benefits to a select group of individuals. Our firm can assist clients in determining their eligibility for the Golden Visa and in navigating the complex application process to ensure a smooth and successful outcome.

Requirements for Obtaining a UAE Residence Visa

The requirements for obtaining a UAE residence visa vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. Here are some of the general requirements:

  1. Passport: You’ll need a valid passport with at least six months’ validity.
  2. Medical examination: You’ll need to undergo a medical examination to ensure that you are in good health. The examination involves an HIV blood test and an x-ray to detect tuberculosis.
  3. Background check: Applicants must provide a background check either from their home country or from the UAE. This check is necessary to ensure that the applicant has no criminal record or other legal issues that would prevent them from being granted a visa.
  4. Financial support: You’ll need to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself and any dependents while living in the UAE. The amount of financial support required to obtain a UAE Residence Visa can vary depending on the type of visa and the applicant’s individual circumstances. Generally, applicants are required to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial means to support themselves and any dependents while living in the UAE. This financial support may come in the form of a salary from an employer in the UAE, proof of business ownership or investment, or evidence of personal savings or assets. The specific amount required will depend on factors such as the cost of living in the emirate where the applicant intends to reside, the number of dependents, and the type of visa being applied for.

    Overall, it’s important for applicants to carefully consider their financial situation and ensure that they can meet the requirements for financial support before applying for a UAE Residence Visa. Our firm can assist clients in determining the specific financial requirements for their visa application and in providing the necessary documentation to demonstrate their financial means.

  5. Visa application: To obtain a UAE Residence Visa, applicants must submit a visa application along with the necessary documents and fees. The specific requirements for the application can vary depending on the type of visa and the individual circumstances of the applicant.
    Generally, applicants must provide a completed application form, a passport with at least six months validity, a passport-sized photograph, and any additional documentation required for their specific type of visa, such as a work contract or proof of financial means. They must also pay the appropriate visa fees, which can vary depending on the type of visa and the duration of the visa.
    Once the application and documentation are submitted, they will be reviewed by the relevant authorities. The processing time for a UAE Residence Visa can vary depending on the type of visa and the individual circumstances of the case. Some visas can be processed quickly, while others may take several weeks or even months to be approved.Our firm can assist clients in preparing and submitting their visa application, ensuring that all necessary documents are provided and that the application is completed accurately and efficiently.

Process for Obtaining a UAE Residence Visa

If you’re an individual looking to obtain a UAE Residence Visa as a business owner, the process can be broken down into several steps.

1.) You’ll need to register your company in the UAE. We help you to register your company even remotely. Once your company is registered, you’ll need to obtain an establishment card, which is an immigration document that allows you to begin the visa application process and need to register for e-channel (The e-Channel in the UAE is an online platform provided by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) that allows registered individuals and companies to apply for and manage various visa and residency services.).

2.) The next step is to obtain an entry permit, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a resident visa. This entry permit is obtained at the initial stage of the visa application process. We will apply for your e-visa (An e-Visa (electronic visa) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a digital travel authorization that permits eligible foreign nationals to enter and travel within the UAE. The e-Visa system allows travelers to apply for their visa online, without the need to visit an embassy or consulate physically. The UAE e-Visa is generally issued for tourism, business, or transit purposes, and its validity and duration vary depending on the applicant’s nationality and the specific type of e-Visa. The process usually involves completing an online application form, providing required documents, and paying the applicable fee. Once the e-Visa is approved, it is sent to the applicant’s email, and they can print it or present it electronically at the immigration checkpoint upon arrival in the UAE. where it also needs to be stamped.

3.) After obtaining the entry permit you must undergo a mandatory medical fitness test at one of the approved medical centers in Dubai. The list of medical centers can change over time, so it is always advisable to check for the most up-to-date information on the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) website or contact the DHA directly. Here are some medical centers and clinics in Dubai that provide services for visa medical tests:

  1. Al Muhaisnah Medical Fitness Center
  2. Al Safa Health Center
  3. Al Barsha Health Center
  4. Al Karama Medical Fitness Center (also known as Al Karama Medical Fitness Express Services Center)
  5. Al Quoz Mall Medical Fitness Center
  6. Al Rashidiya Medical Fitness Center
  7. Al Lusaily Primary Health Care Center
  8. Al Bada’a Health Center
  9. Al Towar Health Center
  10. Knowledge Village Medical Fitness Center
  11. JAFZA Medical Fitness Center
  12. DIFC Medical Fitness Center

Please note that this list may not be exhaustive or up-to-date, and you should verify the current status of these medical centers before visiting. Additionally, some centers may offer premium services, such as VIP or express options, for faster processing of your medical fitness test results.

4.)Emirates ID application: The Emirates ID is an identity card issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is mandatory for UAE citizens and residents, including expatriates. The Emirates ID serves as proof of identity, contains personal biometric data, and can be used for various government transactions and services and is usually also a requirement to obtain a Business Bank Account in the UAE.

To apply for an Emirates ID, follow these steps: Registration: First, you must register for an Emirates ID. You can do this online through the ICA website ( or the ICA UAE app. Alternatively, you can visit an accredited typing center to help you fill out the application form.

  1. Complete the application form: Fill in the required personal information, including your name, nationality, contact details, and UAE residence visa information (for expatriates). Make sure to double-check your information for accuracy.
  2. Pay the fees: There are application fees associated with the Emirates ID, which vary depending on the card’s validity (1, 2, or 3 years). You can pay these fees online using a credit or debit card, or at the typing center if you are applying in person.
  3. Book a biometric appointment: After submitting the application form and paying the fees, you will need to book an appointment at an ICA-approved biometric registration center. At this appointment, your photograph, fingerprints, and digital signature will be captured.
  4. Attend the biometric appointment: Bring your original passport and a printed copy of the application form to your appointment. If you are a UAE resident, also bring your original residence visa or entry permit.
  5. Receive your Emirates ID: After completing the biometric appointment, your Emirates ID card will be processed and sent to the designated post office or delivery location. You will receive an SMS notification when your card is ready for collection. Make sure to bring your original passport and the application form when picking up your card.

Remember to keep your Emirates ID card safe and up-to-date, as you may need to present it for various government transactions, banking services, and other purposes throughout your stay in the UAE.

5.) Issuing Residency Visa: Finally, once the medical tests are completed and the Emirates ID application is processed, the visa will be issued .The visa process takes around 3-5 working after having submitted both medical fitness test and Emirates ID Application. A VIP might be available at extra costs where the visa can be issued in only 1 day. The Emirates ID can be issued in 10-12 working days.

Accessing the Digital Visa Sticker While the physical pink sticker is no longer available, you can now access your visa digitally through the official UAE ICP app. To access the digital visa, follow these steps:

  1. Install the ‘UAEICP’ app on your Apple or Android device.
  2. Sign in using your existing UAE Pass account or create a new ICP account.
  3. After registration, the app will display your residency information.
  4. If you sponsor a family member or domestic worker, their accounts will be linked to yours, allowing you to view their details as well.
  5. At the bottom of your screen, locate the document wallet icon and tap on it. This will grant you access to both the digital copy of the Emirates ID and the digital residency visa.
  6. Click on your digital residency visa and select ‘download.’
  7. The app will then enable you to download or share the digital visa through Whatsapp, Email, or other platforms.

It’s important to note that while you can stay in your home country during the initial stages of the visa application process, your personal presence is required for the medical check, Emirates ID application, and visa stamping. Additionally, once your passport is taken to the immigration office for stamping, you will not be able to leave the UAE until the process is completed.

  1. Determine your eligibility: Determine the type of visa that you are eligible for based on your circumstances.
  2. Gather required documents: Gather the required documents, such as your passport, medical examination report, and background check.
  3. Submit application: Submit your application, along with the required documents and fees, to the relevant UAE authorities.
  4. Wait for processing: Wait for your visa application to be processed, which can take several 4-5 days (VIP 1 day)
  5. Receive visa: Once your visa application is approved, you’ll receive your visa, which will allow you to live and work in the UAE.

Upon approval of your visa application, you will receive your UAE residence visa. This visa grants you the right to live and work in the United Arab Emirates.

Any UAE Residence Visa entitles to live in any Emirate within the UAE

If you have been granted a UAE Residence Visa, you can choose to live in any Emirate within the UAE, including Dubai. Your visa will allow you to maintain a permanent residency in Dubai or any other Emirate of your choice.

This means that you have the freedom to choose where you want to reside in the UAE, whether it be Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, or any other Emirate. You can live in any part of the UAE that suits your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Overall, the UAE offers a range of options for individuals who wish to reside in the country, and our firm can assist clients in navigating the complex procedures and requirements involved in obtaining a UAE Residence Visa and in choosing the right Emirate to call home.


  1. What is a UAE Residence Visa? A UAE Residence Visa is a permit that allows foreign nationals to live, work, or study in the United Arab Emirates legally. It is usually sponsored by an employer, a family member, or an educational institution.
  2. How long is the UAE Residence Visa valid for? UAE Residence Visas typically have a validity of 1, 2, or 3 years, depending on the type of visa, your sponsor, and the emirate where it is issued.
  3. How do I apply for a UAE Residence Visa? To apply for a UAE Residence Visa, you generally need a sponsor, such as an employer or a family member who is a UAE resident or citizen. Your sponsor will initiate the visa application process on your behalf. After obtaining an entry permit, you can enter the UAE and proceed with the medical fitness test, Emirates ID registration, and visa stamping in your passport.
  4. What are the requirements for a UAE Residence Visa? The requirements for a UAE Residence Visa include a valid passport, passport-sized photos, a sponsor, an entry permit, medical fitness test results, and a registered Emirates ID. Additional documents may be required depending on your visa type, such as an employment contract, a marriage certificate, or an educational institution’s admission letter.
  5. Can I work in the UAE with a Residence Visa? Yes, you can work in the UAE with a Residence Visa. However, you must obtain a work permit or labor card from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) or a relevant free zone authority.
  6. Can my family join me in the UAE if I have a Residence Visa? Yes, if you meet certain eligibility criteria, such as a minimum salary requirement, you can sponsor your family members (spouse, children, and, in some cases, parents) for their UAE Residence Visas.
  7. What happens if my UAE Residence Visa expires or is canceled? If your UAE Residence Visa expires or is canceled, you typically have a 30-day grace period to either renew your visa, obtain a new visa, or exit the UAE. Overstaying this grace period may result in fines or penalties.
  8. How do I cancel a UAE Residence Visa?

    Canceling a UAE Residence Visa is a crucial step when leaving the UAE permanently, changing jobs, or sponsoring a new visa. The process is generally initiated by the visa sponsor (usually an employer or a family member) and involves the following steps:

    1. Obtain necessary documents: Gather the required documents for canceling the residence visa. This typically includes the original passport, Emirates ID, and the passport of the sponsor (if applicable).
    2. Cancel work permit: If the residence visa is employment-based, the sponsor must cancel the work permit or labor card through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) or the relevant free zone authority.
    3. Emirates ID cancellation: The visa holder must submit their Emirates ID to the typing center or authorized agent handling the visa cancellation process.
    4. Visit a typing center or authorized agent: The visa sponsor should visit a typing center or an authorized agent to fill out the visa cancellation form. The center will process the form and collect the applicable fees.
    5. Submit the documents: The sponsor must submit the required documents, along with the completed visa cancellation form, to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in the respective emirate.
    6. Collect the passport: Once the visa cancellation process is completed, the passport with the canceled visa will be returned to the visa holder.
    7. Grace period: After the cancellation of the residence visa, the visa holder typically has a 30-day grace period to leave the UAE or obtain a new visa. Overstaying this grace period can lead to fines and penalties.

    It is essential to check the current guidelines and requirements for your specific situation, as regulations may change over time. Always consult with the relevant authorities, such as the GDRFA, the ICA, or the MOHRE, for the most up-to-date information.

    9.) How do I renew my UAE Residence Visa? To renew your UAE Residence Visa, you must submit a renewal application through your sponsor. The process usually involves a new medical fitness test, an updated Emirates ID, and payment of the renewal fees.

Please note that regulations and processes may change, so always refer to the latest information provided by the UAE government, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).