Dubai Visa, Residency and Sponsorship Questions and Answers

Can I come on a visit or tourist visa to Dubai, find work and start working immediately?

It is illegal to work on a visa other than a valid employment visa in Dubai. However, you may come on a visit or tourist visa and actively search for jobs in Dubai. Under recent legislation pertaining to employment visas, successful candidates who are hired by Dubai employers are required to exit the UAE pending release of their Employment Visas.

Clearly, any employer asking you to start work immediately or without a valid employment visa is not in compliance with legal requirements. If you choose to begin work without a valid employment visa, you:

  1. give up you chances of using the Labour Code or having the Labour Ministry to mediate your case in the event of a dispute with your employer;
  2. run the risk of being caught, fined and deported. You will also be blacklisted such that you may never return on an employment visa to the UAE. In many cases, illegal laborers spend jail time prior to deportation and their retina scans are kept active to effect the blacklisting.

Can I apply for an employment visa myself?

No, you can’t do that on your own. Employment and residency in Dubai work within a system of sponsorship. An employer is the appropriate party to apply for an employment and residency visa for employees. This means you have to have been hired prior to the application for your employment visa.

How does the UAE’s system of sponsorship work?

An employee’s designated sponsor for residency visa is their employer, whether the respective company is operating within or outside of Free Zones. Dubai or UAE residency is temporary and normally valid for three (3) years but may be renewed. The visa is stamped on the face of your passport.

UAE Laws require resident aliens (foreign nationals) to be primarily sponsored by a UAE national (citizen). UAE nationals may be direct private sponsors, as in the case of a UAE national hiring a domestic servant or, they may be indirect sponsors, as in the case of business employees. Businesses are able to sponsor their employees mainly because a UAE national is a partner, owner or a majority shareholder of the business-sponsor.

Besides being sponsored by my employer, how else can I get a UAE residency visa?

You have three options:

  1. Set up and register your own company in Dubai. Your business can then be your sponsor. Note however that you’ll be required to have a local partner, i.e., a UAE citizen.
  2. Set up a consultancy off of a free zone to become eligible for both residency and work permits
  3. Buy a property so that the property developer becomes your sponsor for residency. Note however that this does not entitle you to work in the UAE.

Can someone who is not a UAE national sponsor a resident?

Yes. This is possible through secondary sponsorship. Secondary sponsors are sponsored residents, usually employed males who would like to have their wife and children live with them in the UAE.

Can women be secondary sponsors as well?

Yes, women can sponsor their children if they’re divorced or widowed.

Can a married woman sponsor her husband and children?

Yes, she can, but only under certain circumstances and with prior approval by both the Depart of Labour and the Department of Immigration and Naturalisation. Wives sponsoring husbands are not customary. In most cases, approval is granted if the wife-sponsor has a profession of strategic and economic importance such as teachers or medical personnel.

What are the qualifying criteria for secondary sponsors?

Employed persons may sponsor only their immediate family, and must meet the minimum salary requirement for sponsorship. The consent and signature of the primary sponsor is required before an employee may sponsor their family.

Whose residency can I sponsor so that they can reside with me in the UAE?

  • Your spouse. This means either your lawfully-wedded husband or wife. This does not include a same-sex partner, even if such person is a lawfully-wedded partner.
  • Your children. These are male and female offspring under 21 years or unmarried daughters over 21 years.

What does being a secondary sponsor mean?

Secondary sponsors are responsible for their dependents whilst such dependents are residents of the UAE. This means you are responsible for their financial support, debts, if they incur any, and all aspects of life and living whilst they are under your sponsorship, including their conduct and behaviour.

Also, as their sponsor, you are responsible for the visa, processing fees and other related costs for obtaining the residency permit for your dependents. This is not your employer’s responsibility and they may not be obliged to assist you beyond giving their consent to your sponsorship. However, in some cases, employers may provide employees with visa-assistance benefits for employees to bring their families over.

Can I acquire permanent residency in the UAE?

No, you can’t. Residency in the UAE is only temporary. However, it is renewable.

Can I acquire UAE citizenship?

No, you can’t. An expatriate is not eligible for UAE citizenship. UAE citizens are defined by law to be only those persons born of parents who are both UAE citizens or born to a father who is a UAE citizen.

What happens to an expat’s child born in the UAE?

The child takes on the citizenship of the parents who must then apply for temporary residency status for their child under the secondary sponsorship system within three months of birth.

What right does temporary residency NOT include?

Temporary residency status is not concurrent with the right to work or seek employment in the UAE, nor does it guarantee employment. Sponsored children under 18 and freehold property owners over 60, whose residency is sponsored by the respective property development company, are not eligible for employment in the UAE. All other residents may go through the usual application process to be legally employed. Legal employment in the UAE is evidenced by the Labour Card.

I have a valid UAE residency visa. I’d like to spend some time in my home country. Will my visa still be valid when I return?

Assuming your UAE residency visa is not expiring within the next six (6) months, you can stay outside of the UAE for at most six months and return on the same visa. Staying outside of the UAE for more than six months at a time automatically invalidates your UAE residency.

What is a “ban”? How do I get banned?

A ban is a legal mechanism that prevents a resident or an employee from re-entering the country or from accepting a position with a new employer for a fixed period of time, usually for six (6) months.
A permanent residency ban may be imposed on serious labour offenders, such as illegal or absconded workers, illegal aliens or convicted felons. Fingerprint samples and retina scans of banned individuals are kept on file by the Federal Department of Immigration.

A labour ban is mandatory. You get banned when:

  • Your contract expires and no action pertaining to your employment has been taken by your current employer, or no new application by a different employer is filed for you.
  • You terminate an unlimited labour contract before completing one year of service.
  • You terminate a limited labour contract before its expiration.

How do I NOT get banned?

  • Your current employer must have taken appropriate action with the Department of Labour to extend your employment with them prior to the expiration of your labour contract;
  • Your sponsorship must have been transferred with a different employer. To effect this, certain conditions must be met, otherwise, your Labour Card will be cancelled and you will be banned.

How do I have my sponsorship transferred from one employer to the next?

Your limited labour contract must have already expired or you must have performed at least one year of service under an unlimited labour contract. As your current sponsor is required to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC), they must have no objections to the transfer or their conditions must have been met prior to the issuance of such certificate. In any case, this is usually discussed by your current and prospective employers. The NOC is required for the transfer of your Labour Card and both must be filed with the Department of Labour. In addition, you can only transfer sponsorships under the same labour category. This simply means your new employment must be for the same position, e.g. Accountant to Accountant, Manager to Manager.

What is the NOC? Can my current employer be legally ordered to provide this document?

A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is a formal letter by your current sponsor addressed to the Department of Labour and the Department of Naturalisation and Immigration to prevent you, the employee, from being banned after completion of your labour contract or in the process of transferring your sponsorship to a new employer. This is entirely discretionary and must be freely given by an employer. No employer may be forced to provide an employee with a NOC, under any circumstance, even after successful completion of a labour contract.

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  1. hi everyone,

    just want to clarify somethings.. my new company is charging our staffs 4000 for their visa, which is to be deducted from their salaries!! is thi legal??

    another thing, my friend guaranteed one of their staffs before!! he went for vacation but since this staff is not paid yet with his visa charges she signed a paper that incase this staff will not comeback she will be liable to pay his balanced visa charges!! and so it goes, the guy wast able to come back here in dubai because of passport issues, and so her company charged her the said balance amount!! is this legal also or she should complain about this matter???

    thanks to anyone who can help me..


    • As a standard Company they will not charge any amount,but if you are resigning before one year then the visa charge will be taken from the last month can check this case with ministry of Labour about the new labour law.but my advise is that got break the relation with management.just adjust

  2. i am a female ,30 years old on father’s visa (abu dhabi). can i do or continue a job on father’s visa.

  3. Dear Sir,
    I had worked for a company here in Dubai for 7 years and 6 months. With some dispute arrived from the day to day things(non supportive nature in regards to the delivery of jobs, late back responce from production side)i had decided to resign from the job and the same has been agreed with the management. As i have the signed copy of my resignation also.
    Now after more then 20 days when i am asking my employer to settle my dues i am not receiving any responce from there side.

    Kindly advise what shold be the course of action from my side.


    • As per UAE Labour month notice period should be there from the date of resignation.wait for 5 more days.settling the due and cancellation is a small process which take only 3 days.

  4. Thanks for this informative website!

    Suppose a businessman with existing investor’s visa wants to add a new business under another sponsor (Sponsor B), what is required? NOC? Does he need to pay another investor’s visa fee?

    If he wants to take a staff from Sponsor B’s other sponsored company with consent of both employer and sponsor, what will be the procedures and requirements?

    Do we have a centralized sponsorship system, say, a separate entity, that will can sponsor those who want to be here on residence visa?

    We heard some cases of conflicts between sponsors and sponsored expats. What are these and how to avoid such?

    Thanks and happy New Year!

    • What I perceive from your inquiry is that you own a business and have a UAE National as your sponsor for Company A. You plan on opening Company B with a Different sponsor. For that you would require an NOC from Company A, but if you have the company in mainland you can draft and sign it yourself.
      You can chose which company you wish to be a part of. If you want to be associated with Company A and keep the investor Visa you can be a shareholder and a manager in Company B and not pay the investor visa Fee.
      In case of employees, they cannot be shared with another company even though you have a NOC stating the same. There are a few limited license activities that can allow you to do that.
      Being a sponsor makes you liable for your employees activities. If they are involved in any illegal practices (like working for another company while at your visa), the sponsor can face penalties of up to AED 100,000. I hope this answers your concerns. If I perceived them differently or left out something please feel free to contact me.

  5. Hi,
    Im an iranian 31-year-old woman and going to stablish a company in UAE ,I wanted to if i can get my residency visa after stablishing a company in uae or its not possibel for an iranian ? meanwhile which freezone or emirates is better for stablishing a company and its much easier for an iranian to get her residency visa?
    best regards

  6. Dear Sir,

    I had completed my 01 year service and the employer verbally transferred me to a another branch and then the second day he asked me to not to come to work until further notice., and the 3rd day the reception informed me that I have been terminated., and that I will be paid the Jan 2012 full salary. They do not allow me to talk or to come to office without a reason. I feel this is really a harassment for me. Before all these happened i had applied for 04 days emergency leave, which was approved by the company management and i had purchased the ticket to travel. This was also aware by the company.
    Can I know weather I can demand for the reason for my termination? Is it possible for me to take that already approved leave for 04 days and go to my mother country and come back after 04 days? Will they release my passport? Am I entitled for my end of service benefit? Since they abuse me, giving me false promises without giving a chance to talk, can I look for a justice? Or shall I keep quiet taking my benefits?

  7. Usman Rafiq says:

    My wife is from indonesia, before we got married my wife was working as a housemaid in a local’s house in dubai, during cancelation she got ban for one year. after that we both travel to indonesia and we got married there, now my question is, Can i bring my wife on my sponsorship, or we have to wait till 1 year. please guide me..

  8. My 1st problem is my visa is labour but my designation in company Engineer and salary more then 4000
    so how can i bring my family in uae parmenent or visit or is there any 2nd option to i can arrange visa or some other option please inform me clear procedure
    Thanking you Rahat

  9. sunil Paal says:

    Sir/ Madam,

    I am indian,I working in dubai Ia am come three month back know I wan’t bring my wife hear what is the prosess & cost can u help me in thise regard.

    Which type visa like.

    1) visit visa : …?cost ?
    2)Family visa : …? cost ?

  10. Shahzad Ahmad says:

    Sir i am 19 years&7 month old can i get working visa of dubai however i did diploma of associate engineer

  11. Shahzad Ahmad says:

    if i not be able to get working visa due to age probelm then have i way to get visa
    if a citizen of UAE Sponser me can he do that?
    Plz plz someone who consultant about it so help me

  12. Dear sir,,
    I applyed new visa for office boy in old visa will be expire on jan4th2012.i if get new visa with in 1week after may go to my new company or not because my old company not provide me releaz letter so what may i do.if i need to back my countary .how long stay there.if not how much money need to pay for visa trnsfar charge.clould pls .thankyou

  13. Dear Sherry,

    I got a 30 day visit to Dubai and I loved it and I want to start working here. I started posting my CV & sending it to recruitment companies I got from the search engines and I’ve been doing this for a week now & still no response knowing that I have decent experience of 7 years in the fields of Real estate, Insurance, Marketing & PR & HR. I’m currently working for a multinational where I live and I believe I’m qualified but still I’m afraid my visit visa ends before me getting a decent job. Any recommendation?

    Best Regards,

  14. Mohammad Sajid says:

    I am 48 years old, i am on salesman visa and was working in ajmaan. now i have returned back to pakistan because my father is very sick, my sales visa is going to expire on 27th january 2012 and i want to cancel my visa from here pakistan and i have no one over there to help me in cancelling my visa from arbaab. how can i get this done so that i could get back my security deposit?

  15. Dear,
    I have been working in Dubai Bank from last 8 months n now i got very good opportunity from another company.When i got 1st offer letter it was mentioned there that i can not change my job before 1 year, if i do than i will be banned for next 1 year,,,What does it mean? can i switch my job….

    Please suggest me as soon as possible.i dont know,what to do?

  16. mr shimulkhan says:

    for osn

  17. John Fischer says:

    Can a married women above 21 years can get a residency visa in UAE from her parents visa if they are having residency visa?? Is it legal.?? What will happen if she gets a residency visa hiding her marital status??

  18. Hi,

    I am an structural engineer working for 4years and 2 months in Abu Dhabi. I have my wife with me here on husband’s visa. My wife is a chemical engineer but she is not doing any job.
    I wanted to ask you in the light of UAE laws, if my wife works in UAE on employment visa and I resigne from my work, then can I stay in UAE on my wife’s visa until I find another job for me? Please note that my and my wife’s nationality is Pakistani.

    Looking forward to ehar from you.

    Many thanks in advance.


    • Hi,

      For getting a wife’s sponsorship, the wife’s salary should be above AED 10k for sponsoring her husband.


  19. I just have a question,My husband lives n works in Saudi Arabia.Our son lives back in Nairobi.Can I sponsor my son to live and school in Dubai while not living with my husband.I’m bothered Help!

  20. mukter hossain says:

    hello. I had given an interview for a job in dubai. I already completed all the requirment what is requir for visa like medical, photo, passport etc. They told me for wait for visa. I want to khow how long it might take? I am from Bangladesh. Plz tell me

    • Congrats on your job!

      The visa procedure took 30 to 60 days. depends on the company..sometimes in a week.

  21. Sponsor no objection letter format for to give cheque in the name

  22. hi i want to know i live in bahrain and i am a citizen here my sister got married in pakistan and she has a daughter they came to bahrain as my sister is a bahrain citizen but her daugther is here on a visit visa..we are planing to go to can we get her daughter visa for dubai as she is jst on visit visa to bahrain. thankyou

  23. i just to ask if i am permanently banned in uae? because i didnt finish my contract and went home in my mother country. is that one of the main reasons to be permanently banned? i am on limited contract.please help me.thanks

  24. My visa already expired last Dec.22,2011 and still my company did not cancelled it. And how long can i stay in dubai. I have heard that I have a 30 days grace period after the expiration of my visa. Thanks!

    • My visa already expired last Dec.22,2011. And my previous company still did not cancelled it. And while I am waiting the cancellation of my employment visa I have working in the other company. I went to my previous company they knew that I’ve got my new job and their waiting my new contract before they will cancelled it. And I have talked to my new employer regarding my situation and they told to me on January 15 my new company will transfer in the freezone and they will apply for the new employment visa and just incase I have overstayed they will pay it. Is it the correct procedure? And how long can i stay in dubai. I have heard that I have a 30 days grace period after the expiration of my visa. Thanks!

  25. hi sherry ,
    as you are working as pro in a company , i would like to clarify one doubt,
    my contract is going to complete in jan 2011, i already submitted my resignation letter , they ask me to extend 10 more days , but i wanna go before my visa expired, in how many days they hav to give settlement if stop my work, what can i do if they are delaying my settlement .?

  26. mouhammad Khir says:

    My dad is a resident of dubai, he sent me a visit visa but the proffesion indicated below is a student where in actually im an employee here in manila will i be having problems with immigration upon leaving philippines?

  27. I wanted to know if an emplyoee quits the job and doesnt inform his employer and returns back what will happen?

  28. hello.. csn anyone tel me what is the age required to get an employment visa in dubai i am 21 yrs old…

  29. Hi
    I am working for a company for the last 8 months i have 3000 salary only. I am graduate bachelor of commerce degree i want to resign. will i have a ban even if i have offer for 5500 from other co. or if i get a job in a freezon company?

  30. I have done B.E from Information Technology passed out in 2011, and mastered in Java Technologies with certification. can you please tell me can i get the job if i go to dubai with Visit visa.

  31. anne manuel says:

    hi, i am on a tourist visa and my visa will expire on jan 21, 2012. i enter here in uae last nov.12, 2011. i am working now as a clinic nurse. can i transfer my employment visa into father’s visa. because my father was here. i am not on fathers visa when i enter here. im on tourist visa. thank you.

  32. Sadiq Sulaimon says:

    I am a Nigerian,and my profession is milled steel welder and steel erector,and i’m looking forward on how to live and work in DUBAI for a better future. Thanks

  33. hi i am 1987 born can i get a dubai visit visa if my friend is the sponsor and he has a residence visa??plzz help

  34. Good day
    I’m on a tourist visa to Dubai and i managed to find a good job in Dubai Media City and they are working on my employment visa now. Question is: Do i have to return to Syria in order to be issued the employment visa or is it possible to change my current visa to an empoloyment one? i heared that you can pay some 1000 AED fee and not return to your country.
    some say that all i need to do is to exit the terminal in the airport and re-enter, does anyone have a clear idea in this regard?

    Many thanks

  35. Muhamamd Sadiq says:

    My question is, what if I quite my job from current employer and join other company within my contractual period of previous employer. Will I ban, also what is duration of ban period. Suppose I have a contract of two years and I quite my job after one year and join the other company. will i still ban. What is the minimum period of contract and ban.

  36. i resigned from my old company as i was offered new work by this other company and already submitted them my passport copy and cancellation slip, but my educational certificates need to be attested from my home country and here i was advised i wont be able to start working until i submit the documents. my question is, right now im on my grace period of 30 days, while waiting for my documents to arrive, and my 30 days will be expiring soon, should i buy a visit visa to legalised my stay here in dubai while i wait for my papers to arrive? i am not sure if my visa is already under process bec of the certificates that i am also waiting. please advise i need your opinion asap. thanks

  37. Pls i don’t know what †☺ do. I wana activate my account & av been called but there I̶̲̥̅̊s̶̲̥̅̊ strike in Nigeria. And have told dem. Pls help mi i don’t wana loose this job opportunity. I̶̲̥̅̊s̶̲̥̅̊ there any assistance. Please reply

  38. I was prisoned for 1 day because of stealing case I admitted. But then I was out also by my employer. They terminated me and wanted to blacklisted in UAE and GCC. What are the letter required from the labour office in case my employer wanted to blacklisted me here? Please do let me know.

    • Hi,

      If he wants to do then he can becoz you broke the law and it was proved you were guilty, so immigration has solid prove to think about your employer request of being blacklisted you.

  39. Florence Isaac says:

    I came to Sharjah on employment visa.My employer got me Labour card and Residence visa.But he did not get the License from the MOH,Abudhabi.So I could not work.I did not know that we should get the proper license from the MOH to practice and live.So employment visa, Labour card and Residence visa was irrelevent.I stayed in Sharjah for one month spending 10000 UAE Dirham of my own and returned to India.My sponsor did not pay me any money only provided me accomodation.I did not revalidated my Resident visa.NOW MY SPONSOR IS ASKING ME TO RETURN ALL THE MONEY HE SPENT FOR MY employment visa, Labour card and Resident Visa.It was his mistake that he did not get the License from the MOH TO START ME AS ASPECIALIST DOCTOR.What should I do now,I should pay him the money he asked or not to pay any penny.

    • Hi,

      Sorry to hear about this.

      Its better to check Ministry of Labor and Immigration Dept for any further action.


  40. sir can i come and work dubai

  41. i have partners visa n if i dont travel with in 180 days back to uae .then how can i re enter again ..


  43. Jerenie Jhoie says:

    hi! I would like to get some info regarding husband’s sponsorship..i am currently working as a secretary in one contracting company in al ain for 6 months now.. I’m under my Husband’s Sponsorship.. i want to change my job, my question are: did my present company can give me a ban?..can i leave the company for 2 weeks notice??..if i will do the two weeks notice, do my company can make any problem to me??..kindly feed me a broad information regarding this matter..


    • Hi,

      You can leave anytime you want. You are not under their visa, you are in your husband visa.. So don’t worry, they could not harm you unless you do any fraud with them.

      Cheers :)

  44. dear sir, my friend is working in dubai and his wife and daughter are in india holding dubai residence visa. but it has being more than 7 months there are in india. please advice if they need to appy for new residence visa or do they need to pay any fine and continue with old visa or can they go on visit visa.

    thanks in advanace.

    • I think they need to re-apply for the visa. Better to check with Immigration authority.


  45. Fahad Mazhar says:


    I’m in dubai on residence visa, I intend to bring my wife to dubai on residence visa, my salary is AED 6000 and my designation is “Electronic Draughtsman”. Is there any issue regarding designation???


    • Designation doesn’t matter. If your salary is mentioned in Labor form 6000 then you can bring your wife here without any difficulty.


  46. I am on HAMRIYA Free Zone VISA, Position manager, my VISA expiring on 31-01-2012.
    What is the last date I can go out of this country without cancellation?
    Thanks & Regards,

  47. Hi all,
    I am Egyptian received a job offer in one of the companies in Dubai, and I want to know what are the medical tests that I should be doing in Dubai to issue the working permits
    My profession will be a sales manager, and what are the diseases that based on they can refuse giving me the residence \ working permit.

  48. Iam a divorced mother, have 2 boys and work with 20k salary in abu Dhabi,can I sponser my children without requesting the letter from their father? as he doesnt even know where they are!!

  49. Hi,I am goin to dubai as a radiographer and are taking my husband and 2 babies with me. Can I take my nanny with and if yes what is my procedures. Please help me.

  50. I am working in a Contracting company.Company suspended me.I received an e-mail from company that they are going to do my final settlement. I accepted that. Now, company is not cancelling my visa and they are forcing me to give resignation.

    I have completed almost eleventh month with this company. Company is telling me that they will put one year ban on me. Is it possible that they can put ban for one year?? I am with my family in dubai. I do not want to have one year ban.
    and what’s the way for releasing 1 year ban?
    Kindly guide me to come out of this critical situation.

    • Hi,

      Ask them to give you NOC for changing another job if they are firing u without any reason.

      I heard there is no ban if a company fired u becoz of economic and financial problems. Better to call Ministry of Labor and tell them the whole situation. They are quite helping and friendly people.

      No one can blacklist or give 1 year ban to any1 without any solid reason or fraud or breaking the laws.