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. My wife is working as a teacher in Dubai for about an year and half , can she sponsor for my visa. her salary is 4000 AED + Accom

  2. I recently got married in UK and my wife is here with me with a residence visa in her OLD name. She has renewed her passport with her new married name. Does she have to cancel her visa and re-apply for a new one? She is now in a free zone in Dubai and is thinking about transferring to my on-shore visa in her new name.

    Any advice will be appreciated

    • Hi Chris,

      Congratulations on getting married.

      As per my info, there is no need for changing the name on visa. But be sure to check with Freezone authorities as laws change here frequently.


  3. Hi,

    I was working at a real estate company and with no reason they terminated me. First they said that I have been transferred and then the second day they call and told me not to come to work. The termination letter has received to me in a internal memo. And the company promised in that letter that I will be benefited with full month January 2012 salary. Currently I am not working and they said that they will be cancelling my visa, as my visa was under their company. I am with my family. Is it possible for me to transfer my visa to my husband’s sponsorship? Do i get a ban when they cancel my company visa? There is no proper reason for my termination. I completed 01 year in this company.
    Thanks for your time to helping me

    • 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.

      You can go under your husband sponsorship if his salary is AED 4000. Just cancel the visa and go under husband sponsorship..

      But before check with MOL and ask ur company for NOC


  4. how can i apply for a sister’s visa if i am having hamriya freezone residence visa? what are the requirements?

  5. Randy Flores says:

    I understand that if I hold a valid UAE residence visa, I can go out of UAE anytime but have to return within six months. If I can not return within the 6th month period, but can only return on the 7th month period because of family concern. Would it be the possible for me? What am I going to do. Please advise and thank you.

    • Hi Randy,

      The visa will expire after six months if any person who holds resident visa, stay outside. But better check with Immigration if there is any extension. I heard once, there is some extended period but not sure.


  6. My employment visa was cancelled last september 2011 (i worked as a secretary for 1 yr and 1 month) because i filed complain against my employer in the Ministry of Labour for not giving me dayoff once a week and working 10-14 hrs everday.
    I just wanted to ask if my employer have the right to banned me in the Labour or blacklisted me in Immigration? If i am banned or blacklisted, how will i know or how can i check? Is there any possibilities that i can go back in UAE and work again?
    Thank you…

    • Hi Yang,

      Sorry to hear about your past experience.

      If you left your job without completing your contract then u would got a automatic six month labor ban. But u may join a freezone company.

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

      I will advise you to apply for a visit visa, if you get it then it means you have no immigration ban. Only 6 months Labor Ban.


  7. My wife visa is under my sponsership, if she stayed outside uae for more than six months ( Maternity), visa will be cancelled or i can extend the visa, any late fee or fine .she can come on the same visa

    • Hi Rahul,

      The visa will expire after six months if any person who holds resident visa, stay outside. But better check with Immigration if there is any extension. I heard once, there is some extended period but not sure.


  8. Can anybody give me a right answer for my question please?! My brother has been blacklisted in Abu Dhabi, is there any chances or possibilities that I can bring him back here in Abu Dhabi?

    Thank you.


  10. suresh kumar says:

    I am an Indian .want to start ENGLISH SPEAKING CLASSES in Dubai.How its possible?

  11. mary ghafoorie says:

    I am anurse and I am working in NICU now. I graduated at 2006 and have worked for 6 years in children hospital. I am married and havent child.
    How can I have dubai residency?

  12. me and my husband are working here in dubai my husband is in freezone i just want to ask if we can get our baby if our basic salary is lower than 2500 + housing allowance and trans. allowance.thank you.

  13. Aasim Muhammed says:

    Hi..I am a doctor aged 60.I have an indian passport. I like to live in Dubai for a short while since I am planning to marry my fiance who lives there. What is the retirement age in Dubai.I have my resume prepared and how can you help me find employment. Is there a website where I can find hospitals who have positions to hire..What are the procedures do I follow. If I marry my fiance how can she sponsor me and what is the salary requirement for her to do so? I will appreciate whatever help that you can offer. Thanking you so much for your help

  14. Eva Fonda says:

    Hi I am with my husband’s visa, just want to ask If I want to resign do I still need to render the 30 days notice or I can choose how many the days specially if I am hired immediately to a different company

  15. Can I come to dubai for study in uni and have sponsorship? or some can helm me for uni :(

  16. I sponsored my fiance to get a visit visa here in UAE and now he already have a job and get a resident visa sponsored by his company. My question is it possible that i can deport him? After helping him in all his needs he just left me. This is very awkward for me to ask this question but i want to know the answer. Thank you.

    • Hi,

      Sorry to hear about this, but he is already under the company visa so you cannot deport him…unless you own that company.


  17. kennedy mwangi says:

    hi, am ken from kenya and am a lifeguard by profession i would like to work in dubai if given an opportunity. thank you

  18. i am currently employed now in a free zone company and i want to resign but still want to stay in dubai as a tourist visa or hubands visa. how much will it cost or what are the things to do ?

    • Hi,

      You can cancel your visa and can come under your husband sponsorship. it costs nothing..I think 200 dirhams for typing expenses..

  19. How much amount will come for employment visa in UAE . Pl. tell me approximately amount

  20. Masa Alkhyr..i been in Dubai for 18years recently i returned back to Philippines due to personal problem in Dubai my visa and passport is banned. my concerned is how can i check the status of my banned? is there’s any chances i can go back to Dubai? i got a job proposal in Mediterranean area is there’s no problem for me if i stop over in Dubai Airport?
    Please advise accordingly, if whether it is possible that if my name is blocked uplifted or i cannot travel to the country lifetime.

    Awaiting your reply.


  21. Dear Sir,

    I am Physically Disable Person, but I am Computer Data Entry Operator, it is possible to me work at Dubai, UAE. Its my desire work at UAE
    Please inform me it is possible to me or not.

  22. Hi I got a job with a Dubai based company and they have issued an entry permit(employment visa) for me however due to circumstances beyond my control i am forced to leave back to India the company is now asking me to pay a sum of 4500/- to get my passport back even though my residence visa has not been stamped. Please let me know if this is common practice in companies and if entry permit charges are really that high.


  23. Iqbal Azad says:

    Dear sir
    my date of birth 16-02-1954 can i get employment visa for u a e

  24. I am new joiner & from india…I am working in a private company & PRo applied for Labor card & got it 1 month ago but refuse to give it to me & he holds it. When i try to ask he given me only photocopy. Can any one tell me.. Should i keep the Labor card with me or Company should keep?

  25. Hi I’m on husband sponsorship and working with a company since one and a half year. I hv put in my put in my papers but the company says that if they want they can put a ban on me..please clarify can my employer put a ban on me if I quit before two years even if I am on husband visa? Also are there no sick leaves allowed in notice period? I got a doctors certificate but the company insists they will deduct my salary though nothing of such type is mentioned in my contract. Also they are deducting 2500 aed for labour card..that is written in my contract but I want to know the cost of labour card so they don’t deduct more than the amount. Please help

  26. hi,
    I am here on a 2 year residency visa and i am in full time employment. My Wife is here sponsored on my visa. Can my Wife seek employment just on my visa or does she have to change to the new employers visa.
    Thank you

  27. I’m a Tunisian 24 male currently working under 2 years contract and only been working for 2 months, i have bachelor degree in science and engineering, but they have made a mistake in the company which i im currently working at and put my profession to be (office boy) in my labor card. i want to leave the company and study in one of UAE universities. specifically UAEU to do my master degree in engineering science, i have already been accepted by the UAEU,and will start my courses on 12th of feb 2012, my question is, Can i transfer my visa to the University, if they accept, or to my aunt since she us a UAE citizen without getting banned for six month?

    thanks and best regards

  28. Me and my wife are planning to hire a housemaid back in our country, is it possible that we sponsor the person’s work permit and residence visa? And if it is possible what are the requirements, the procedures and the amount of all the documents we will process. thanks.


  30. labour card must or not for uae visa cancellation

  31. My Visa expires on 14th feb. I want to know if will get end of employment benefits ???

    Secondly, if it is upto me to whenever I leave the country ( wihin 20 days i am assuming)???

    Third, How much time do i have to leave the UAE???

    your response will be highly appreciated.


  32. Hi;

    I got a job visa from Dubai free i’am in what are the formalities i have to do???

  33. hi, im just currenty working in my company but i finished my 3 years service and i got to renew for 2 years, but on my renewal he transferred me in his another company instead to old company, my question is i want to leave my current job and i completed my 1 year in the new company on April, can i transfer in Freezone if somebody have offer at me,? how is my ban? please answer me thanking you..

  34. Hi,

    I am in Dubai since a month.My husband works here as a Sofware engineer.On my visa it is mentioned as resident visa not allowed to work . We were not aware abt this before applying for visa we thought that on dependent visa,the dependents are allowed to work.Now please let me know the possibilites for changing the visa which would help me in finding a job.

    Thanks in Advance

  35. Hi, my mother is currently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and we want to get my father back here so she could see him but my father is blacklisted since 2005 due to a petty felony case. We tried to take him back but to no avail. The immigration officers did not allow him to get pass throgh. Since this is a special case, will there be any chance to lift that ban and get him back at all? This would mean a lot to us especially to my mother.


  36. hey,,iam from sri husband working in dubai.i want to go to dubai,but my husband havent minimum salaries for the famili tell me what i want to do?

  37. Hi,

    I would like some professional advice on my situation here in dubai, I have been given a 1 month probabtion as a leasing consultant, and within in my contract states that if i do not pass my employer says I cannot obtain another role within the same industy is this true, since i have no visa or work permit can i be employed by another company??

  38. can i sponser my friend to uae?


    I m sheeba from india 1.5 year back i was in Dubai uae with my husband i came here in sep 2010 for my sister in law marriage after that marriage my inlaws stolen my passport and went away some where and m staying with my parents and arrange a duplicate passport from passport office but my husband is not ready to call me back and one of my inlaws relative told me your husband has did second marriage and having child in UAE sir can u please suggest me to whom i should contact in uae for my husband complaint or deportation he was cheated me from almost 1.5 years.

  40. Angela Iwendi says:

    How can i apply for immgrant visa to Dubia

  41. Ummer Farook says:

    My visa is 2 year new residence visa in al ain, UAE. Now 8 month completed. I want to resign from present company. I got a new job in DIFC, Dubai,UAE. There visa is emigration visa.

    I have 6 month normal ban or it will not effect to transfer emigration visa???

  42. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Many thanks

  43. Dear Sherry brother ..
    I want know that i want come to dubai for visit on 15 or 20th of FEBRAURY and my passport Expiry is 2nd of AUGUST .. so can i travel to Dubai or not ? and what problems i will face if i go to Dubai in these days ? I shall be thankful to you, please give me quick response.

  44. im a babysitter at the moment for 12 yrs but i want to tranfer my visa to the daughter of my recently employer now as a driver.what are the procedure of transfering my visa which will be expire on june 2012

  45. hello sir,
    i have got a visa title vehicle upholsterer and the sponsor is my brother in law he just want me to come on this visa and work for couple of mnths and later i want to look another job in my field(mechanical engg)..what will be the whole process as i already got the visa please let me know..ASAP THNX

  46. my children dont have visa for 3 yrs what should i do now coz im now capable of giving visa to my new comny..

  47. Dear Sir
    I have llc company ,almost 9 months unfortunately i cant continue this company .so the staff are only 3 months .so please give me the answer for bellow question.

    1.How can i transfer to someone licence this to them?
    2.what happen to the staff ?
    3.if i did not get any one so can i cancel the staff and company licence ?
    4.Have to give any compensation to the staff ?
    5.Can i get back visa deposit of the staff ?
    6 Or any other consequences in this process ? please give me great advise

    Thank you

  48. hi , i want to know, what mind tree thing i carry when i leving india,(exe.. passport, photo…) if i moving for work? is aney seel is requre on passport? what what thing requred airport authority at leaving(india) time?

  49. Hi, Can a husband sponsor his parents in law not for tourist visa but for stay with him in dubai. Or should only wife sponsor her parents. What are the conditions for sponsoring in both the cases.

  50. Sir,

    I got an offer letter from a company.After that they are asking for many documents.all I gave except one.I am trying for it but its taking time.But got a news from the agency that the company may cancel my job offer if I didn’t submit.Just want to know whether they can cancel the job offer?