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. I want job in UAE as Accountant. My contact # 00923238471539.

  2. I have applied for Dubai tourist Visa.
    I have to go there for shopping for 4 days.
    And i have purchased the Flights ticket too.
    Will i get it?

  3. Hi,
    I filed a complain at Ministry of Labor against my employer because i worked 10-12 hrs/day without day off. My visa was cancelled and i worked only for more than 1 year. I just want to ask if how many months is my ban in Labour? Because i know that have automatic 6 months ban but some people say that maybe my employer add another 6 months to make it 1 year Labour ban..Does my employer allowed to add 6 months ban even if i am the one who complain?


  4. is there any ban for work permit if i am changing my employment visa to husband visa immediately after completing one & half years employment as an engineer?

  5. can anyone please let me know, my labor contract is still under process may be at labor card dept. but i can view it online on MOL dubai website netwasal enquiry service.
    My question is ” Can i apply for family visa based on print out of labor contract? rest of the paper work i have in original except labor contract.

    This is something imp. need urgent response.

  6. Shahzad Malik says:

    sir i am under 20 years old can i get employment visa to a company if he sponsor me

  7. hi sherry,
    i am currently working in dubai llc. i want to move to saif zone now. but my 2 years are not completed. is it possible with 6 months ban? kindly guide me according to new laws as i heard that now 6 month ban also applicable in freezone companies.

  8. Hello,

    My name is syeda and i recently got job in UAE,im under husband visa and to make my labor card,my PRO asked me to bring NOC from my husband,but i dont know the procedure,can u please help me.and also confirm what is the minimum duration for me to work with this company without resinging

  9. m working in private sector , my salary is 4000 plus , i dint bachelor degree, and i want to deliver my baby here in rasalkhaimah , and also i want to sponsor / residency visa to my baby ,
    please can you guide me? what is the requirement to process the residency visa for my baby

  10. Hi,

    Am from India and may i know what is the actual processing time to opt for residence visa in Dubai, if itz sponsored by my husband who is already working there in Dubai and we are a newly married couple. Will be highly appreciated on your immediate response reg this.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. Hi I am moving to Dubai with my husband. We have an eritrean nanny since 2 yrs she practically raised my son. i have found out that eritrean are not allowed to work as nannies, maids etc . My question is can my husband grant her a visa through his company’s sponsorship and what are the minimum requirements for her job title in the company then?
    thank you

  12. My wife has a bank loan and she lost her job, she’s account was freeze, but from the time she lost her job, I am continouing paying for her monthly installment for her loan to the bank were she got the loan. In that way can my wife still face a problem in the immigration if she went back here in UAE? Do the bank can still file a case against my wife although our monthly payment was not even missed from time she lost her job?

    Thank you and Regards

  13. Dear Sir,

    Presently, Im in an Oil and Gas company here in UAE. Im planning to transfer to other company which the same business as we have. In our Company policy, its not allowed to transfer to company which is competent of our Business for confidentiality purpose.
    Then now – I decided to resigned last 3 weeks ago and I got already a new visa to my new (competent)company but my original passport still keep by the HR of old company. So im just finishing my 30 days grace period of my old company to transfer to new employer. New employer is requiring me to go for medical but the hospital required my original passport, and the HR mention to me that he will not give it unless I will provide the copy of my new visa from new company OR you better to exit the country and back to new employer – so then not necessary to give the copy of new visa to them.
    My question or is it solution?
    1. If they will give me the flight details to exit at my country, is it possible if I will not fly on the said flight and i just remain here in abu dhabi ( since I have already visa to new company ). Just to avoid for them to know that Im transferring at competent company.
    2. If im going to give the copy of my new Visa and for sure they will know that im under of my new competent company, what will be the consequence since i declare to them that i will transfer to different business company and not to my competent ( even if they have suspisious already ).
    Please I need a quick response.


  14. hi

    i would like to know that recently i got a job in U.A.E but in my passport my profession is business. my question is do i have to change my passport profession to enter U.A.E? please let me know..


  15. Hi
    If a daughter is on fathers sponsorship (Residence visa) can she take up a job in Dubai, if yes dose the company employing her need to provide her with a labor card only or they have to provide her employment visa too.
    Would request you to reply ASAP

  16. Hello sir , I Want to bring my family next month by residence visa i have children -3 from how many years to start medical exam for children ( my chid age ,15 ,11 & 4 ) pls explain


  17. Hi am a married woman living in UAE. Am planning to give birth here in UAE an i wish to sponsor my baby since am working. what are the requirements for me to sponsor my baby. Thanx.

  18. hi i was under sponsorship of my husband , then i came to india, i didnt go for last 2 years, now my visa is expired, but not canceled, i want to go again,
    my question is , my husband has to cancel my visa which is already expired or i can go making another visa.

  19. Hi Im currently living in Ireland originally from mauritius.i work as a manager in a store for 4 years without any deegree or master.will it be easy for me to get a job so that they can sponsor me!please help me out

  20. i have a work visa from a textile company. i am working from 1 month. i met my friend who is working i a shopping mall. he was saying that i can take you in this shopping mall as a salesman…
    can i leave my first job and can i apply for another employee visa….please help me…

  21. salut tous le monde,
    je travail pour le moment a oman, sans contrat c’a fait presque 4 mois, j’ai trouvé un offre sur dubai, et j’ai eu le visa mais le patron de la societe dont j’exerce mon travail il voulait pas annuler mon visa d’oman a condition je dois signer sur un contrat que j’irais pas travailler a dubai pendant un ans, es ce que c’est logique???? aidez moi SVP

  22. sahil khan says:

    u r all doing good work ha

  23. with residence visa can I work enywhere or I have to transfer my visa to employer. what is transferring make it sure please

  24. Am 22years old and am a Nigerian. Can my age be employed? I have been mailing but i have not been replied. I want to ask how long does it takes for company to employ me because i registered with an agent in dubai. I am serious i would like to live and work in dubai. Please reply.

  25. Hello
    I have a question.

    My father will not renew my visa as he’s my sponsor. That way what can we do? I mean he wants to cancel all of us and drag us back to Bangladesh forever and we do not want to go. What can we do to apply visa here in Dubai again? What if my father does not agree to give a No Objection Letter?
    Please help me out Im in a great trouble with my sisters and my mother. We really want to stay here in Dubai but my father will cancel all of us. Who can we go to help for? How much fees will be required to apply for visa elsewhere?

    Thankyou so much for your time!

  26. i want to start a company in uae .now i am in freezone visa .company gaved me NOC but the rakia is not giving me NOC. what should i do?

  27. im an indian,i want to do job in dubai,completed my 12th std,i need any job and visa,

  28. Can a person do 2nd marriage without divorce her first wife, is there any legal requirement in uae for this.

  29. hi i went to dubai with my 2yrs old son on tourist visa and i found a job.compeny offerd me basic 4000 dhs salary and agreed to gv the visa for my baby under my sponsership.i gave them my babys birth certificate,no objection letter from father,my educational certificate.i got my visa and exit to when my company started to work on my sons visa they could not done that becos of my position is hair stylist.anyway madam disided to cheng it as secatry but they have told we have to wait for nother 6month as i do not have to do anything i came bakc to srilanka with the madam will send a visit visa for quection is do i have to wait 1 more month to get visa for baby…can i chenge my position in the p.port before 6 monthes…if i have to wait for 6months, after this can i apply 1more visit visa for my baby…i dont have anyone to lookafter my baby here please tell me what i have to do with this.thank you. fathima from srilanka

    • is that a ban? did u cancel that visa? if it is a ban .you can only get freezone visa or house maid visa before 6 month. or u have to wait aftr 6 month

  30. Hi , I have a prob that my friend sponsored me a visit visa and after two days he called me that
    My visa is rejected , he apply Again and this time again rejected may I know why and how I never been in UAE ever before
    What should I do now please help

  31. hello.

    can you tell me i am on husband visa but for now my visa on hold(coz my husband moved to new job)so,for now can i travel to my home country and can i return back to Dubai without any problem?and for how long my visa could be on hold?


  32. hi there,

    im planning to relocate to Dubai, i would like to look for a job there, i am a single mother, i have a 2 year old little girl and i have never ben married, will i battle to find someoone to sponosor me and my child to go over? could some one please assist me.

  33. عبدالله says:

    السلام عليكم
    عندي مشكله ارجو المساعده
    انا من الاردن حصلت على فيزا عمل محاسب بالعين من قريب لي و عندذهابي الى هناك تفاجئت بأن العمل الذي ذهبت اليه ليس كما قيل لي و أنه ليس حسب الاتفاق فقررت المغادره و كان لي بالعين فقط 7 ايام و عندما غادرت وتم كنسلت الاقامه مني تفاجئت بأن قريبي يطالبني بمبلغ 1200 دينار اردني ما يعادل 6000 درهم علما بأنه لم يتم طبع الفيزا على جوازي ولم أحصل على تصريح عمل من مكتب العمل أريد التأكد من صحة كلام قريبي اذا امكن وأكون شاكر لكم

    • hi there, i cannot read your reply, is it al all possible for you to translte for me?

      thank you kindly.

  34. can i change the job before 2 years if I have NOC??

  35. I am a resident of Saudi Arabia i would like to go back home without cancelling my visa. I am plaaning to go to dubai and get a job there. Is it possiuble to get the uae visa despite my passport is having suadi residence visa? How can i get the uae residence visa stamped without cancelling the SA visa? Please advise.


  36. Hi, I have partner visa in dubai .can i sponcer my children and husband.

  37. Hi, as a Ghanaian, arriving from a neighbouring country( Iran ) how many days can i spend in Dubai without a visa ?

  38. good day..
    im planning to apply a tourist visa in dubai.can i apply work there directly?
    can i have a job there? im only 20 yrs. old.

    hoping for your reply..

  39. I am urban designer/architect working for a multinational. Can I sponsor my husband and children?

  40. I am currenly working in dubai abt 6 months and now i got a job in freezone ..also i got NOc from my old company .i just want to know wther i will get ban or whther i can change my job

  41. Akbar ali.a says:

    Hey guys can you please tell how much will take for food per month(accomodation provided by company) and internet details for the lap top in ras al khaimmah. Waiting for your valuable reply

  42. dear sir…

    recently i was in dubai and work for 4 months, i came back to my home country and my visa was canceled…i came to my home country just 4 months back..and now i need to apply for a job again its in emirates group, so can i get a job again or how long i should wait..i was there from 2011 june to 2001 november…also this new job is from emirates group so can i apply it…please let me know….thank you

  43. i want to get info. i been work for almost 1year as a cleaner, my sponsor told me to take a 2months vacation, after that i call him and comeback he send me ticket, when i was in airport the immigration hold my passport and they bring me in police,i wonder but the police ask me more about my sponsor, he said you runaway with your sponsor,after 3weeks the police told me u comeback to your country you can never comeback dubai,my question is how come that i will never to comeback???

  44. What are the chances of the salary being different with what was actually mentioned in the job offer? Does multinational companies do that?

  45. i am working for the last 2 years in dubai as assistant a/c. now i lost my job in the current company and got another one . but i have to go for my sister marriage.. i have etisalat internet amount due there around 1500. now it is showing 3000 AED.i can settle all the amount when i cm back.insha allah. is there will be any problem in airport?.

  46. sir, i have a work visa, it’s already expired by last jan. 2012. it’s a renewal labour visa. renewed by dec 2010. as i completed 1 year, do i have ban? and do i have to exit for new visa change?

  47. Dear sir, Presently i am working in a private company as a Mechanical Engineer in abudhabi and holding dubai sales visa ,since jan 2011 .Now i fond a new job in abudhabi and they are offering me AED 8000. I have completed B.Tech in mechanical engineering from india and my present salary is very low as compare to offered now,so sir can i change y old job as per new rules??? pls suggest

  48. Sir/Madam,

    Me and my husband is working in Dubai, My husband’s salary is basic 2100 Dhs plus accommodation, transportation and meals. My salary is basic 1100 plus accommodation, transportation and meals. Could you please tell me whether we will get a visa for sponsoring our new born baby. Can we sponsor together. If it possible can you please advise us the formalities.

  49. Asalam O Alaikum There …
    I Jst want tO knOw that , At Visit visa I can find a jOb and can get employment visa or not? Is it pOssible to do the job there without leaving dubai?
    2) If I get married in my cOuntry , going to dubai at my father’s visa. and can show my nikkah nama there 2 get employment visa???

  50. Abdalla Mirghani says:

    My daughter hold a british passport, and it will expire in three months time, can she travel to dubai and get her passport renewed from the british consular there in dubai, please update me.