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,

    I would like to know if a foreigner comes to UAE on a Visit Visa to look for a job, finds a job during that period. Can he obtain the Employment visa and work permit during his stay in UAE or he has to go back to his country, wait for the Employer to apply for His E visa then he can go back to UAE.

    Many thanks

  2. Hi, I would like to know if I apply for a tourist visa 1-14 days and I am 18 years old, will they accept my request? I spoke to gulfsuntours and they said that you should be 23 years old by the law but sometimes they do accept younger applicants. I wanted to know what are my chances? Thank you

  3. my visa application has been approved today, now awaiting release of Employment Visa, how long it will take to get my visa in hand

  4. shaik shafiuulla says:

    hi am indian passport holder working in sharjah since last 14years am came on vacation to india ilost my passport with uae valudity recdancy visa finnly igot new passport i submit police report with attstation in uae consulate & new passport copy my qustion is how help uae consulate genral india dispatch my recedency visa plz advce me

  5. Hi Sir,

    I had resigned from by job & the employer asked me to stay 1 month notice, & I completed my 1 month notice & now they are asking for 8 working days for end of service calculation & they are telling it will take near to one month for cancelation process – they had not even given me the salary for the notice period. Plz… tell me what should I do.

  6. Hi, i am on a employment visa (servent) in dubai right now , visa issued only one months before and i wanted to cancel my visa and join for other employment visa . So is there ban for me to cancel the current servent visa ? Please help me out as soon as possible.

  7. umer farooq says:

    i want to work visa in dubai how can i apply or any best consultant in islamabad
    i education is matric and i interested in work in hotel in dubai.

  8. Hi,

    I wanted to ask that can a divorced girl who is earning AED 15,000 and living in Abu Dhabi, sponsor her child and mother.

  9. i want to know that people who are on hold viza can travel?

  10. hi.
    my husband is working here in abu dhabi for 2 years now and i have just started working as a nurse also here in abu dhabi. I am earning about 9000AED and my husband about 4000AED. We are planning to sponsor our son(3 years old) and my aunt who would take care of our son while we are working.Is it possible for us to sponsor my aunt? What are requirement needed? Thank you so much and God Bless you.

  11. suresh babu says:

    now i am in india and i have a valid job visa, i would like to cancell my visa and get a new visa. How can i cancell my visa that alredy in my passport. pls help me.

  12. dear sir,

    i am a engineer my six month work over in dubai.i came india now without resignation….any problem my future.if i get ban no problem for me because i am not intrested to work in dubai…please reply me immediatly

  13. abeeda shaheen says:

    need to remove my brother banned on passport as in the immigration it is showing blacklisted

  14. hi im max i’ve been working in our company for almost 7months, i had a story to share. our company is about taking some photographs we have different location like cold places, hot places, underwater, desert etc. my company know that i can’t work in cold places iven in water but there trying to put me now in a cold places, they tell me that if i dont accept that location much better to take my resignation letter, in short their forcing me to resign, and they tell me scary things. now i’m not answering there calls or even go to our main office, bcoz i’m afraid. i’m hiding now almost 4days. i’ll just come back to our company if they will terminate me. what will i do please reply on this urgent because they telling me that they will sue me if i wil not to the office. what will i do

  15. zulfiqar ali says:

    sir i have stayed more than six months in pakistan,how can i go back to uae if i am over stayed
    will be thankful

  16. my contract is 2 year already 10 month complete. I will get NOC from current company,i have bachelor degree. My current visa profession : office incharge,though i work IT job in office. wht are the obstacles when i will change my visa to FZ/nonfz COMPANIES ?..:. My current salary shows in contract 600 aed , i get 5000aed from company.

  17. hi! good day!!
    i just want to ask something…i am planning to go to uae for visit visa,,but i was employed before in abu dhabi for 2 years,,when i file for resignation my company didn’t accept then i go to my country and my manager promise me that he will do my cancellation even i am outside the country…but unfortunately my manager didn’t finish the cancellation for company i am here in my country for 2 years but i want to go back to abu dhabi to work..what will be the problem sir,,coz what i know my company is not operating anymore,,so how can they make my my question is,,is it possible for me to go back uae for visit visa,,,so that i can process and follow up my previous company ? and if so,,could i have a problem in labour if i find a new employer? can you help me sir,,,what i am suppose to do…
    thank u….

  18. sir.
    do any one want to invest in uae ?

  19. Babar Qamar says:

    Dear Sir
    Hope you will be in Good Health,Sir i would like to introduce you i am Babar Qamar from Sialkot Pakistan,I want to get 2 years independent visa,Please can you tell me how much i will pay for get independent visa for 2 years,Your help will be highly appreciated for me,Waiting your reply throgh mail,
    Thanking You

    Yours Faithfully
    Babar Qamar


  20. Hi dear sir,
    i’m sheraz liaqat from pakistan i came 2march 2011 on employment visa,my sponger cancelled my visa from Laborer after one month 2th April 2011 he did cancelled my visa from Laboure but i don,t every time tilling differ story 2 time i have done my Medical also when he give my passport that time i did check in labour my have already cancelled after 11month my sponcer give my passport to my friend in Dubai and he went to India and never come back because he admit in Hospital India.he is big lawer and cheater i’m only the one he give me passport ,now i went to immgration dubai head office he said you will pay 6500aed and 120 air fine than go to pakistan,if you are not going to pay you go jail this is dubai law fuck dubai law immgrations officer have no manner fucking guys how can i pay 6500aed i’ve no job he is also not paid salary .i ask immgrations office please give me the dicount he is not agree and said law comes from Abu Dhabi ..some boday told you go court he give discount where i need to go where is court .can you reply me back.


  21. raji nissin says:

    can any one help to find out a solution for my problem? my father is working as a manger in sharjah for more than 25 years.i am married and have 2 children,my husband is working in abudhabi and he is not in a position to have a family status visa to sponsor me and my children can my father sponsor me along with my children ?? hope i would get a solution from you

  22. I recently got a job in abu dhabi with a visit visa and had to leave UAE to enable the processing of my resident visa, now m getting worried cos its been over 2 months, even though my sponsors assured me that its is still under process. I need urgent reply

  23. Hi All,

    I am getting married soon and may need to sponsor my husband.
    I work as a wealth manager with a basic salary of 8,000 dhs + commission.

    Is it possible for me to sponsor my husband at all?

    He will be working here eventually and has done so in the past. Therefore, the visa will only be for a limited period of time, but we just want to review our options.

    Hope someone can answer this.


  24. SYED IBRAHIM says:


  25. hi sherry,

    i just want to ask you when i cancelled my labour card the ministry of labour gave me a 1 year ban with a stamp of a BAN. you think is it possible that i can work in freezone company even i have a stamp BAN like this?

  26. i have a LLC company in dubai UAE.we are three local one indian & me indian partner out side of uae more than tow years.& he didn’t any cotact with how cancle him in ecunomic department

  27. Is there any alternate method to sponsor wife and kid other than Salary constrains which is not possible for me..because i heard that depositing some amount also it is possible to sponsor..anyone who knows about this? or any solution for my serious problem..

  28. Jon Kingham says:

    Hi, I am hoping to move to Dubai or UAE to work at a primary school. I will want to sponsor my wife and 2 year old child. can anyone give me an idea of how long it takes for all the paperwork to be processed? I have heard it can take up to 6 months or can she get a visit visa and change it to my sponsored residency visa there?

  29. If a person gets black-listed in UAE….. does his whole family also gets blacklisted ??? Can’t they work in Dubai ??

  30. Jen Tappa says:

    hi my husband worked in dubai, he is an engineer..he is has plan to get me there using huband visa..Can i ask for any requirements regarding husband visa? im here in philippines..tnx en hope to get a nice feedback from u..

  31. Sameera says:

    can Anyone give me a sample of a no objection letter from my father to work i need it plzz :(

  32. ramogan says:


    i have a limited contract for 3 years and i work already in my previous employer for 2 years and 2 months. I got a new job so then i resigned and my previous employer cancelled my visa with them but still give me an NOC. Now, my new employer tell me that they are not yet process my visa and tell me that i have to exit and file me as a tourist visa. my question is : 1. is there a problem if i come back here as a tourist visa and my new employer file me a employment visa? 2. is the labour will banned me coz my sponsorship the time i cancelled has not been changed?

    pls enlighten me for this


  33. Hello just wanna ask about those maid who work here in riyadh under a saudi
    Sponsorship and they are working outside of thier sponsor’s house if they can go
    On a vacation to dubai without thier employer with them sort of they will go alone on vacation
    If so then what is the requirements to be able to get there.

    Waiting for your reply

  34. Hi,
    one ordinary visit visa to Dubai has been taken for me by a company in sponsorship tourist activity.

    Based up on the rules, the ordinary visa gives two months deadline from issuing date to expiring date to any passenger to be allowing for coming into Dubai.

    But , the person in that sponsor company has claimed that just one month you have to leave your country to Dubai. Can he claim this pose? In urgent visit visa, one should enter within 14 days after issuing his visa, but in ordinary option any passenger is allowed to enter in Dubai within two months. Am I right or not?

    If that sponsor company is ordering on its own desire what should do against it ?

    Thanks for your prompt reply,


  35. hi i’m planning to sponsor my wife or give her a husband visa but she was current employ now it will be possible or what is in law because i read that employment visa is different in sponsorship visa
    thanks in advance

  36. my question is that my brother came here on company`s visa but when he went for medical he is not fit the company cancells his visa bt no any any kind of ban company said wen u`l send us medical fitness certificate u can cum again my questin is that can he come on visit visa with in a month plz reply as soon as possible

  37. Hello,My name is Jasmin,and I am 20-old boy from Bosnia and Herzegovina,and I am looking for a job in Dubai,So I would like to know is there any possibility to get a job as 20-old,because situation here in my country is catastrophic.

  38. I am earning AED 3,500/- and my wife and 1 year 6 months son are in Dubai now on a visit visa i would like to know any by which case i can get them on my visa (husband visa) and whats the process because i just have few days in hand my salary description is (basic 1,500,) without accommodation

  39. manikandan says:

    Dear all,
    I had completed in diploma in electrical engg, now i am working in abudhabi,my company mentioned profession eletricen,now my question how can i change my proffesion ? and what are the details (document) required?

  40. Please let me know the maximum age limit to obtain visa for work in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Is it 60 or 65 years of age.
    thank you

  41. Mustafa Al Kahiri says:

    I was working with an employer in Abu Dhabi for pas almost 2 years. I came on emergency leave for 7 days. I have informed my Manager and took approval from him. I came on vacation and I came to know that my job has been terminated because I did not inform Higher Management about my leave. However I had informed our Manager but he did not further informed to Authorities.I have no fault in this as I had took official approval. However know my employer also register a police case that I am missing. Under such situation can I reenter UAE or can a get Police Clearance Certificate form UAE. Did missing person consider as a criminal act in UAE. Please clarify

  42. Respected sir/mam,
    My name is Sam, i would like to know if a 13yr old can go to Dubai from Cochin without his father sponsoring the visa neither staying there with a valid visa sponsored by his uncle.


  43. cindy-rella says:

    I am on a residence visa under my husband’s sponsorship. He’s an American. He told me that he put a ban on me leaving the country with our six year old daughter. So now I can’t leave without his permission.

    Can he do this?????? Please help!!!!

  44. laila.navaid says:

    Hi,I recently got married in dubai, my husband has a pakistani passport but works in dubai with very good job, I’m british and live in england, how can I get my husband to come and see me in london and what do I need to do next.

    Thank you

  45. santhosh says:

    hai , i wanted to know about visa ban, if contract is 3 year and after completion of two year is it possibility to put ban on employee in limited contract ? or we can work any other GCC country ?? kindly reply .

  46. Hi Sherry ,

    My husband was jobless since Dec. 2010 and I had sponsored him because his visa was cancelled..When I sponsored I had kept a re-fundable deposit of Dhs. 5000/- Is it necessary that I can only get the deposit amount or if my husband goes to the immigration with the receipt of the deposit, he can also collect it.. Pls advise… urgent

  47. Pls, have been granted sharjar visa for 2month… Something happen and i could not come to dubai within the first 30days. So i want to ask is the visa expired? If yes can i renew it…. Pls i need answer, i ll be looking forward to read from you.

  48. Sir,

    I’m currently working for a private company in dubai and it’s been 4 months now & I’m on an unlimited contract. Can I shift to new employer who’s based in Ras Ul Khaimah FreeZone without imposing a ban?

  49. Imran Ali says:

    I want to come to Dubai on one month tourist visa for job search. My question is that is it allowed to search for job on tourist visa. If not than what is alternative option. Secondly can I extend my tourist visa for another one month?

    Thanks in advance


  50. I am a resident of dubai. I would like to sponsor my child to be with me in dubai. Unfortunately, i am a single mother, is’t possible for me to give my child a visa?
    What will be the requierements?