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. sir now i visiter visa in dubai, my uncle living since 25 years in dubai,me and my uncle register company in jabelali freezone,i got liceance after i applyd for business visa,but my visa rejected, and after rejection i took my refund back.and now i am planing in dubai freezone i will register company and in dubai i apply for businessvisa. sir can i get businessvisa?

  2. HI
    Presently i employed at a company in dubai,if it is possible to start a new gents beauty saloon without cancelling my visa.

  3. hi
    Now i am employed at a company in dubai,if it is possible to start a new gents saloon without cancelling my visa.

  4. PERLITA R. YAMBAO says:

    I am sponsoring a nanny. I came from Abu Dhabi and has shifted here in Sharjah because of work. The yearly bond/deposit for the nanny in Abu Dhabi costs 5000AED (or 400AED per month), our PRO said that here in Sharjah, it’s different because I will have to pay 800AED per month or 9,600AED for the yearly bond. Why it’s different when I am only in one country? Please advise. Thanks

  5. Mohd Aijajuddin says:

    hi,i have employment visa still valid and my company is closed my visa is not cancelled my boss he gave me NOC to check another job.Now i have only 15 days left to visa boss is in saudi i tried to call him but he is not giving response so plz advise me what to do.

  6. Mohd Aijajuddin says:

    i need to cancel my visa within 15 boss he is not in touch.i have contact number but he is not answering.what should i do.advise me

  7. Dear Frnz,

    I have been working here in dubai since last one year, but suddenly i had an issue with the HOD and now they want me to transfer somwhere in UAE which i dont want to go or else they are asking me to resign. Please advice me wat can be done in this case, i am not going for work since last one week coz it was told by them only not to come for work. Can they take any action against me if i doesn’t accept transfer or if i dont resign? Can i be absconded? Can legally they can take any action against me so that i wnt be able to wrk here in UAE anymore. Please help me out to sort this issue coz i am facing immense difficulty for now.


  8. Hi,

    This is a neat forum here… great work. This is an extension on Nash’s reply to Giancarla.

    I was living in Dubai with my parents and working on a student visa till the age of 27 and later moved back home. Now for immigration purposes I need to give prior visa and work permits (and I dont have one). Although Dubai allows unmarried girls to work on residence visa sponsored by a parent I have not been able to find anything official. Does any one have any idea on this and guide me in the right direction.
    I have to produce evidence from a reliable source (such as a govt website)


  9. Hi,

    This is a neat forum here… great work. This is an extension on Nash’s reply to Giancarla.

    I was living in Dubai with my parents and working on a student visa till the age of 27 and later moved back home. Now for immigration purposes I need to give prior visa and work permits (and I dont have one). Although Dubai allows unmarried girls to work on residence visa sponsored by a parent I have not been able to find anything official. Does any one have any idea on this and guide me in the right direction.
    I have to produce evidence from a reliable source (such as a govt website)

    Thank you in advance!!


  10. Hi,

    Good AFternoon Sir/Ma’am,

    Just want to look for information regarding my concern, I want to sponsor my son, I am under Dubai Visa and to be able to do this, my PRO advise me that he needs to revise my labor contract to be elligible for sponsorship, This concern has no objection within my company but the issue is my Company Trade License in Dubai has expired and my PRO told me that he cannot continue with my request unless the Trade License of my company renewed.

    Is there any other possible solution for this?

    Looking forward to legal response?

    Thanks and regards,


  11. Ahmed Meeran says:

    Hi im earning a salary of dhs. 9000 + commissions. will i be able to sponsor my parents in dubai. i had attested my labor contract, affidavit and tenancy contract.kindly advise.

  12. Om Prakash Gupta says:


    Please let me know i was holeding RP and I went to leave on 01st May 2009,Due to personel resion i have not return to UAE But my RP is vallied till 22 July 2011,

    I want to come back again in UAE ,i Can get VISA .

  13. hi,
    i am an indian and am on my father’s visa and i got married on February 2011. i came to uae in march in my father’s visa and now staying with my husband. i got pregnant and wish to deliver from uae. we have our marriage certificate attested. can i have my baby here in my father’s sponsorship? my father is in al ain and my insurance coverage is only abudhabi ( incl aain) and my husband is in dubai. if at all i can deliver what are the after birth procedure to be done? hope you will help me, as i am now three months pregnant.

  14. you didnot mention security jobs in dubai

  15. Mohammed says:


    I joined a free zone company which is based in Abu Dhabi. They have terminated my employment within a month as they cannot afford to pay me.

    I am still on the free zone visa for the next 2 months.

    If I have an offer from another Co. in Abu Dhabi which is LLC. Is it possible for me to get an employment visa from the Ministry of labour?

    Can my free zone visa be easily transferred to a non-free zone LLC visa? Can the non-freezone co. apply for labour approval?

    Could you please advise how do I go about in this case?




  16. Hi,
    I am from India, I am currently in Africa, I had given my current passport to my new employer for UAE residence/Employment visa application. while i saw that passport contains only one pages left. if I request for additional booklet, it’ll change my Passport number. Is it ok to continue to process visa with current passport or wait for the new passport arrive.

  17. imraan noor says:

    Dear sir,
    Is it possible ,to get a working visa,if the client has selected the candidate. for below 21 years age,but above 20,please please reply and guide me sir,sorry to trouble you,but please reply for this one.

    Imraan noor

  18. imraan noor says:

    Dear sir,
    Is it possible ,to get a working visa for saudi arabia
    ,if the client has selected the candidate. for below 21 years age,but above 20,please please reply and guide me sir,sorry to trouble you,but please reply for this one.

    Imraan noor

  19. What happens if you cannot find the father of your child to get a letter of no objection?

  20. i am working in a contracting company for the last 8 i get an offer from a semi govt company in abudhabi.can i cancel the visa and join the govt compay without ban

  21. hebin tom says:

    I would like to get a standard format for “NOC from current sponsor to be a partner of a new business”. Any body can help me?

  22. Mohd Azim says:

    I working with my sponsor last 7 years can I keep my passport with me.

  23. Ali Suhaib says:

    I have to do my own trading business in Dubai, I need visa/Licence only, with minimum investment around 10,000 AED. without any disturabce of sponsor.

  24. Ali Suhaib says:

    I have real estate company in India, I need to a open a office for marketing in dubai, so I can sell property of India and Dubai. How much minimum amount I required. I need Licence/Visa or sharing office with licence.

  25. Hi, i have question regarding sponsoring my husband under wife visa. I am a nursr currently working in dubai for more than a year. Im planning to take my husband here with me and according to the statement indicated in this article, I’ll quote:

    “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.”

    So my question is, as a nurse i am considered a medical personnel, right? If so, i there a specific salary range for me to sponsor him? How much would that be? Thank you very much. Hoping for your quick reply.

  26. Sir,

    how can i get Family visa in Dubai…i wish to bring my wife to Dubai…

    Pls give me information about this…?

  27. Mohammed Umer says:

    HI All,

    I have a question? I am currently on notice period from my current employer in Dubai Media Free Zone. I got a new job in a company under Dubai Labour. Can someone guide me what is the procedure to apply for new residence visa or change the sponsorship from a company under free zone to a company under Dubai Labour.

    Thanks in advance to all for help on same

    Mohammed Umer

  28. Dear Sir;
    My wife gets an interesting expact job in dubai, i learned that she can sponsor visa for me and for our children (under certain conditions) I’d ask you if i can apply for a job there under my wife sponsored visa or under a company’s sponsoring process.

    I’d appreciate you answers

  29. sarajuddin says:

    Dear sir
    i am sarajuddin from merta city nagaur, rajasthan, india my co. no. 09875293222
    sir me dubai me jobs karna chahata hu plz call me


  30. manjunatha says:

    I worked in dubai in 2007-2008 i came back without resigning and i didnt cacel my residence visa again i am travelling now to dubai on employement visa will i face any problem in the airport for not cancelling the visa.

    Please mail me at

  31. Hi,

    I’m 15 years old boy. and I want to go to Dubai and meet my sister and her family there. I have a US resident visa. my question is can I go to Dubai by my self? and how can I get a tourist visa on Dubai so I can there?

    thank you for your answer/s I appreciate it

  32. Hi, good day, i lost my job last month here in dubai. (dubai visa)
    My wife work also here at media city freezone. I would like to ask if my wife can sponsor me? Appreciate your prompt reply. Thanks !

  33. Mujahid Khan says:

    Hi, I just sponsered my wife on a visit visa using a pay slip long term visa for 1270 Aed and refundable deposit of 1000 AED, but soon after I recieved her Visit Visa in my hand I resigned my job as I had a better offer in my hand. So now i need to exit in another 3-4 days time and i will be back on a new company visa. But what do I do with her visa, can i still bring her on visit or as for refund or transfer her visa???

  34. Hi

    I just want to know if im going to resides the country for 6month does my residence visa will automatically cancelled? I left UAE since may 5th and i’m planning to go back by november. Do i have still the chance to used my visa on that month?


  35. Hello! just want to ask something. I’m planning to go to Abu dhabi this coming december through visit visa. What if my passport will going to expire 8 months more starting on December so it will expire next year August 2012. If I get the chance to find employer, are they going to process working visa for me eventhough my passport will going to expire within 8 months?

  36. Lydia Pinto says:

    I am under my husbands sponsorship visa in Dubai, Working for a company since 6-7 months but i have a labour permit. Now i want to change my job. Will it be possible or is there any procedure for the same. I was appointed by the company in the month of Oct 2010, but got my labour card in the month of April 2011. So will it be possible to quit the job and join other company. Kindly confirm me on my mail

  37. Hi!

    I just want to sponsor my husband thru (wife visa), I currently employed as a Quantity Surveyor equivalent to Engineer but when I call the Immigration Hotline they do not know the job description of “Quantity Surveyor” as per them this is not a Engineer. I work in a Construction Company and may basic salary is 3500aed and the total salary is 7000aed. I’m holding a Dubai Visa..

    1. Is it possible to sponsor my husband?
    2. Do I need a Tenancy Certificate here in Dubai or make a own flat that is within my name?
    3. Do I need to deposit a 5000aed?
    4. And what is the requirements?

    Thank you very much!

  38. Hi,
    I like to apply resident visa for my wife and son what is formalities and what kind of doucment I should submit,I have a resident visa in a free zone company.
    Thanks and regards,

  39. christine says:

    hi, can I ask if I can apply for a tourist visa in Dubai?and what documents do i need to have or obtain?pls. give me tips..

  40. Mohammad Romzan Ali says:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I was Dubai more that 5 years. Due to economic crisis when I was vacation company informed that No need to come because there is no project. They requested me to send passport but our country was very strict in Airport by courier.I informed our Company that now quiet possible to send passport. Later on our Administration Manager told me no problem I will make canceled your visa through your passport copy. After six month I got job in Libya and I was joined there. Due to way problem I return my country by out pass because I left my passport to our company in Libya. Presently I issued new passport digital and apply for new visa in UAE but Now present company informing that you have Immigration band . I did not do any crime. It can be problem for not canceling visa previous one Dubai visa but previous company already informed that they canceled via photocopy . Now my question how I became black listed in UAE . Thanking you . Best Regards

  41. Hi, I am working now with the company and I already have an employment visa. I also finished the medical. The only thing that is missing is that my passport is not yet stamped, my employer told me that I will wait until they will ask it from me.

    In this case, how many months is the validity of my employment visa and the medical result? Also, is there’s any possibility that they will kick me out from the company (lols) or terminate?

    As an employee do I still have a chance to look for another job since my passport is not yet stamped?

    Please advice.



  42. what kind of visa is a transferable visa?

  43. Hi Sherry,
    I have this question for you, currently i am bearing tourist visa nd my visa is expiring soon.I am planning to buy a housemaid visa in order for me to stay legally in the country.
    Now my question is, would this visa gives me chance to find an office job?Or is it possible for me to work in a company if ever there is a company willing to transfer me to their visa?This confused me, as i dont want to stay illegally and if i will spend some money for nothing so what’s the point of buying a visa which will not allow me to find a suitable job if ever.

    I would really appreciate your reply so much as soon as possible.

    More power to you and God bless..

    Best Regards,


  44. dear sir,
    i would like to get some information for my self. my profession is a store keeper , and i am working in a group of company in dubai. so just i want to know can i Sponcer my family in dubai. and what requirement should be complete for my case.

  45. Hi,i am here with my two kids on visit visa of 1 month sponsored by my sister in law and my husband is also on visit visa of 3 months sponsored by his sister,both of us looking for a job but invain and the visa is soon getting expired. i want to know whether our visas can be extended.pls reply. and another question is that if i get a job do my kids automatically come on my visa as they are below 4yrs and my husband can b on my visa.

  46. Mohd Manzoor says:

    i would like to know that all of our company staff visa wants to transfer to same sponsor’s other company, for that what should i do?

  47. I have registered a company in RAK free zone. and i got an offer for a job as well.
    can i carry on both or whats the way out?

    urgent response required!
    Thanks Irfan

  48. Dear Sir

    I have one doubt regarding my wife’s residents visa which is sponsored by me

    Question: Can I extend her visa as it is going to complete 6 month outside UAE and she can’t travel due to pregnancy?

    please reply

  49. Hi, I hope you can help me with this. I just want to ask about my friend’s situation. She has worked for a year as a Teaching Assistant. Her contract started on September 1 2010 and will end in August 31 2011. They were asked if they wanted to renew their contracts on May 2011 and she signed it. The new contract will start on September 1 2011 until August 31 2012. In the UAE, a school year ends on june so they have two months holiday. However, while on holidays, a job offer from a semi-government company came so she resigned as a Teaching Assistant on the 2nd week of July. The school still owns her one month salary (You are entitled for 2 months leave pay if you finished the school year). Does she have to pay any penalty from the school say she breached the new contract for next school year? Can she still claim her salary for August? By the way, she is under Father’s Visa. Thanks and Regards.

  50. old computers and photocopying machnes says:

    i have got the photocopying centre and the small centre for computer classis and assisting the student when they finish thier matric to to apply for further education: contact 083 716 8882