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. kothuvu mydeen says:

    Whithin how many days i can get cancellation if i want get cancellation from my company whare i have been working since last four years.

    Please advise me

  2. Henri Nomo says:

    Hello Sir/Mme
    I will like you to listen my problem and try to tall me what i can do in that situation
    I had a Company Dubai “Perfect land trading .LL C”
    and on 2009 i was arrested and accused of a crime attempt to cheat .and i was sentence 6months
    with deportation. and my visa was canceled by the immigration ,took my finger print and scan my Iris .now is more than two years.I still have my company .
    Now i want to know if Can come back Dubai renew my License and continue my business.
    if that possible how can i do that ?
    And i want to know about my Residence visa can i get visa under the same company name ?
    i need to pay an another 15000DHS to the immigration
    Thank you for your kind understanding
    my email
    waiting your reply

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello everyone !!!
    I have been stuck in a very bad situation and this website gives me a hope that i can get the answers to my questions so i can come out of this situation.
    I have been working for one general trading as an assistant merchandiser from january 2011 to date.
    I was told in the beginning that my total pay including all allowances will be 3,900 AED.
    But later on the company reduced my transportation allowance saying that i do not have a driving license and a car so we cannot give you the promised allowance.
    They reduced my transportation allowance from 1350 AED to 600 AED.
    I have a written paper from company stating that my transportation allowance will be 1350 AED.
    Apart from that 200 AED are also charged on me under the name of visa fee.
    So promised to get 3,900 AED but getting only 3,000 AED every month.
    Apart from that I was promised orally that I will get salary increment after completion of probation period i.e. 6 months which was completed in July 2011.
    But after the completion of probation I was told that it is not possible to get the increment.

    My question is if i leave the company and join some other company, will i be banned ? my visa expires in December 2012.

    Secondly if i claim the transportation allowance later on in the ministry of labor as a collective sum which was reduced, can i get that ?

    kindly answer me as soon as possible because company is taking excessive work from me and not giving me what i was promised.

  4. Hi
    I am working in Dubai with LLC visa. But I have not completed my six month and the company give me terminate and i want a new job as soon as possible , if i go to cancelled than is there BAN on my Passport.

  5. Hi,

    I wana ask can my husband sponser me after getting employment vissa..?n what is the salary requirement and other for sponsering?
    Can i apply for job there later on?
    kindly tel me….

  6. Sir/madam,
    I resigned form my old company because i got a new job from another comapny. My contract was unlimited and i have completed more than 2 years and 10 months with my old compnay. My new company is a freezone company. Now they already cancel me and gave my passport and ticket at the airport. But i didnt went instead i joined with my new company. Now my old company is treatening me that they will ban me from this UAE for ever and they will file case like that. Is it possible..

    Here ‘I’ is one of my dearest friend.

  7. dear sir
    im working in dubai sin 10year . now i try to bring my wife dubai and apply for residency visa
    but they ask me more saraly but i have only ADE 3600 now what cai i do this case?

  8. Hi this is vishal.I was appoint by a marine based company in UAE.They have applied for my residace visa but at my home in india my mom got addmited in hospital because of kidney failure prob thats y i gone to india.before going i told in my company that i cant work here please cancel my visa that time they said that u dont require to cancel the visa.when i came in india they started mailing me that u have to send ur passport to us coz we hav to cancel tha visa.accordingly i have send my passport to them but when i called them to send me my passport they are demanding money and said that when u will send us money then only we will send ur passport.Please tell me what should i do?I cant give them money coz i dont have faith on them now.Someone told me that I cant go to UAE forever.Please tell me if i have apply for nw passport and go on other visa like visit or tourist other that resident can i go there??Please suggest me something.Coz if in future I i want to go in uae its big prob..

  9. hi, i have a work as machine operator in sharjah freezone my basic salary is 1850 AED. while my wife is working as an archive clerk in dubai she is earning 2500 AED. my question is can we sponsor our 6months old baby? can we combine our salary to sponsor our child? what can you advice me regarding this matter. thanks!

  10. can sombody go to dubai for business development without working visa?

  11. Hai good morning I am selva is there any one can tell me the detail of the time limit for holding the family visa, since i holded my family visa paying AED 5000/ on 20th of july and my new visa from the new employer is not stameped yet it is under progreess, so is there any time limit on the holding the visa off my family. please let me know thanking you

  12. ashraf ullah says:

    hi sir , this is ashraf ullah from bangladesh i was working ksa riyads alhokair group as a fashion retials company, now i am loking for job visa any uae fashion retials company becous i have 8 years experienc for this kinds of jobs thanks and answar me..?

  13. i m working in a FMCG company in Sharjah. my salary is abt 7K. m working at supervisory level. can i sponsor my family (wife only). i have heard that there are some new recent rules and as per these new rules some specific professionals can sponsor their families (not all).

  14. Jane Villena says:

    Hello.I want to ask about the labour thing. I worked for a company in dubai for 10months but before the company shuts down, they terminated me which leads me to getting a ban of 6 months.I was then got hired by a free zone company in JLT but then there was a miscommunication about the position which i did not apply to. However, they provided me an employment visa which needs to be cancelled since the job oppurtunity doesn’s match with my experience.

    My question is, what will happen to my 6 months ban?will it be lifted since the free zone company provided me an Employment visa? I am hoping that someone can tell me about my situation. Thanks

  15. muhammad shahid says:

    iam refrigeration/aircondition machanic experince 30year ican other work pelumber electision arc welding etc iwant work in uae please soponser me

  16. syed hamed raza says:

    dear sir my salary is 3500AD i want bring my family its possible for UAE lAW

  17. hi i have one doubt i have new visa of my wife she can not able to come on that job so i want to tell sponsor could you cancel the her visa if they cancel her visa there is any ban and there is any penalties amount i have to for that her visa status is baby sitter visa could you tell what i have to do plz…?

  18. Usama Wahab Khan says:

    I Got Job at Dubai. but Problem is that i didn’t have bachelors degree but done certification from Sir Syed University Karachi and Microsoft also win awards. now i am waiting for visa. my employer applied for that.

    my question is that can i get visa without degree. at Dubai got very good salary at Dubai

  19. Hello there,

    Can I hold a FTZ trading license of a company and at the same time work for another company or firm?
    will i get two visa’s stamped on my passport.

    Regards, Sam

  20. Dear,

    I am in /dubai under a sponsered visa which is valid for the next 2 months.
    Now i have been with this company(who spnsered me) for the last 3 months.
    I found a better job, can i just easily transfer my visa and everything, if my currect company accepts, or i will get banned for the next 6 months???

  21. This site is very informative. Can you please enlighten me with this concern, because i still think about this at times.

    this happened 2 months ago and up to now, I am under husband’s sponsorship.

    I signed an offer letter and contract in a private LLc here in dubai; Take note that only offer letter and contract was signed BUT i did not signed any paper that would render my current sponsorship invalid,i did not surrendered my passport to them because I am just about 3 days in that company. also, no labour card yet. As I understood it, the company would cancel my husband’s sponsorship once i completed the 3 month probationary period.

    After a week in that company, it did not work out so i talked to the Director regarding this and she let me leave the company that day. i did not gave any resignation letter because she ‘sort of’ terminated me that instant.

    I have not heard from her in 2 months and now I will be accepting another job offer. I asked around and they told me that I can accept future jobs, as I am still under husband’s sponsorship and not the lady’s company visa.

  22. Hi Sherry,
    Iam working with an insurance company in UAE as Life insurance agent.I was working in India in Managerial grade in India with Insurance Industry for the last 9 years.One of my friend working here asked me to come and join as an agent under him since he also joined as an agent and promoted to next level.I trusted him and joined here.Contract is unlimited and there is no salary but financing on achievement of target.But the whole story was fabricated and Iam not at all satisfied with my work.Another company in UAE has offered me a good job with Fixed salary.Can I change the job now?Somebody told that if a graduate gets 12,000 aed offer he can change the company without ban.If not possible,whether Freezone job possible?Please clarify and kindly revert immediately

    Joining Date-03 Aug 2011
    Contract-Unlimited Contract
    Salry-No Salary(Financing of 4000 on achievement of target only)

    Please help

  23. hi how i can check that my employment visa is original or duplicate issued by bubai free zone this visa is not in clored and my details are in english only not in arabic also and there is sponsher name techno park

  24. hi, I’m from Pakistan and working in UAE since 4 years, last year I get married, my wife is from India and in these days she staying in India, now I want to bring my wife here in UAE, she has an Indian Passport, is it necessary that she must have my name on her passport?

  25. Dear Sir/Madam,

    i would like to come into dubai or i am 22 year old complete my graduation in commerce or master of economics (continued) but now a days i am thinking what shuld i do in pak or should dubai? can any one tell me dubai is better for job if is it better so how can i get visa or job into dubai i was read all requirements but can any one help me for this matter i would like to thanks full to him/her…

    Basit Hussain Khatri

  26. mother of two says:

    Hi Nash

    I am on my husbands visa, I will be soon joining a company as an engineer, they will also provide me with a labour card. Will I be able to sponsor my mother if I will still be on my husbands visa and my salary meets the required basic salary to sponsor.
    Your answer is eagerly waited as I cant start working till my mom joins because my kids are really small. :)
    Thanks in advance

  27. lilet magsino says:

    hi, i am on husband visa right now, i have signed a contract to be a nurse in a clinic last june, but they said i cant start until i get my haad license here, is it possible for me to get a different kind of work since i havent started my work as nurse while waiting for my license? thank you for the reply in advance

  28. Dear Sir/Madam,
    My Company had given Cancellation letter to me and i accepted it. Any how, on the
    downside of the letter it is written that “No Work Permit will be
    issued till 6 months from Cancellation date”.
    My company Category is 2-B.
    I am Graduate Holder.
    So, Can i come to U.A.E within 1 or 2 months again in employment visa. If not
    Whats the Process. pls help me…
    Thanking You.

  29. Hello :

    my has gone to India for her Delivery for more than 5 month ago, six month will be over by next month, doctor advised not to travel two more month , She has Valid Residence Visa for 2 years, if she cant not come to Dubai with in Six month What is the Procedure to renew the Visa?

    Or any exception for this reason …

    Pls reply me about this matter

  30. anil dsouza says:

    hi sir,madam

    My son is in india under my wife sponsor i want to bring him in my sponsor.6 month over for him,if iwant to apply for his visa what will be the proceedure.whether i want to cancel his previous visa.please let me know.

  31. Ji.
    i would like to know.
    i have a valid visa upto 2013 but i am out of uae since more than six my visa is an investor visa ( business owner )but due to some personal reason i am out of UAE for more than six months.
    how can i active my visa again.
    is it possible to active the same visa again???

  32. I have a doubt, me & my husband are both employed in different companies, as the recessions strikes my husband lost his job and wants me to sponsor his visa while he’s jobless, is it possible to sponsor him.How much salary package would be the ideal to sponsor a husband? My salary is 7000 dhs monthly and i am on sharjah free zone visa.
    please advise me…

    • can u tell me if 1st time i would like do come dubai or any where in uae then wwhat a process will get pemit of residency..

  33. hii i want to apply my daughter(new born) visa.actually my went to my country for delivery.she have already residene which i sponser.tell me what documents i require to apply my new baby residence visa &what is the fees & prcedures.

  34. I have a employment visa as a servant and still i dnt have the medical and residence,i want to know if my employer cancel my employment if i can work in office company in dubai my sponsor is syrian and he is working in free zone company>.what i will do

  35. Hi, my brother work in dubai and have his family (wife and 4 kids( under company visa before. Now he needs to renew his visa and it must be under in different company name. Did his family visa need to cancel also? did the family need NOC also? whats the process of applying his family visa again? Thanks!

  36. Dear,

    i am under my husbands sponsor ship working in a dubai.i want to switch my job i have already completed my six months here on my new job is there any ban on me can i join any other company

  37. Shaun Kenneth says:

    Hey hi can any one help me with my issue, I’m trying to call me fiance to dubai for a visit can anyone help me with the information. Or can any one help me in this i would appreciate it please.

  38. Respected Sir,

    I am Indian National working as Customer Service Assistant in Dubai
    Based Company Federal Company or semi government.
    I signed a contract(in India) for 3 years joining date 20, July 2010
    for a salary of 750 AED Basic salary and 250 AED food allowance.
    I have to spend 400 AED for food as food in not allowed to cook
    Now I have given my resignation after finishing 1 year
    my supervisor is telling me to pay 2,500 Aed for not completing
    3 years contract and bring ticket so go back to India.

  39. Hi All,

    My wife gave birth to a baby boy in India, The concern is she is trying to apply for passport in india for my son, The Indian passport office is asking for NOC from UAE embassy, How will I get an NOC , When my infants birth certificate is in India, Please can anyone help me regrding my query.

  40. name is raju ,i am working in MNC company in UAE(AbuDhabi)i i have unlimited type visa, i already complete 2 years in this company. i resigned my position last month i complete my one moth notice period as per company police now they are not accepting my
    my resignation, and they telling i should write a letter like this ” I NEVER JOIN IN ANY OTHER COMPANIES OFOUR CUSTOMER OR COMPETITOR IN THE UAE FOR TWO YEARS”.than they will release wat can i do pls advice me..thanking u ..

  41. How much time is required to receive Employeement visa from Abu Dhabi freezone based company
    what are the process followed

  42. Hi ,

    My residency visa has expired on the 25th of June 2011 and my sponsor is required to cancel it as I had over stayed my 6 months absence because of illness. Sponsor assured me that he will get everything sorted out but now is not bothering to cancel.
    What is my visa status, how can I get it cancelled and when can I travel on normal visit visa?
    Would really appreciate helpful suggestions as I need to travel to Dubai to manage my property there.
    Thank you.

  43. hi,

    I am in the process of looking to change my job from a private non-freezone cinema company in Dubai to one in the Dubai Media City/JLT/Jebel-Ali freezone, but I am unable to find any clarity online with regard to the ‘bans’ imposed. My current company did inform me that resigning from the company before the full term of the contract is completed [4 years] would result in a ban, presumably Labor Ban [also referred to as an Employment Ban online]. My current company also requires a 1 month notice period to be provided before I resign, which I assume is what i need to give in order to receive any gratuity owed to me, but i don’t really care about this. I have been with the company since February 2010 and just completed over a year and half. I currently hold an Associates degree in IT from a US institution and wish to gain employment in my field of expertise.

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could inform me whether changing my job and getting a Labour Ban would hinder my chances of gaining employment with an employer in the freezone. Many of my colleagues tell me that changing my job to a government/semi-government institution poses no risk and that is also the case if I find employment in the freezone as a Labor Ban would not apply, as Freezone Laws are different. I have been able to verify online that government positions don’t carry the weight of a Ban and there is no risk involved but less information is available with regards to freezone position. I do understand from a previous posting above that no N.O.C. is required for this change. Could you please also clarify the risks this kind of job change from non-freezone to freezone company before completion of a contract would mean in terms of a limited and an unlimited contract, as well.

    Any help is greatly appreciate, even if it’s a link to another site where this information is accurate with regards to current 2011 Laws. Thanks!!!

  44. sir
    My wife is 22y old. Can i get for her visit visa, if i sponsor it

  45. Hi, I want to know only my visit visa applied or not their. actually i told to my friend for that. and i think he is making fool me. please send me details, if you can, as soon as possible.

  46. i get a job in dubai sponsored by an employer. how do proceed for my family (wife + 5 children) to live with me in dubai. my salary 18000

  47. Nazrul Islam says:

    Dear Sir,

    With due respect i would like to inform you that i was working in Dubai from 2003 to 2006 and after that i was came on yearly vacation after came back on leave i was faced emegency in my family as my mother was seriously seek and i am the person to takecare my family. Due to that i was unable to go back within six months and after that i was trying to contact my company to inform the situation but they have inform me that i was “black listed or ban” by the company. As i was having bank loan & credit card which installment was due as i was not return within six months bank didn’t received the installment for that reason they send a letter to company. Due to this all company has black listed me.

    Now please let me know considering to my situation what i suppose to do now to withdraw the ban and how i can apply for employeement visa again. As i was not having any intention to discontinue my service or not to pay my loan installment.

    Please note that i am having valid driving licens up to 2014.

    Your advice will be highly apperciated in this regards.


    Nazrul Islam

  48. ABDUL HASEEB says:


  49. Hello guys
    I pray of God that your all problems solve and best of luck

  50. please confirm me , can i bring my wife in dubai as a family visa, now i am working as a store keeper, and my salary is 3250 + company accomodation + transportation.