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 want to ask some questions regarding dubai permanent visa. im from pakistan and im 23 years old and im unmarried. im going to dubai on a visit visa for a month but i want to get settled there with a permanent visa if possible. i just wanted to know if il not get any job in dubai can i buy a permanent visa for myself from dubai? if yes how much does it cost? and how much time will it take? and whats the procedure? il be really thankful to you people if you can give me all these details. please reply as soon as possible..will be waiting for reply.

    Best Regards.

  2. i just wanted to ask regarding with my status today,i am employed for 1 month now but i started my work last september 5 and i had my offer that date and he processed my visa,actually i am wondering why i am the one who paid for my visa but he didnt give me receipt cause i thought what he is saying is truth and then my visa came and i need to go out of the country but still i am the one who paid for my ticket and when i’m working with him for 1 and half months until now he is not giving salary,and i knew that his company have alot of debt from different bank and also for the building where his company is there,and when i go to medical i am the one paid for it again but i didnt give back my passport cause i told him i will not give until he is not paying for all the money that i spent already and i know that he cannot give salary and im looking for another job now can i transfer to another company even he is not allowing me what i will do,cause i know that he cannot give anything or to bring back all the money that i already spent,but i dont have yet residence to my passport cause i dont have plan to continue it,what will happen to me? what will i do? i want to transfer.

  3. Dear Sir/Madam;

    I would like to ask regarding our visa…i am 8 months in my work until now my employer didn’t yet get my visa..i work as a domestic worker.not yet medical.i ask her about it..she told me that this month of october will have a medical..what should i do if i dont have yet visa?can i find another employer?i am over stay i dont want that the labour will deport me…i want to work legal here.Please give me some advices before i report them…Thank you so much…

  4. ghulam mujtaba says:

    Father Name: Ghulam Mehdi DOB: 02 -May- 1988 NIC: 43406-0344129-9
    Address: House# E-9 Survey # 331 near Husnain Masjid
    Jaffar-e-Tayyar Society Malir Karachi
    Cell # +923322774501 /+92333-7504035


    To work for an organization with dedication, commitment, and empathetic approach through a genuine desire to assist in demanding situations & challenging environment for organization, where I can fully utilize my skills and knowledge to develop organization and myself.

    Degree/Certificate Institution Year
    MA.English (in Progress) From Shah Abdul Latif University Board – Shah Abdul Latif University Board 2009
    Intermediate Board Of Intermediate And Secondary Education Larkana 2005
    Matriculation Board Of Intermediate And Secondary Education Larkana 2003
    English Language Course Domino English Language Center Karachi 2009

  5. Hi! I am a UAE National. I have a friend of mine visit me here and she found a job but her visa work is still not been finish yet and she have around 3 weeks left for her visa to be expired. So, what process I need to do to be her sponsor until she get her work visa. please help regarding this, she is my best friend and like a sister to me. thanks in advance.

    • also that is may problem.=( i dont now how to do,, but she nid to exit, while waiting her employment visa..

  6. muhammad asim younas says:

    hi.i want to know i can get visit visa again in dubai because of hapatitis B dubai immgration deported me . and i want to come again in dubai. plz give me reply.

  7. H! My sister working as housemaid. She is now 11 months here in dubai as housemaid, but we have doubts that she dont have visa..the employer is will i know? Pls… TY

  8. i have a valid uae residence for self and familly. i need to cancell my residence and go back to home country on emergency how can i keep the family in uae till march 2012.


  9. Hi Sherry,

    I have a que regarding my visa.

    I was working for a company in Dubai, started working in July and I got my visa from this company in the month of Aug, now my Passport was stamped in Aug. But unfortunately,it dint work out and i was fired by the company, which is kind of I feel has become normal for some companies, they have this history of hiring people and firing soon as well, any ways, now they cancelled my visa by the end of sep, so i have 30 days to stay in the country. I have found a job with a company in RAK freezone . My Question is I have not completed 6 months and I was fired the way I was hired, now this new company has applied for my employment visa, but it might get late. I don wish to stay out of the country for long coz i have some important jobs going on now.So i am planning to just do a runaround to Doha or Bahrain for a visa run and come back on a visit visa into UAE. Now once I enter UAE on a visit and then during that period if I get my employment Visa, Will I have to exit and then come back again on the work visa or can it be done staying in the country.

    Please note that the new visa will be from RAK freezone. some say that once i have a visit visa and am here for a month, I would not be able to enter UAE for a certain period, IS that true??? Please do let me know…

    Thank you very much…….:)

  10. Hi ,

    My husband is travelling to Dubai and my mother In law want to take my kid once his visa is ready, does dumai laws permit to take children without parents accompany??

  11. Is it true that it is almost impossible to get a job if you are over 50? What about women, do they have less chance to get a job than men?

  12. i have lost my pakistani passport in uae how can i go back to my home country without passport as i am on tourist visa blc my visa willbe expired at the time of issuance of my new passport plz give me a relible msg on my email

  13. Anil kumar says:

    Dear sir,
    Im Anil kumar from Pakistani i have a master’s degreee and am working as a content writer.
    i have a total work experience of five years.Unfortunately,the progress graph has not been up to my expectations,qualifications and the quality of work that i produce .
    the last employee evaluation process was also a disappointment as favouritism.

    kindly suggest what you would do in similar situation ?

    thanks regard.

  14. Hi, I am and indian national and would like to know whether the new born baby in order to travel from UAE needs Visa or can travel on mother’s visa for the first 3 months

  15. iam living in dubai i have residence visa my wife have also visa ,i want my new born boy visa he is born in india what ducuments required an his birth cirtificate should attested from jaipur ,delhi an from uae mbc plz reply me wht i will do

  16. hellow, how many days to process my tourist visa to employment visa in Sarjah? subway restaurant, hired me, its almost 1 month already,,if may visit visa is expired no nid to exit or i nid to exit, i want to check if there really process my visa, .. also i sign the offer letter..

    ,, do you think my visa is processing.

  17. i came to Dubai on 21.08.2004
    My resident permit was valid from 02.10.2004 to 01.10.2007
    But i left Dubai to Bahrain on 10.11.2004 – (i.e. I stayed only 50 days in Dubai)
    I could not cancel my resident permit in my passport
    Now I want to come for a job In U A E
    What is my position now ? Please advise.
    Thank You

  18. Hi, I have been working in UAE almost 11 months and i came back to my contry for 15 days as an annual leave (i used 15 days of my annual leave out of 27 days). Here in my country i stayed 15 days and before i was flying back my uncle died (he was like my father, he doesnt have children but me), so if i go back later for ex, after two weeks, i will be terminated? I cannot go back?

  19. pls inform my contract is below 4000/- but i need my wife residence visa

    pls help what you need paper regards
    my mob 00971 55 8028223

  20. Hi,

    Firstly congrats for your nice service in advance.
    I am working Ajman based company as a managerial post.Can you please clear below mentioned doubts
    1.Is it possible to start a own LLC dubai company without NOC in current sponser?
    2.Invester visa is mandatory for a LLC formation process ? or managerial visa will worth in setupping process ?

    Please advice

  21. hi i am working in a hotel industry, my visa is labour visa, i renew my labour visa on jan25, 201l.last moth on oct10th i give my resignation so my last working day is nov9th, i want to know whehther my company can put band for 6 months?because i got other job

  22. Hi,

    My visa was cancelled by my previous employer, and he put me a labour ban for 1 year, i finally found A new job in a freezone company is it possible that i can work with the new company?



  23. hello, i want to know sir/madam if a visa renewal on process can still be cancelled or revoke because i changed my mind i dont want to renew my contract anymore and go home to philippines but we already applied for new visa last sunday (23-10-11) my labor card is already expired i also undergone medical and waiting for the result. I decided to go home now because my boss did not give me increase.Hope to hear from you soon because i want to tell my boss i dont want to renew now i’ll just pay his expenses. Can i still cancel it? will i get ban?
    thank you. more power.


  24. Hello,

    I have a question, I am currently working in a company within a free zone. I have a limited contract which is valid from beginning of May 2009 and for 3 years. I have recently resigned to move back to Europe and I will leave the company end of November 2011 so I have worked almost 2,5 years and I have vacation days that has not been paid by my employeer.

    Please can someone inform if I will be entitled to any end of service benefits.

  25. can blacklisted name from ua e government can be lifted off

  26. Hiiii I’m Jerald India, I have to go Dubai tourist visa there is my brother but india immigration side they are asking for dubai where u stay and food they need to latter.

    but how is the format plzzz send me the format

    Regards Jan

  27. ahmed kabeer says:

    i want to establish a general trading business in dubai, and get a general trading license my company will be a limited liability company, for doing so, how many sponsor’s do i need to establish
    my company for doing business ?, is one sponsor inuff?, what will be the sponsorship fee? min-max? plz revert to this asap thank u

    • Dear Ahmed,

      We are ISO 9001: 2008 certified SME consulting firm, please email me your required details, i will Assist you accordingly, you can also reach me at +971 55 45 15 248 or email me:

  28. i am 22 year old woman from india.i got bachelor degree in interior designing.i have attested my i am working in india.i got a job offer from dubai.can you please give an advise that what all formalities i should prepare for that because i dnt have anybody in it possible for me to come to uae and work there.

  29. Hello, Just want find out how long it take the Immigration authority in Dubai or abu dahbi to issues a visa for an expatriate.

    Your earliest response will be appreciated.


  30. i am a male nurse (VISA IS NURSE GENERAL)working with a private company in UAE since december 2010.i got a new job offer with salary 13900 dhms (5500 Basic and rest allowance) to another facility.AM i eligible to shift to the new job with out being affected by labour ban or else if the ban comes whether it can be lifted automatically.plese answer my doubt
    my email id is
    contact number is 00971567115962

  31. نانسي says:

    اريد الحضور لزياره دبي لمده اسبوع بصحبه زوجي واختى البالغه من العمر 25 عاما وهي غير متزوجه فهل من مشكله في اصدار تأشيره سياحيه مع العلم اننى سوف احجز فندق عن طريق شركه سياحيه وهيا لتى ستقوم باحضار التاشيره لي فهل يوجد اي موانع لاصدار التأشيره من قبل السفاره مع العلم ان جواز السفر بتاع زوجي مدون به حاصل على بكالوريوس تجاره واختى مكتوب بها صيدلانيه حره

  32. Wakawakawoo says:

    If we buy a villa in Dubai
    1. Can my wife and children stay there if I am working somewhere else outside of the UAE ?
    2. Can my children go to school there?
    3. Can my wife work there ?
    4. Can we sponsor a maid from the Philippines ?
    5. If we needed to start a business there to gain residency does it need to make a minimum profit per year and how much does it cost?
    6. If we started a business and were employed by it can we work for another company ?
    7. How often does the residency need to renewed and what does it cost?

  33. Dear Sir/ Madam,
    hi, i’m planning to get in UAE on visit visa for job searching, which type of visa do i need, do i need any sponsorship to get visa? and also how to apply? Please help me

    • Dear Khalid, you don`t need any kind of sponsorship for visa, tourist visa is of 30 days which is extendable to further 40 days, while visit visa is of 30 days / 90 days. if you are coming for job search you have booth these options, on tourist visa if you get job in dubai you have to exit from from UAE in order to continue your offered job, alternatively on visit visa if you get a job then you will be able to continue your job without leaving from UAE.

      If you need any further info or visa assistance please write to me or call +971 55 45 15 248

  34. i have a supplement in one subject of bsc. it. rest of all i have all certificates. for attestation of certificate in ministry of education in abu dhabi , can i get labour card from company

  35. I am only child of my parents. My father has expired 7 years back. I am a doctor earning 10000 dhs per month. I have started work less than 1 month back. My mother has come with me to dubai on a visit visa. I am applying for her residence visa but they said only after 6 months. She cannot go back or stay alone. So now I have to go back with her. Any way out?

  36. Hi Nash
    would like to ask u, if someone can find a job on tourist viza and get the residence viza while he or she is in Dubai or he/she has to re-enter the country after getting the residence viza?

    • Dear Nilufar, if someone find a job while on tourist visa, Person must have to re-enter UAE, only on VISIT visa there is no need for Re-entry one can peruse his job without re-entering..

  37. I am a filipina married to a pakistani national. We got married here in dubai last year. Now we have our baby born here in dubai and now 3 month old, we were applying for his Visa under my sponsorhip(mother) because my Husband resigned just last week and the employer of my husband is cancelling his visa note that my husband is getting only 3200 dhs salary from his latest job which the employer is cancelling. the problem is, my salary is not enough to sponsor him because i’m only getting 2950 dhs. salary per month. what can we do for this? i want my baby to stay here with us in UAE. please help and thank u so much.

  38. SIR

    I need clarification that 2 years before I came back from Dubai to India on one year completion of vacation. AFter that I could not able to go back to Dubai due to some personal reason. The company also cancelled my visa but in my pass port the stamping has not been cancelled also the stamped visa got expired.

    Now one company given me a offer and there is any problem for getting employment visa?

    Kindly reply

  39. My Children are on my husband visa. Due to change of job his visa is not yet stamped till now but he have already got an e work permit approval. we are travelling next month and have deposited the amount for childrens visa transfer. Can we transfer now my children on my visa.

  40. hi good evening,
    presently i am working in a 5 star hotel, its under immigration visa, i just joined this company 15 days ago. i want to leave this company and looking for the other job. do you have any idea that how much it will cost for me, if i terminate this contract?

  41. hi anam here
    actually i am in big trouble.i am in father visa as a family am get married they aggainst to me and and want to cancell my visa .what can i do ?my husband worked at bank but he cant sopponsered me now.i am in big problem.please tell me the sollution

  42. Hello, I have my own business from last six months here, but my local sponsor is not supportive, is there any option to change the sponsor before one year.

  43. Hi all,

    I have a friend who is in Abu Dhabi working on a contract. Currently she is still awaiting her visa and passport, also she is being told by the manager (her immediate boss) that on the days that she is not working, she cannot go out and see any sites without his permission? I can understand holding a passport if crime is rampant, but if she does get stopped by a local official, she could be in trouble if unable to provide a visa or passport? It sounds a little unusual to treat employees as if the are their property and trying to control their movements? I may be wrong but surely their must be something she can do, she is seriously thinking of dropping the contract and returning home to South Africa. Any advice is appreciated.

  44. i am a unmarried girl of 23yrs age.My fiance stays in dubai for last 7yrs..i want to visit dubai with my mother in tourist visa.Can my fiance sponser me.Am i eligle to come usa in tourist visa???If he dont even sponser can i come just in tourist visa with my mother to visit usa??My original age is 24yrs but in passport its 23yrs..Am i eligible to visit uae as i m unmarried???Please somebody answer me???

  45. dear sir,
    i want to ask u that if a person get deported from u.a.e after bearing 3 months jail because of case of molestating a maxican gal, is there any posibility he can go back to u.a.e, while case was fake but decision goes against that person, all lawyers r saying that decision is very weak my b he can come back, if u have any clue please reply

  46. hi plz reply for questin i m working here for 4 months and its not free zone visa and it is dubai visa also but the job is not good if i need to change my job what all are the procedure as per uae law i dont want to be get banned so how i can change the job. i all ready recived my visa and my labour card. reply me.

    • as far as i know you can still terminate the work but you will pay the company for the expenses as per dub.labor law.

  47. i\Hello my I’am 35 my wife sponsor me as visit visa coz she failed me to apply a resident visa in UAE can i still find a job and work in UAE.with out a problem..

    • visit & tourist visa’s are not allowed to find or work here in uae. but a lot of people on is doing that. good luck to you.

  48. hi! all, i am currently employed and finished my 3years contract. I just renewed my contract from my present employer last week. I just want to know what will be my dues, how much will it cost me if i will cancel the newly renewed contract and found a new job? will i still get ban even i already finished my 3yrs contract?


  49. I came here for a company and was working for those company for 3 months.But my project has been dropped and my company MD ask me to search for a new job.I am Degree holder(Engineer) but my certificate was not attested when they took my visa.But Now my certificate got attested and I got a new job in another company.My new company ask me to cancel my existing visa.But How can i Lift my BAN?

  50. Dear sir,
    Im an local airline employer who resident in dubai. left dxb to my country on 25th Sep 2011 for metenity leave.was told by doctor better not to travel for safety reason,then i ll face visa expire as i will be out of UAE more than 6month.can u advice me any exception regarding this ?what the procedures need to be follow?can i renew it without present?
    thanks..Eid Mubarak