The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers a vibrant lifestyle, a bustling business environment, and a melting pot of cultures, making it a sought-after destination for many. If you’re considering creating the UAE as your new home, understanding the process of obtaining a UAE Residence Visa is crucial. This guide provides a detailed overview of a UAE Residence Visa, who can apply, how to apply, charges, requirements, and more.

What is a UAE Residence Visa?

A UAE Residence Visa allows people from other countries to live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a set time. Depending on the kind of visa and who is sponsoring it, it can last from 1 to 10 years. Recent updates allow for 5 and 10-year residence visas under specific conditions. This visa is important if you want to work, start a business, study, or be with your family in the UAE. It’s a key step for anyone planning to make the UAE their home for a while.

Types of Residence Visa in UAE

Golden Residence Visa

The UAE’s Golden Visa is a long-term residence visa that offers exclusive benefits to foreign talents who want to live, work, or study in the UAE.

Key Features of the Golden Visa

  • Entry visa: A six-month entry visa with multiple entries to process residence issuance.
  • Long-term validity: The residence visa is renewable and valid for 5 or 10 years.
  • No sponsor requirement: Eliminates the need for a local sponsor.
  • Extended stay outside UAE: Allows holders to stay outside the UAE for more than six months without losing residence visa status.
  • Family sponsorship: Enables sponsorship of family members, including spouses and children of any age.
  • Domestic helpers: Unlimited domestic helpers can be sponsored.
  • Post-mortem validity: Family members can stay in the UAE till the end of their visa if the primary holder passes away.

Eligibility Criteria for Different Categories

Here are the eligibility criteria for some key professions:

Investors in Public Investments
  1. Duration: 10 years, renewable.
  2. Requirements:
    1. Investment in a UAE-accredited investment fund with a deposit of at least AED two million or
    2. A valid commercial or industrial license with a capital of not less than AED two million.
    3. Annual payment of at least AED 250,000 to the government.
    4. Full ownership of the invested capital (not a loan).
    5. Proof of medical insurance for the investor and family.
Real Estate Investors
  1. Duration: 5 years, renewable.
  2. Requirements:
    1. Ownership of one or more properties in the UAE with a total value of not less than 2 million dirhams.
    2. Option to purchase property with a loan from specific local banks.
  1. Duration: 5 years.
  2. Requirements:
    1. Ownership of a technical or future-oriented economic project based on risk & innovation.
    2. Project value at least 500,000 dirhams.
    3. Approval from UAE authorities and an accredited business incubator.
Outstanding Specialised Talents
  1. This category includes doctors, scientists, artists, inventors, executives, specialists in scientific fields, athletes, doctoral degree holders, and engineering/science specialists.
  2. Duration: 10 years.
  3. Requirements:
    1. Specific approvals and recommendations depend on the profession, such as a letter from the Ministry of Health for doctors or a suggestion from the Ministry of Economy for inventors.
    2. A recommendation letter from the Emirates Council of Scientists or a letter from the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence confirming the applicant’s receipt of the Medal of Scientific Excellence (for scientists).
Outstanding Students
  1. Duration: 5 years for high school students and 10 years for university students.
  2. Requirements:
    1. High school students with a minimum grade of 95%.
    2. University students from A or B-class universities with a GPA of 3.5 or 3.8, respectively.
    3. Graduates from the top 100 global universities with a GPA of at least 3.5.
Frontline Heroes
  1. Duration: Not specified.
  2. Requirements:
    1. Displayed extraordinary effort in crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
    2. Recommendation from a competent authority.
    3. Frontliners include medical assistants, pharmacologists, nurses and lab technicians.

For more information visit this link. It’s packed with comprehensive information to guide you through the process. This is a great starting point for anyone looking to understand the requirements for this special residence visa category.

Residence visa for working in the UAE

Types of Residence Visa for Work

  • Standard work visa: For employees in government and private sectors.
  • Green visa for work: For skilled employees, valid for five years.
  • Domestic worker visa: Specifically for domestic helpers.

Green Visa for Work

The Green visa in the UAE is a special kind of residence visa. With this visa, you can sponsor yourself for 5 years, and you don’t need a UAE national or employer to sponsor your visa.

UAE Residence Visa

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  • Freelancers and self-employed individuals.
  • Skilled employees with specific qualifications.
Application requirements for freelancers/self-employed:
  • Freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
  • Bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma.
  • You must provide proof of annual income of at least AED 360,000 from self-employment for the past two years or evidence of financial solvency.
Application requirements for skilled employees:
  • Valid employment contract.
  • Classification in the first, second, or third occupational level per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  • Salary of not less than AED 15,000 per month.
  • Renewal: The visa can be renewed for the same term upon expiry.

Standard Work Visa

  • For private sector employees: Requires application by the employer.
    • For the government sector or free zone employees: It also requires application by the employer.

Domestic Workers Visa

Specific information about domestic workers’ recruitment.

Residence visa for working outside the UAE

Virtual Work Residence Visa

  • This visa allows foreigners employed outside the UAE to live in the UAE legitimately.
    • It is a one-year visa, permitting entry under self-sponsorship.
    • Applicants must adhere to the terms and conditions issued with the visa.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Proof of remote employment with an organization outside the UAE.
    • A minimum monthly income of USD 3,500 or its equivalent in other currencies.

Dubai’s Virtual Working Programme

  • Like the remote work visa, this programme allows living in Dubai while working remotely for a non-UAE organization.
  • Targeted at people living and working outside the UAE, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies meeting the eligibility criteria.
  • Successful applicants can bring their family to Dubai.
Duration and Renewal

The programme is valid for one year and is renewable upon re-application.

Application Requirements

If you’re working for a company:

  • Proof of Employment: Show a contract valid for at least one year.
  • Minimum Salary: Ensure you earn at least USD 5,000 monthly.
  • Recent Financial Records: Provide your latest month’s salary slip and bank statements from the past three months.

If you own a company:

  • Proof of Ownership: Demonstrate you’ve owned your company for a year or more.
  • Income Requirements: Your average monthly income should be at least USD 5,000.
  • Company’s Financial Records: Present your company’s bank statements from the previous three months.

Residence visa for the retired

  • Eligibility Age: Retired residents over the age of 55 can apply.
  • Visa Duration: The visa is long-term, valid for 5 years.
  • Renewal Possibility: It can be renewed if the eligibility criteria are still met.
  • Work Experience Requirement: Applicants must have worked for under 15 years, either inside or outside the UAE.
  • Age at Retirement: Applicants should be 55 years or older at retirement.
  • Financial Requirements: One of the following must be met:
    • Own property/properties in the UAE worth at least AED 1 million.
    • Have financial savings of no less than AED 1 million.
    • Have a monthly income of at least AED 20,000 (or AED 15,000 for Dubai).
  • Bank Statement: Applicants must provide a bank statement for the last six months.

Residence visa for doing business in the UAE

  • Type of Visa: The Green visa is designated for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities in the UAE.
  • Duration and Replacement: This visa replaces the previous residence visa, valid for only 2 years.
  • Key Requirements:
    • Approval from ICP: Investors must have the approval of the ICP (Identity and Citizenship Authority) based on the investor rating system.
    • Proof of Investment: Evidence of the investment is required. The total invested capital will be calculated if the investor or partner has more than one license.
    • Local Authority Approval: Approval from the competent local authorities is necessary.

Residence visa for studying in the UAE

  • Eligibility for Student Visa:
  • Students can stay in the UAE to study under two conditions:
    • Under the sponsorship of a parent who is a UAE resident.
    • Under the sponsorship of the accredited university/college where the student is enrolled.
  • Visa Duration and Renewal:
    • A student visa is initially granted for one year.
    • It is renewable for a similar period each year, provided proof of continued study from the educational institute.
  • Sponsorship for Male and Female Students:
    • Expatriate residents can sponsor their male children up to the age of 25.
    • Male students over 25 can remain on their parents’ sponsorship if enrolled in a higher educational institute for at least one year.
    • Female students can be sponsored by their expatriate parents for study until married, regardless of age.
  • Key Requirements for Visa Application:
    • A certificate from the university or institute specifying the study duration.
    • Fulfilment of other general requirements stated in this article.
  • Visa for Families of University Students:
    • Family members of international students studying in the UAE can stay in the country, provided they can afford suitable housing.
    • This policy aims to provide moral stability for the students.
  • Golden Visa for Outstanding Students:

Residence visa for family members

  • Eligibility for Sponsorship:
    • Expatriate residents with valid UAE residence visas can sponsor their families.
    • The minimum salary requirement for sponsorship is AED 4,000, or AED 3,000 plus accommodation.
  • Medical Fitness Examination:
    • Family members over 18 must pass medical fitness tests at approved health centres in the UAE.
  • Sponsorship Conditions:
    • A mother can sponsor her children under special conditions approved by the ICP.
    • The sponsor has 60 days to apply for a dependents’ residence visa after they enter into the UAE.
    • Parents can be sponsored with yearly visas, regardless of the sponsor’s visa duration.
    • Profession type is not a condition for sponsorship.
    • Medically unfit individuals will not be granted a residence visa.
    • Residents with dormant or inactive pulmonary tuberculosis are considered medically fit but require treatment and follow-up.
  • Sponsoring Wife and Children:
    • An expatriate resident can sponsor his wife and children if he meets the sponsorship requirements:
    • A marriage certificate (attested and translated into Arabic if necessary) is required to sponsor a wife.
    • A Muslim resident may sponsor two wives under strict conditions.
    • Daughters can be sponsored if they are unmarried, with no age restrictions.
    • Sons can be sponsored until age 25 or indefinitely if they have special needs.
    • Newborns in the UAE must be sponsored within 120 days of birth.
    • Stepchildren can be sponsored with certain conditions, including a deposit and a no-objection certificate from the biological parent.
  • Required Documents:
    • Application form, passport copies, photos, medical clearance certificates for those above 18, employment contract, salary certificate, attested marriage certificate, and registered tenancy contract.
  • Cancellation and Grace Period:
    • Dependents’ visas are linked to the sponsor’s visa and must be cancelled if the sponsor’s visa is cancelled.
    • A 6-month grace period is provided to obtain a new residence permit after expiry or cancellation.
  • Sponsoring Parents:
    • Requires a deposit for each parent and proof of being their sole support.
    • Both parents must be sponsored together unless justified by official documents.
  • Special Cases for UAE Citizen Spouses, Parents, and Children:
    • They can get a 5-year residence visa without the need to work in the UAE.
    • Foreign widows or divorced women with a UAE citizen child can also get a residence visa.

Who Can Apply for a UAE Residence Visa?

When applying for a residence visa, there are key factors to remember:

  • Medical test: You must take a medical test to show you are healthy.
  • Age: Must be 18 years old and above.
  • Security check: A security check is required to ensure safety.
  • Emirates ID card: Apply for this card from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

General Required Documents for UAE Residence Visa

  1. Recent Colored Photo: A current photo of your dependent with a white background.
  2. Dependent’s Passport: A copy of the passport.
  3. Emirates ID Application: Keep the receipt.
  4. Housing Proof: Your housing lease contract (certified) or proof of owning a home.
  5. Sponsor’s Passport: A copy with a valid residence permit.
  6. Sponsor’s Job Contract: This shows your employment status.
  7. Medical Fitness Certificate: Needed for dependents over 18.
  8. Entry Permit: Required for entering the country.
  9. Birth Certificate: An attested copy for children.
  10. Mother’s Residence Photo: Required for newborns.
  11. Medical Insurance or Health Card: Proof of health coverage.
  12. Divorce or Death Certificate: For divorced women and widows.
  13. Proof of Housing: Also for divorced women and widows.
  14. Proof of Income: For divorced women and widows, showing financial independence.
  15. Study Certificate: For students, issued by their university or institute.

How to Apply for a UAE Residence Visa?

  1. Medical test: Applicants aged 18 and above must undergo a medical test and pass a security check.
  2. Required documents: These include personal photos, passport copies, Emirates ID application receipt, housing lease contract, job contract (if applicable), and other specific documents depending on the visa type mentioned above.
  3. Application process: The application can be initiated via this link or through a registered typing center in the UAE. For a simple step-by-step guide on how to apply online, check below:
  4. Visit the official GDRFA Dubai website.
  5. Choose the English language option for easier navigation if you prefer.
  6. Look for the section or tab related to visa services.
  7. Select the specific type of residence visa you wish to apply for.
  8. Follow the instructions for the application process, which usually involves filling out an application form and uploading the required documents.
  9. Apply and wait for processing.

Benefits of having a UAE residence visa

  • Open a bank account: As a resident, you can easily open your bank account.
  • Access to financial services: This includes loans and other banking services.
  • Get a driving license: You can apply for a driving license in the UAE.
  • Use government health services and Insurance: You can access public healthcare and insurance plans.
  • Enrol children in schools: You can enrol your kids in government and private schools.
  • Work and invest: Living in the UAE allows you to work and make investments.
  • Travel easily to certain countries: Some countries allow visa-free travel for UAE residents (always check with foreign embassies in the UAE).


Obtaining a UAE Residence Visa is a gateway to numerous opportunities in one of the world’s most dynamic regions. By understanding the application process, requirements, and benefits, you can confidently embark on your journey to becoming a UAE resident.

About Author

Rizalie Gumalog

About Author

Rizalie Gumalog is a digital storyteller known for her eclectic writing styles that captivate audiences. With her almost 3 years of experience, she crafts engaging articles that build meaningful connections between brands and their audience. Drawing inspiration from nature and music, Riza is committed to creating enriching experiences and is always ready for new digital explorations.