Moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can be an exciting adventure for you and your family. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of Dubai’s skyscrapers or the cultural richness of Abu Dhabi and its fascinating mosques, the UAE offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. However, before you can start your new life in this vibrant country, there’s an important step you need to take: securing a UAE Family Residence Visa for your loved ones. This guide will walk you through the process, offering practical tips and valuable insights to make your journey smoother.

UAE Family Visa Eligibility Criteria

If you’re working in the UAE and want to bring your family over, it’s possible! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Salary requirements: You don’t have to worry about your job title. What matters is how much you earn. If your salary is at least AED 4,000, or AED 3,000 plus you have accommodation provided, you’re eligible to sponsor your family. This makes it easier for many employees to have their loved ones join them.
  • Medical fitness test: Anyone coming to live in the UAE who is 18 years or older must pass a medical fitness test. This is a standard procedure to ensure that newcomers are healthy.

If you meet the salary criteria, you can sponsor your family members to live with you in the UAE. 

Sponsorship Requirements for UAE Family Residence Visa

If you’re living in the UAE and considering bringing your family over, you should know some key points. The process is straightforward, but there are specific rules:

  • Special cases for children: A mother can apply to sponsor her children if she meets certain conditions approved by the ICP (Identity and Citizenship Authority).
  • Timing for dependents: Once your family enters the UAE with an entry permit, you have 60 days to apply for their residence visa. It’s important to act quickly!
  • Sponsoring parents: Residents can also sponsor their parents. The visa for parents is renewed every year, no matter how long the sponsor’s visa lasts.
  • The profession doesn’t matter: In the past, only people with certain jobs could sponsor their families. Today, your profession doesn’t affect your ability to sponsor your family’s visas.
  • Health requirements: Everyone applying for a residence visa must be medically fit. This means that people with certain health conditions might not be eligible. However, if someone has inactive pulmonary tuberculosis, they’re still considered fit but must get a one-year Health Fitness Certificate and undergo treatment.

Here’s some advice: Start the visa application process when your family arrives in the UAE. Also, keep up with any medical tests or treatments required to ensure your family’s visa status remains in good standing.

Sponsoring Wife and Children

  • Sponsoring your wife: You must show you’re married by providing a marriage certificate. If it’s outside of Arabic, get it translated by a certified translator.
  • Sponsoring two wives: For Muslim residents, there’s a possibility to sponsor two wives under strict conditions regulated by ICP.
  • Sponsoring daughters: You can sponsor your daughter(s) as long as they are unmarried and under no age limit.
  • Sponsoring sons: Sons can be sponsored up to the age of 25. If your son has special needs, there’s no age limit for sponsorship.
  • Sponsoring newborns: If your baby is born in the UAE, you have 120 days to apply for a residence visa to avoid fines.
  • Sponsoring stepchildren: This is possible with a deposit for each child and a no-objection certificate from their other biological parent. Their visas need to be renewed every year.

Documents Needed:

  • Application form (online or from a typing office)
  • Passport copies of your wife and children
  • Photos of them
  • Medical clearance for those over 18
  • Your employment contract or company contract
  • Your salary certificate
  • Your marriage certificate (attested)
  • Your tenancy contract

Note: The family’s residence permits depend on the residence permit of the family member who supports them. If this family member’s visa is stopped, the family members’ visas, which rely  on it, must also be stopped.

Family members who depend on others have six months to get a new residence permit after their visa ends or are stopped. If the supporting family member does not renew or stop the visa for their dependents, they might have to pay a fine.

Sponsoring Parents

  • Both parents together: You can’t just invite one parent; you need to sponsor both your mother and father together. This is important unless there’s a specific reason, like if one parent has passed away or your parents are divorced. In such cases, you must show official documents to sponsor just one parent.
  • Proving you’re their main support: You must show that your parents depend on you financially and that nobody in your home country can care for them.
  • Earning enough: You must earn a certain minimum salary to be eligible. The Amer website states that the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) mandates a minimum monthly income of AED 20,000 for individuals wishing to sponsor their parents’ visas.
  • Health insurance: You need medical insurance for each parent meeting the minimum requirements. Remember, this insurance has to be renewed every year.
  • Security deposit: You’ll also need to pay a deposit as a guarantee for each parent. The immigration department asks for this to ensure everything is in order.

Family visa for the spouse, parent, and child of a UAE citizen

  • Who can get a 5-year visa?
    • Spouses, parents, or children of a UAE citizen.
    • They must hold a foreign passport.
    • Widows or divorced women with a UAE citizen child.
  • No work requirement:
    • You don’t need a job in the UAE to qualify.
  • Who is the sponsor?
    • For spouses, parents, or children: The UAE citizen.
    • For widows/divorced mothers: The oldest child (UAE citizen).
  • Purpose:
    • This visa allows staying in the UAE for five years.
    • It’s designed to keep families together.
  • Advice:
    • Ensure your UAE citizen family member is ready to sponsor you.
    • Gather all necessary documents before applying.
    • Check the latest UAE visa policies, as rules can change.

How to Apply for a UAE Family Visa?

Option 1: Go Digital with Smart Services

In today’s digital age, applying online is a breeze. Here’s how:

  1. Start by logging in: Access the smart services system using your UAE Pass or a username. It’s your gateway to a hassle-free application. An example and reliable website you can use is the GDRFAD
  2. Find the service: Once logged in, look for the Family Residence Visa application service. It’s just a search away.
  3. Fill in the details: You’ll see an application form. Please fill it out with all the required information. Make sure everything is accurate to avoid any delays.
  4. Pay a payment: If the service has a fee, you must pay it online. Follow the instructions for a secure transaction.

Option 2: Visit a Customer Happiness Centre

Prefer doing things in person? The Customer Happiness Centres are here for you.

  1. Find your nearest centre: Head over to the closest Customer Happiness Centre.
  2. Take a number. Once there, grab an automated turn ticket and wait for your turn. This is a good time to double-check your documents.
  3. Please submit your application: When it’s your turn, hand over your application and all the necessary documents to the service employee. They’re there to help!
  4. Pay the fee: If there’s a service fee, you’ll be asked to pay it at the centre.

Option 3: Amer Service Centre

Another in-person option is the Amer Service Centre, which specialises in visa and residency services.

  1. Locate an Amer Centre: Find the nearest Amer Service Centre and make your way there.
  2. Get a ticket: Like at the Customer Happiness Centre, you’ll need to take an automated turn ticket and wait for your number to be called.
  3. Application submission: Present your completed application and any required documents to the customer service representative.
  4. Service fee: If applicable, you must pay a service fee. The representative will guide you through this process.

UAE Family Visa Application Fees

  • Residence permit fee: AED200
  • Extra charges:
    • Knowledge Dirham: AED10
    • Innovation Dirham: AED10
  • If applying inside the country: Additional AED500
  • Delivery Fee: AED20

Important Tip: If your residency extends beyond two years, the issuance fee will increase by AED100 every year.

Tips for a Smooth Visa Application Process

  • Start the visa application process before your planned move date to account for any delays.
  • Keep documents ready: Ensure all your documents are accurate and current. This will help avoid any unnecessary delays in the application process.
  • Stay informed: Regulations can change, so it’s crucial to stay updated on the latest visa policies by checking the official UAE government portal.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If you find the process overwhelming, consider hiring a professional visa service or consultant to guide you through the application.

Insights from Expatriates

Many who have gone through the process emphasise the importance of patience and preparation. The UAE’s visa application process is systematic but can be time-consuming. Keeping a positive attitude and meticulous documentation can significantly ease the process.

In a Nutshell

Bringing your family to live with you in the UAE is thrilling, but it requires careful planning and preparation. By following the steps outlined above and keeping our tips in mind, you can confidently navigate the Family Residence Visa process. Remember, the key to a successful application is ensuring you meet all eligibility criteria, have all the necessary documents prepared, and stay informed about any changes in the visa policies. With some patience and effort, you’ll soon start your new life in the UAE with your loved ones by your side.

Moving to a new country can be challenging but also an opportunity for growth and new experiences. The UAE offers a unique blend of opportunities for expatriates, and securing your family’s residence visa is the first step toward making the most of your time in this dynamic country.

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.