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Visas & Work Permits in the UAE

UAE Residence Visas: Sponsoring Your Family and Domestic Staff

Whereas your employer will act as your sponsor so you can live and work in the UAE, you can act as the sponsor for your spouse, children, and other dependents or domestic workers. Find out what documents you need and other important information in this article.

  • Once you are legally employed in the UAE, you can also sponsor your family to join you.
  • Wives can also sponsor their husbands, although they must satisfy some extra requirements.
  • A sizeable minimum monthly salary is required to sponsor your parents to come live with you in the UAE.
  • You may also sponsor domestic workers such as maids, nannies, and drivers, although some restrictions apply.

Bringing Your Family: Sponsoring Your Spouse and Children

Entry Permits

If you have gotten a job in the UAE and would like your family to join you, you will have to sponsor them for an entry permit. To obtain this permit for your spouse and children, you will require the following documents:

  • a completed entry permit application
  • a certified copy of the passport(s) of those to be sponsored, with at least six months’ validity
  • a passport-sized photo for each dependent
  • if sponsoring your spouse:
    • a marriage certificate (original and copy, certified and legally translated for non-Arab nationalities)
    • a bank guarantee of 5,000 AED if you have a second wife
  • if sponsoring your children:
    • a birth certificate (original and copy, both duly certified)
    • for daughters over 18 years of age: a written statement testifying that they are unmarried
  • an attested salary certificate and employment contract (original) — In order to act as a sponsor, you must earn at least 3,000 AED if accommodation is provided by your employer, or 4,000 AED if it is not. Teachers, imams, and bus drivers for educational institutions are exempted from this requirement.
  • bank statements for the past three months
  • your original, authenticated rental contract
  • your most recent water and electricity bills
  • fees: 250 AED for each application (an extra 100 AED for urgent applications)

Once you have received the entry permit(s), you can either send your spouse the original entry permit or send a copy and deposit the original at the immigration office of the airport they will be arriving at.

Residence Visas

After your spouse and children arrive in the UAE, you will need to take them to get a residence visa. This should be done within the first 60 days after arrival. The renewable residence visa is usually valid for three years.

You require the same documents to apply for the residence visa that you needed for the entry permit. It is always a good idea to bring extra copies with you of each document in addition to the original or certified copy. The following additional documents are required:

  • a completed application form, signed by you, the sponsor
  • the original passports of the sponsor and family member(s) as well as copies
  • three passport-sized photos for each family member
  • entry permit(s)
  • a medical fitness certificate for each family member above 15 years of age
  • proof of health insurance for your spouse and children
  • your residence visa (original and copy)
  • your Emirates ID card and labor card (original and copy)
  • fees: 370 AED (an extra 100 AED for urgent applications)

Before you can apply for the residence visa, your spouse and children over 18 years of age will need to get a medical check-up. You can read more about this procedure in our article on residence visas.

Unusual but Not Impossible: Sponsoring Your Husband and Children

It is possible, if somewhat unusual, for a wife to sponsor her husband and children in the UAE. If you are working as a teacher, engineer, doctor, or another position related to the medical sector, you must meet the same requirements as a man (monthly salary of 3,000 AED with accommodation or 4,000 AED without it) in order to be able to sponsor your family.

If you do not work in one of these professions, you must make a petition to the immigration department and earn at least 10,000 AED per month (or 9,000 AED if accommodation is provided by your employer). Each application will be decided on a case-by-case basis. You need to provide the same documents as above as well as an attested educational certificate. If your application is accepted, your husband will receive a one-year renewable residence visa and your children will receive two-year renewable visas.

Whereas a wife may take up employment while living in the UAE on a visa sponsored by her husband (as long as he signs a no-objection certificate), a husband who is sponsored by his wife may not work on this residence visa. Instead, he needs to transfer his visa to one sponsored by his employer.

Further Details on Sponsoring Your Children

Sons can be sponsored by a parent up until the age of 18. They can only be sponsored by a parent up until the age of 21 if they are a full-time student at a college or university. Daughters can be sponsored by a parent as long as they remain unmarried.

If you would like your step-children to join you in the UAE, your spouse must first get a no-objection certificate signed by the child’s other biological parent.

Registering Your New Baby

If you have a baby while living in the UAE, you also need to obtain a residence visa for it. This must be done within 120 days of the date of birth. There is a 100 AED fine for each additional day. The infant may not leave the UAE without a valid residence visa. You will require the following documents:

  • a completed application form
  • the baby’s original passport
  • three passport-sized photos
  • the original and a copy of the baby’s birth certificate, attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • the original and copy of the attested marriage certificate
  • a copy of the sponsor’s passport
  • a copy of the sponsor’s employment contract or salary certificate

After submitting the documents at your local General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), the passport with the residence visa stamped into it will be mailed to you. The first year costs 215 AED and renewal costs 100 AED each year.

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Sponsoring Your Parents: High Minimum Salary Required

If you would like to sponsor your parents or parents-in-law to join you in the UAE, then your monthly salary must be over 20,000 AED (or 19,000 AED with accommodation). If your salary is lower than this, you can submit a request for an exception at your local immigration department. Case-by-case decisions will be made on a humanitarian basis.

Regardless of your salary, both of your parents must be sponsored together. If one of your parents is divorced or deceased, you must submit a certified divorce or death certificate.

You must obtain proof that you are their sole provider and that there is no one who could take care of them in your home country. You will also have to get proof of your relationship from your embassy or consulate, as well as an attested rental contract showing that you have at least a two-bedroom apartment. You will also have to pay a 2,000 AED refundable deposit in addition to the 110 AED application fee. A decision should be made within two weeks. If your application is accepted, your parents will first receive entry permits.

After they arrive, you will need to apply for one-year renewable residence visas for them. You will have to provide all the same documents you would need when sponsoring your spouse and children. Your parents will also need to have a medical check-up. The residence visa costs 110 AED per year.  

Sponsoring a Domestic Worker

You also have the option of sponsoring domestic workers such as a maid, nanny, or driver. However, please note that single men may not act as the sponsor for a female domestic worker.

In order to sponsor a domestic worker, your salary must be at least 6,000 AED per month (5,000 AED if housing is included). You must follow the same guidelines as outlined above for sponsoring family members to obtain an entry permit and then a residence visa. As with sponsoring your parents, you must also prove that you have at least a two-bedroom apartment to sponsor a domestic worker. If the domestic worker comes from your home country, you must sign an affidavit that you are not related.

The Next Steps after Arrival

After the domestic worker arrives, you will need to apply for a residence visa for them. If you sponsor a female domestic worker, she will also need to have a pregnancy test done as part of her medical exam. If she is pregnant, you will have to sign a no-objection certificate as part of her residence visa application. Residence visas for domestic workers cost 5,100 AED per year. You will also have to submit a 2,000 AED deposit (refundable when the domestic worker leaves the country).

Once the application has been approved, a renewable residence visa will be issued for one year. You will also need to take your domestic worker to an Emirates ID office to apply for an Emirates ID card. In addition to a residence visa and Emirates ID card, domestic workers are also issued with a Domestic Worker Card.

Minimum Wage: Variations from Country to Country

Please bear in mind that there is a minimum wage for domestic workers depending on their country of origin. You can find out more information about this from the respective country’s embassy or consulate. If you would like to sponsor more than one domestic worker, the GDRFA will make a decision based on the size of your family and your salary.

Updated on: December 06, 2018

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