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Visas and Administration in the UAE

Taking care of paperwork is an unavoidable part of relocating to the UAE, whether you’re moving to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or one of the five other emirates. We’ve gathered information on everything from getting a visa to your Emirates ID card, as well as advice on the UAE’s strict customs regulations.

If you want to visit the emirate you’ll be moving to before your actual relocation, you first need to check if you require a visa to enter the UAE. Citizens of many countries can get a short-term visa on arrival directly at the airport, which requires no previous planning or paperwork on your part. If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you must apply for a visa before departure and will need someone, such as your future employer, to sponsor your visa application. Multiple-entry visas are available for people doing business with companies in the UAE. Special regulations apply for citizens of the USA and Germany.

Visas, Permits, and IDs, Oh My!

At first glance, all the red tape you need to get through can seem overwhelming. Luckily, if you’re moving to the UAE for work, your employer will probably take care of most of the administrative side of things for you. Once you’ve found a job, your future employer will apply for your entry permit. After you arrive in the UAE, you will need to get a residence visa. Other necessary steps include obtaining a labor card and an Emirates ID card. On the basis of your residence visa, you can also sponsor visas for your family and domestic staff. While wives may also sponsor their husbands, some additional requirements apply. If you wish to sponsor your parents or parents-in-law, you must have a considerable minimum monthly salary.

Customs Regulations: When in Doubt, Check Twice

In addition to getting all the paperwork sorted out for you and your family, you also need to figure out what to bring with you. The UAE has some strict laws about what is and is not allowed into the country. Therefore, it’s best to do your research to avoid inadvertently including a prohibited item either in your personal luggage or in the household goods you are having shipped to the UAE. You can import your personal belongings plus some other items duty-free, as long as your household goods are in a used condition and arrive within six months of when you receive your residence visa. Certain items must be declared at the port of entry, while for others, prior approval is required. Items which fall into a third category are completely prohibited, and are better left in storage in your home country.

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