Expatriates working in the UAE need to have a valid work permit and work visa to legally be employed in the country. Individuals who are in the UAE on a work visa don’t require additional residence visas. The work visas allow you to legally reside in the country for the stipulated period. Here is how you can get a Dubai work visa and permit.
How to Apply for a Work Visa in Dubai
One of the key things to understand about working in the UAE is that the work visa or employment permit is provided by the employer. As an employee, you don’t apply for such visas or permits on your own. If you are seeking job opportunities in the emirate, you can kick start your job search, check out our step-by-step by guide on how to find a job in Dubai. You can also seek jobs through websites and portals and we have also compiled a list of the most useful job sites in the UAE.
Once you find that perfect opportunity, it’s time to move on to the second step.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) issues work permits in Dubai. Your employer has to apply for this permit, which is then converted into a valid residency visa. Once you get the residence visa, the work permit allows you to enter the UAE and work there. This permit is valid for two months. During this time, your employer will have to arrange formalities like medical testing, Emirates ID, Labour Card and residency visa.
The residency visa primarily is a clear piece of evidence that you are sponsored by the organisation and that it has paid for your work permit, medical testing and Emirates ID.
Once you receive your residence visa, you can sponsor your family and bring them into the country. This includes single mothers as well. In addition, men sponsored by wives in UAE can also get a work permit.
Who can apply for a work visa in Dubai?
Three conditions decide whether or not expats need a Dubai working visa. You’ll need one if:
- You have been hired while you are still in your country
- A job opportunity comes up when you are in Dubai on a visit visa or tourist visa
- You are already working in Dubai and want to switch companies
In the first instance, MoHRE and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have set up centres outside the country to facilitate this process.
In the second instance, you can obtain your Dubai work permit by exiting the UAE. You don’t necessarily have to fly back home. Airlines such as Air Arabia and FlyDubai offer you a ‘visa run’ facility in which you can stopover at a neighbouring country (such as Oman) till you obtain a work permit in Dubai.
The hiring company can also avail of the ‘Change Status’ process by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA) in Dubai. In this scenario, you do not have to leave the country to obtain the work permit in Dubai.
In the third instance, you also get a new work permit to join a new company. As per Article 1 of Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015, an employee whose contract was terminated because of expiry of contract is eligible for a new work permit in Dubai, provided they are able to secure a new career opportunity.
As per the amended UAE’s Labour Law No. 8 of 1980, you need to be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for the work permit in Dubai.
Dubai Work Permit Visa Requirements
You need the following to obtain your work permit in Dubai:
- Photograph against a white background
- Copy of passport (which is valid for at least six months)
- Copy of education certificates required for the job (this has to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country)
Along with the Dubai work permit visa requirements, you also need to take medical fitness tests at government-approved health centres in Dubai. This is necessary both for new work visa applicants as well as renewals. You will have to take a blood test and get an x-ray of your chest to screen for pulmonary tuberculosis.
Note that certain occupations in Dubai also require that you test negative for Hepatitis B and syphilis. The best way to go about this is to have these tests done in your country to save your time. This is because if you happen to have any of these communicable diseases, you will be required to leave the country.
What is the Dubai work permit visa processing time?
Ideally, you can receive your work permit in Dubai within a week. Of course, this depends on various factors.
What is the validity of my work visa in Dubai?
The duration of a residence visa depends on your sponsor as well as the nature of your employment. It is issued for one, or two or three years. If you’re wondering “how to check my visa status in UAE“, you can do it online via ICA Smart Services.
What is the Dubai work permit fees?
The new work permit fee is AED 100. You can find the complete list of new work permit fees in the UAE here.
How to avoid visa frauds and scam?
It is possible to encounter visa fraud when you are working in Dubai. But there are several ways to steer clear of these instances. For example, genuine employers have to offer you a letter issued by MoHRE. You can also check the legal status of your company in the National Economic Register online.
Likewise, you can verify the validity of your permit and visa on GDRFA. In any case, you can always reach out to MoHRE at their contact number (+971-680-27666) or website to have your queries addressed.
This wraps up our guide on how you can get your Dubai work visa and work permit. As mentioned above, obtaining your Emirates ID is an important part of the process, and we have also prepared a guide on the Emirates ID for your convenience.
Once you obtain your residence visa, you can sponsor your parents, spouse or children in Dubai. You can read all about sponsoring your family in the UAE on our blog as well.
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