• January 13, 2022

Applying for a UAE residence visa: All you need to know

The UAE is a melting pot of various nationalities living together. Around 88% of the entire population of the country consists of foreign expatriates living in the country mainly under a residency visa.

A residency permit is a visa type granted by the UAE government to foreign expats to work and invest in businesses in the country.

Having a residence visa in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE has its advantages, including opening a bank account, sponsoring your dependents to the UAE, applying for provisions such as the Golden Visa and much more.

This article aims to be a brief guide on the eligibility criteria, application process and the benefits of a residence visa.

What are the types of residency visas available in the UAE?

The common types of UAE residency visas have been listed as follows:
  • Employment visa
  • Golden visa
  • Property Investor visa
  • Retirement visa
  • Company Investor visa
  • Family visa
  • Domestic workers visa
  • Student visa

Who can live or reside in the UAE?

Foreigners can live as residents in the UAE if they come under the following categories:
  • If they are employed by a company in the UAE: If a foreign expat is employed by a company in the UAE, the company will apply and sponsor their residence visa for the contract period.
  • If they are employed by the government sector: In this case, the government entity that has employed the expat will apply for and sponsor their visa for the contract period.
  • Investors in the UAE: Foreign expats looking to invest in a Business in the Dubai Mainland will have to apply for their own visa under the sponsorship of the company’s registered name. For more details, check out this article.
  • Property investors in the UAE: Expats looking to invest in properties worth AED 1 million and above can be eligible for 3 and 5-year visas. For more details, check out this article.
  • Dependents: Dependents—including children, parents, spouses, maids and close relatives—can be sponsored by employees or investors residing in the UAE.
  • University students: Students being sponsored by their universities can also reside in the UAE.
  • Retired residents: The UAE government also offers a Retirement Visa for individuals looking to retire in the country. For more details, check out this article.

However, it is important to note that the stamping of a residence visa is done only when the expatriate has entered the UAE through an entry permit, short or long-term tourist or a visit visa.

What are the essential requirements when applying for a residence visa in the UAE? A residence visa for foreign expat employees or investors requires applicants to be aged 18 and above. Moreover, they will have to undergo a medical test to prove that they are medically fit. They will also have to pass a security check and apply for an Emirates ID (EID) card from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

What is the validity duration for a residence visa?

The validity duration of a residency visa would depend on its type and the sponsor. It could range from 1 to up to 10 years and could be of employment or long-term residency types.

What are the benefits of having a UAE resident visa?

Some of the popular benefits of having a UAE residence visa include the following:
  • Opening a bank account
  • Accessing financial facilities
  • Applying for a driver’s licence
  • Accessing health services and medical insurance
  • Registering one’s children in government or private schools
  • Working and investing
  • Visa-free travel to certain destinations; however, you will need to check with foreign embassies in the UAE

How can I apply for a UAE residence visa?

If you are employed in the UAE, the responsibility of applying for the UAE residence visa rests with your employers. However, if you are applying for a residency visa, you can apply either online or offline for your visa.

Online channels

  • eChannels portal: The eChannels portal allows individuals and companies registered in the UAE to apply for a new visa or a renewal.
  • General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs website: You can also apply online for a visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs website or through Amer.ae. Visitors can also apply for an extension of visas within the country.
  • Mobile apps: The UAE government also offers mobile applications such as the ICA UAE eChannels and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs apps.

Offline channels

  • Typing centres You can apply for a visa through offline typing centres through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs of the respective emirate. Upon approval, you will receive a message and the original entry permit.
  • Amer centres All entry permit and visa transactions can also be carried out through its Amer centres.

What are the common documents you would require to apply for a UAE residence visa?

Some of the common documents you would require to apply for a UAE residence visa:
  • UAE visa application form
  • Original passport
  • Passport size photos in accordance with UAE photo requirements
  • Entry visa copy
  • Sponsor’s legal residency or UAE citizenship
  • Work contract and the company’s valid trade licence and firm card


Applying for a residence visa would help you avail of multiple benefits including a high-quality lifestyle. Contact us for more details!

How can Ascent Partners help?

Ascent Partners is a boutique consultancy providing bespoke, end-to-end corporate services ranging from company formation to accounting, bookkeeping, and compliance services for entrepreneurs looking to set up their next venture in the UAE. We work alongside to strategise, startup, and scale businesses in the UAE and the broader region.

With a combined experience of 50+ years, our expert consultants provide reliable and unparalleled guidance throughout all strategic phases of a business' evolution.

To know more, Get in touch with us at ask@ascentpartners or 04 422 7339 to start up and scale your business.