Comprehensive Guide to Obtaining a Standard Work Visa in Dubai, UAE 2024

UAE Standard Work Visa Guide

Are you considering a career in one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world? Dubai is not just a global business hub; it’s a place that attracts expats from every corner of the globe, offering unparalleled opportunities. And if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to obtaining a standard work visa in Dubai, you’re in the right place!

In this blog post, we’re going to take you on an exhilarating journey through everything you need to know about applying for a standard work visa in Dubai. We’ll unveil the benefits, eligibility requirements, the visa processing, and even show you how to sponsor your family with a residence visa. Get ready to turn your Dubai dream into reality and set yourself up for an extraordinary career!

I. Overview of the UAE employment visa and its benefits 

A. What is the standard work visa in Dubai, UAE?

Work visas in Dubai, UAE are official documents issued by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government that allow foreign nationals to work legally in Dubai, UAE. These visas are essential for individuals who wish to work in Dubai and engage in employment with a company or organization based in the Emirates. 

Foreign individuals who are employed in the private sector or the government sector, or working in a free zone in Dubai, UAE, can apply for a standard employment visa, which is typically valid for two years. To obtain a residency visa for individuals working in the private sector or free zones, the employer is responsible for initiating the visa application process through the appropriate government channels, such as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai GDRFAD.

Similarly, for those employed in the government sector or free zones, the employer must comply with the specific regulations of the respective free zone authority or government agency.

Once the residency visa is approved, the employee will be legally permitted to live and work in the UAE within the specified duration. Employers and employees need to familiarize themselves with the  process and adhere to the UAE government’s regulations to obtain a standard employment visa in Dubai, UAE

B. Benefits of Standard residence visa and work visa in Dubai UAE

UAE offers several benefits to foreign individuals employed in the private sector, government sector, or free zones. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Legally working in Dubai: It enables foreign employees to work legally in Dubai, complying with the UAE’s immigration laws and regulations.
  • Employment stability: It is typically issued for two years, providing employees with stability and security in their employment.
  • Access to government services: It allows employees to avail of various government services, such as opening a bank account, obtaining a driving license, and applying for utilities like electricity and water.
  • Sponsorship of dependents: Employees may be eligible to sponsor their dependents, including spouses and children, for their residency in Dubai.
  • Education for children: With a residence work visa employees children’s can study in the UAE with access to international schools and a diverse learning environment. This can lead to a well-rounded education that prepares children for success in a globalized world.
  • Career growth opportunities: It provides foreign employees with opportunities for career growth, professional development, and exposure to a diverse working environment.
  • Access to benefits and entitlements: Employees are entitled to benefits such as health insurance, end-of-service gratuity, and other employment perks offered by their employer.
  • Compliance with UAE laws: It ensures that employees comply with the UAE’s immigration laws and regulations, avoiding any legal or financial repercussions.

II. Requirements to Obtain a UAE Work Visa and Employment Entry Visa

Dubai is an attractive destination for people looking to relocate to the UAE and work in the UAE legally.  To obtain a work visa or residency permit, applicants must meet certain requirements and provide the necessary documents. Here are some general conditions and tips to help you obtain a residency permit:

A. To apply for a UAE work permit, certain eligibility criteria must be met by employees. These include:

  • The first step to obtaining an employment visa in the UAE is to have a job offer from a company in the UAE
  • Applicants must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity.
  • All applicants must undergo a medical examination and obtain a medical fitness certificate from a UAE-approved medical centre. This certificate is required to ensure that the applicant is free from infectious diseases and is fit to work.

There is no maximum age limit for employment in the UAE, although some industries may have specific age restrictions. For workers over the age of 65, the company may be required to pay a higher fee.

Foreign workers in the UAE are classified into three categories based on their academic qualifications or skill sets:

  • Category 1 for those with at least a bachelor’s degree,
  • Category 2 for those with a post-secondary diploma in any field.
  • Category 3 for those with a high school diploma.

Any foreigner who is over the age of 18 can work in the UAE, subject to meeting the requirements set by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

The type of work the employee will be performing must be in line with the nature of the company that is hiring you.

Once all these eligibility criteria have been met, the applicant can proceed with the process for the UAE employment visa and work permit. 

B. To sponsor a UAE work permit, certain eligibility criteria must be met by the Employer. These include:

  • Valid trade license: The employer must have a valid trade license and be registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).
  • Established office: The employer must have an established office in the UAE.
  • Visa quota approval: The employer must have a visa quota approved by the MoHRE. The quota is determined based on the size and nature of the company’s business activities.
  • Job offer: The employer must provide a job offer to the employee that meets the relevant requirements and regulations set by the UAE authorities.
  • Salary requirements: The employer must ensure that the employee’s salary meets the minimum requirements set by the UAE authorities. The minimum salary requirement varies depending on the employee’s profession and industry.
  • No Violations: The company should not have any violations against its name.

C. The documents required to apply for a work visa or residency permit are

  • Passport Copy: A passport copy is a mandatory document required for a residence visa in UAE. It serves as an identification document and verifies your nationality, name, and date of birth. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into the UAE.
  • Passport-Size Photos: Passport-size photos with a white background are required for official documentation such as visa applications, Emirates ID, and other employment-related procedures.
  • Employment Contract: An employment contract is a legally binding agreement between the employer and the employee. The contract outlines the terms and conditions of the employment, including job responsibilities, salary, benefits, and working hours.
  • Education Certificates:  Employees are required to provide copies of their academic qualifications that are authorized by both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UAE Embassy in their home country. Education certificates are essential documents that verify your educational qualifications.
  • Medical Fitness Certificate: A Medical Fitness Certificate is a document issued by a government-approved medical facility stating that you are medically fit to work. The certificate may include a medical examination and screening for certain communicable diseases.
  • Company Trade License Copy: A Company Trade License Copy is a document that verifies the legitimacy of the employer’s business. This document confirms that the employer is legally registered to conduct business in the UAE.
  • Emirates ID Application: Emirates ID is a mandatory identity card for all residents in the UAE.  An Emirates ID application must be submitted along with other required documents, and it’s issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).

D. Tips for a Smooth Application Process of Obtaining a UAE residence visa and work permit

  • Ensure that all documents are valid and up-to-date.
  • Follow the visa application process carefully and submit all required documents.
  • Be patient and allow enough time for the visa application to be processed.
  • Check with the UAE embassy in your home country for any additional requirements.
  • Consider using a reputable visa processing service to assist you with the process.

III. How To Get a Work Permit Work Visa in the United Arab Emirates?

How To Get a Work Permit Work Visa in UAE

A. There are three scenarios in which ex-pats need to get a UAE work visa

The first scenario occurs when they are hired when they are staying outside the UAE. In this case, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have established centres outside the country to assist with the process.

The second scenario involves expats in the UAE who come across a job opportunity while visiting Dubai on a visit or tourist visa. In this case, they can choose to leave the UAE to obtain their Dubai work permit, with the possibility of stopping over in a neighbouring country, such as Oman, while waiting for the permit to be processed. Alternatively, airlines and buses offer a visa-run service to make the process easier. 

The third scenario occurs when ex-pats wish to switch companies while already working in Dubai. In this case, the hiring company can opt for the Change Status process, available through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA) in Dubai. This process allows expats to obtain a new work permit without having to leave the country.

B. How to apply for a work permit and get a residence visa, obtain an entry visa to work in UAE

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a UAE residence visa and work permits for the UAE

  1. Find a job in the UAE: Before you can apply for a Dubai work visa, you need to find a job in the UAE. You can either search online through job portals such as Jobs In Dubai, Bayt, or Indeed for job openings or apply directly to companies that interest you.
  2. Get a job offer: Once you find a job, you will need to get a job offer from the company. The offer should include details such as your salary, job title, and job responsibilities.
  3. Apply for an entry permit: After receiving the job offer, the company will apply for an entry permit on your behalf. They will need to provide documentation such as your passport, educational certificates, and medical reports.
  4. Enter UAE: Once you receive an employment entry visa, you can come to the UAE. This will allow you to live and work in the UAE for two months or a specified period of 60 days.
  5. Residence Visa Application: Before the expiry of 60 days, your employer must apply for a residence Visa or work permit on your behalf from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA)
  6. Medical Examination:  You will need to undergo a medical examination by a government-approved medical facility stating that you are medically fit to work, which includes a blood test and chest X-ray. Additionally, dependents may be subjected to further health screenings for other medical conditions.
  7. Visa Stamping: Once the application is approved, the GDRFA will stamp an Employment Visa on your passport
  8. Obtain an Emirates ID card: Once your residency visa is approved, you will need to obtain an Emirates ID card. Emirates ID is a government-issued identification card in the UAE.  It serves as official proof of identity for accessing government services, opening bank accounts, and applying for visas. The card contains biometric data such as fingerprints and facial scans. This data is then linked to your Emirates ID number and stored in a secure database managed by the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA).
  9. Obtain a Labour Card: The issuance of labour cards is carried out by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in the respective emirate where an individual is employed.
  10. The processing time for obtaining a labour card is approximately ten days, and its validity period is usually two years.

IV. How to sponsor a family visa with your UAE residence to live in the UAE

After obtaining a UAE work permit, and being employed in the UAE as a UAE residence visa holder you may be eligible to sponsor your family for a family visa, but certain conditions must be fulfilled beforehand.

Here’s a list of requirements for sponsoring a family visa as a UAE residents

  • A valid residency work permit/visa.
  • Meeting the minimum salary criteria (either AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 with accommodation).
  • Passing a fitness test at a government-approved health centre.
  • Submitting necessary documents, such as marriage certificates and birth certificates for children.

Paying the visa fees.
It’s important to note that specific requirements may vary as the visa depends on the type of family member being sponsored (spouse, child, parent, etc.), and additional documents may be required. It’s recommended to check with the website

Common questions and answers for getting a work visa in the UAE

Can You Renew a UAE Work Visa?

Yes, renewal applications must be submitted through the relevant authority or sponsor in the UAE. The renewal process requires the submission of various documents, including a valid passport with a residency visa, a medical fitness certificate, and a valid labour card. The renewal must be completed before the current visa expires, and failing to renew on time can result in fines and even deportation from the UAE. Employers are typically responsible for managing the renewal process for their employees in the UAE.

Do you need to get a visa or work permit for your move to the UAE?

If you are planning to move to the UAE, you may need to obtain a visa or work permit depending on your purpose of stay. Citizens of certain countries are eligible for visa-free entry for a short period while others need to apply for a visa in advance. It is important to research the specific visa requirements for your situation and begin the visa processing early to ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

What is the difference between an employment entry visa and an employment work visa?

An employment entry visa is a temporary document that will allow you to enter the UAE and stay in the UAE for up to 60 days while completing the process of obtaining a residence visa and labour card. An employment work visa, on the other hand, is a long-term document allowing the holder to work and live in the UAE for two or three years, linked to a labour card. The former is a short-term solution, while the latter is a long-term solution for individuals intending to work and reside in the UAE.

What is the difference between a Green Visa, a Golden Visa, and a standard work visa in the UAE?

Green Visa is a new category introduced in the UAE that focuses on attracting highly skilled professionals in specific industries. It offers long-term residency benefits and is intended to promote sustainable growth. On the other hand, a Golden Visa grants long-term residency to investors, entrepreneurs, and exceptional talents. In contrast, a standard work visa in the UAE is typically obtained by individuals employed by a company and allows them to work for a specific period. For comprehensive details regarding the Green Visa, please visit our blog on UAE Green Visa requirements 

How much does a UAE working visa cost?

The cost for obtaining or renewing a work permit varies between AED 250 to AED 3,450 and is determined by the classification of the company, which can be either A, B, or C.

Conclusion for a Residence visa to work in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In conclusion, having a valid work visa and residency permit not only enables you to legally work and reside in the UAE but also provides access to various benefits and services, including healthcare, education, and banking. For further information please refer to the official website of the UAE Official website

Remember, having a valid work permit visa and residency permit is crucial for a successful career in the UAE. With the right guidance and preparation, you can obtain the necessary permits and enjoy all the benefits that come with working and living in this beautiful country.

Aeliya Fatima

Aeliya Fatima

I am Aeliya Fatima co-founder of, and my mission is to connect top talent with amazing job opportunities in Dubai and beyond. With a strong background in recruitment and HR, I bring a wealth of expertise in identifying the perfect candidates for a wide range of roles. From entry-level positions to executive leadership, I have the insight to make the right matches. Let's connect on LinkedIn and unlock your career potential!


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