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Residency Visas Types in the UAE: Full Overview

Residency Visas Types in the UAE: Full Overview

In this article, we will review two main options for your staying in the UAE:
  • Short-term visits for tourism, etc.
  • Long-term stay in the country for living and business.
We have a complete guide to all personal and business visas. Firstly, let's look at the short travels in the UAE and the types of visas required.

Transit visa

48 and 96-hour entry documents. It is suitable for those who cannot apply for a visa on arrival (see below) or who do not have visa-free entry (see below).
Transit visas can be arranged in advance by the UAE-based airline only. Travel agencies can also help with the visa process, but all visas are handled by the airline anyway.
48-hour visa is free, cost of 96-hour visa is AED 50. You also will faced with a departure fee for each passenger (AED 30).
To get a transit visa, you need:
  • passport or travel document valid for at least three months
  • photo on a white background
  • ticket to a 3rd destination other than the one from which you are departing
You cannot extend your 48-hour visa to 96 hours and renew both.

Tourist visa

Many travelers can get a Tourist Visa (or "on-arrival visa") at the airport in UAE. It is relevant for many EU and CIS countries. Check with the airlines, the Ministry of Tourism website, or your country's embassy for requirements.
This short-term visa is ideal for:
  • vacation and other short trips
  • as an entry document for applying for a long-term visa in the UAE
  • for short-term project work invited by a company based in the Emirates.
Girls under 18 cannot apply for a tourist visa if they are traveling without their parents.
There are some restrictions on working with this visa type. If you want to avoid hassle and make the process of obtaining this or any other visa easy and seamless, contact us for assistance.
Required documents for this visa (hard copies):
  1. Color photo of the applicant
  2. Color copy of applicant's passport. The passport must be valid for at least six months
  3. The original application form in Arabic or English
  4. Copy of a tickets
  5. Proof of relationship for a family member: birth certificate, marriage certificate, and family book

Jobseeker visit visa (Visitor visa)

This type of visa is for exploring work opportunities without the need for a host or sponsor. Job seeker visas are available for 60, 90, or 120 days. However, they only allow you to visit the UAE once.
There are 3 main conditions for this visa:
  • You must be in either the first, second, or third skill level for the job according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE).
  • OR have graduated within the last 2 years from one of the top 500 universities in the world according to the classification approved by the Ministry of Education.
  • You must have a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
  • You must meet the required financial guarantee.
Documents for applying for this visa:
  1. Colored photo
  2. Copy of your passport
  3. Qualification certificate (attested)
The cost for the visa starts from AED 1,500.

Visit Visa to explore investment opportunities

Special visa for those seeking potential partners and investment opportunities. You don't need a sponsor or a host for this visa. Valid for 60, 90, or 120 days, but for one trip only.
Visa eligibility:
  1. you are financially solvent, talented, or highly qualified.
  2. you are a professional in the prospective business in your home country
  3. you fulfill the required financial guarantee.
The required documents and visa costs are the same as the previous one.

Tourist visa validity and how to prolong it

You can check how long you have been in the UAE and how long your visa is valid online on the website of the Federal Office for Identification, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security.
A tourist visa can be extended twice for 30 days before the expiration date of the first on-arrival visa. The fee for one extension is about AED 600.
You can prolong your visa here:
Please keep in mind that online submission resources may malfunction and result in rejection. We recommend that you carefully check the relevance of online resources and seek the help of qualified specialists (e.g. movingo 😉) to avoid rejections and missed deadlines.

Do's & Don'ts with short-term visas in the UAE

The general recommendation for tourists and ones with other short-term visas:
"If you are a tourist in the UAE, spend your money instead of trying to make some. Otherwise, you'll end up spending more money on fines"
Maria, client manager at movingo
Let us explain some popular cases.

Renting an accommodation
✅ You can rent an apartment for a short while and rent out it with a tourist visa
❌ For a long-term rental, you need to have a resident visa.

Car rent
✅ If you have a tourist visa and a valid international driver's license, you can:
  • rent a car
  • drive a car registered in your name
  • driving a first-degree relative's car
Opening a bank account
✅ Non-residents can open a savings account. The bank's decision may vary depending on the individual's nationality and the amount they're willing to deposit.
❌ Current account is for residents only

✅ Anyone can open an account with the Dubai Central Securities Depository (Dubai CSD). You can then apply for an Investor Number (NIN) to trade stocks listed on both DFM and Nasdaq Dubai.

Job interviews
In theory: You are looking for a job, and going on job interviews is allowed for persons who are in the UAE with a job seeker visa.
In reality: You can have an interview and submit a resume without an applicant visa, and there are currently no penalties for doing so. (January 2023).

According to UAE laws, work means:
  • working under an employment contract
  • providing services as a freelancer
  • run a business
Based on these laws, people who come with a tourist visa are prohibited from working. No one will deport you for having a Zoom call with your colleagues, but movingo strongly recommends that you take a break on a vacation.🌴

What happens if someone break the rules?

  • Businesses will be fined from AED 50,000 to AED 200,000 if employees are without work permits, according to Article 60 of the Federal Decree Law on the Regulation of Labor Relations.
  • The employee faces deportation and a life ban on entry to the Emirates

Residency in the UAE

Residence Differences with Residence Permits

Residency in the UAE is not the same as a residence permit:
  • Residency grants individuals the legal right to reside and work in the UAE.
  • Resident permits are physical documents that verify this status.
UAE residency permits offer more than just the right to reside. They provide access to healthcare, education, and other important services. This makes it different from residence permits in other countries.
All types of residency permits in the UAE have a specific validity period. However, they can be renewed indefinitely.
For long-term stays in the UAE, residency (Emirate ID) is the key.
Without it, you can only stay in a hotel, apart-hotel, or rent an apartment. Moreover, it will be a 40% higher cost for you, because you will pay as a "tourist".
Emirates ID will give you more advantages:
  • open a bank account
  • get a credit or a loan
  • get a long-term rental
  • get a local driver's license
  • enroll your children in schools and nursery schools
Currently, foreigners cannot acquire UAE citizenship. However, it is rumored that this may become available soon, especially for Golden Visa holders.

Pros and cons of UAE residency

Here are some reasons you may want to get UAE residency:
✅ unlimited stay in the country for the duration of the visa
✅ open a bank account, get credits, loans, and other financial operations
✅ access to healthcare, education, and other important services
✅ you are not required to be number of days a year in the county to maintain residency (but you must reside in the country for at least 90 days yearly to obtain a tax number for certain resident categories).
✅work and run the business legally
✅ 0% tax income and tax on dividends
✅ visa-free travel in Georgia, Uzbekistan and Armenia
✅ e-visa for Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait
The cons of owning a UAE residence are a few
❌ you need to spend money to renew your Emirate ID.
❌ to maintain residency, you must visit the UAE at least every six months (but you can go off on the same day)
❌ you must obtain a local driver's license within 30 days of upgrading from a tourist
❌ you do not get citizenship (just now)

How to become a resident

Resident visas

Remote work visa
This type of residency emerged in 2020 as a host for professionals who could work remotely during the COVID.
Validity: 1 year
Fee: from AED 1,300
Best for: Freelancers, Entrepreneurs
Conditions and list of documents
  • passport;
  • photo 30x44 mm
  • confirming income in a foreign company starting from $5,000 per month (they strictly check contracts and bank statements)
  • medical insurance with UAE coverage.
You cannot get a job in a UAE company and open a business with this visa.

Freelance Visa
Issued by one of the Free Zones to design, education, event, information technology or art professionals.
Validity: 2 years
Fee: from AED 14,000
Best for: Freelancers
Conditions and list of documents
  • passport
  • photo 30x44 mm
  • CV or portfolio
  • certified graduate degree (required for some specialties).
Many recruitment agencies offer "freelance visas", which are actually work visas for their companies. These visas may seem cheaper, but they have several limitations.

Talented freelancer visa
A new type of visa was introduced in October 2022. It is more difficult to obtain than a regular freelancer visa. You can apply for it on the GDRFA website (General Directorate for Residency and Foreign Affairs).
Validity: 5 years
Fee: from AED 3,500
Best for: Freelancers
Conditions and list of documents
  • passport
  • photo 30x44 mm
  • CV or portfolio
  • certified graduate degree
  • letter of approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE)
  • proof of an annual income of at least AED 360,000 for the past 2 years

Talent Entrepreneur Visa (Golden Visa)
This visa type is best for:
  • talented entrepreneur who receives confirmation from a UAE auditor that their project is valued at AED 500,000 or more
  • who receive a blessing from Mohammed bin Rashid Foundation (Dubai) or Hub71 (Abu Dhabi), or obtain a visa from a nearby state accelerator
Validity: 10 years
Fee: from AED 3,500
Conditions and list of documents:
  • "Blessings and other documents from UAE authorities
  • passport
  • photo 30x44 mm

Talent visa (Golden visa)
This type of visa is similar to the previous one, but it is designed for cultural figures, scientists, technology geniuses, doctors, and other professionals. You can apply for it on the GDRFA website (General Directorate for Residency and Foreign Affairs).
Validity: 10 years
Fee: from AED 3,500
Conditions and list of documents
  • Varies from case to case
This is the most difficult type of visa to obtain. The process can take up to six months.

Golden Visa for investors
Visa for investors with a minimum investment of AED 2,000,000 in:
  • real estate
  • accredited investment fund
  • as a bank deposit
  • paying AED 250,000 ($68,000) in taxes annually
You can apply for it on the GDRFA website (General Directorate for Residency and Foreign Affairs), or the Dubai Land Department website.
Validity: 10 years
Fee: from AED 7,000
Document requirements and terms often change.

Visa for investment in real estate
For those investing between AED 750,000 and AED 2,000,000 in real estate. You can apply on the website of the Dubai Land Department.
Validity: 2 years
Fee: from AED 10,000
Conditions and list of documents:
  • title deed (certificate of ownership)
  • copy of passport
  • photo 30x44 mm
  • health insurance with UAE coverage
  • copies of Emirates ID and visa (if you have one)
  • police authorization for the visa-issuing authority

Students visa
The document should be from the educational institution where the student is enrolled or is a student.
Validity: 1 year with annual renewal
Who can be a sponsor for this visa?
  • parents;
  • accredited university/college.
Parental sponsorship conditions:
  • Expatriates can sponsor their male children in the UAE up to the age of 25.
  • Males over 25 can only request parental sponsorship if they can prove they attended a higher education institution for at least one year.
  • You can sponsor your female children without limit until they are married.

Work visa
It is a highly desirable option for qualified professionals. best for employers working in the private sector, in the government sector or in a Free Zone.
Validity: Up to 5 years
Fee: starting from AED 3,500
Conditions and list of documents
  • passport
  • photo 30x44 mm
  • CV or portfolio
  • graduate degree certified copy
  • medical examination approved by the relevant authorities for those over 18 years of age

Procurement of entry and residency visa

Many Free Zones offer special benefits for visa owners. Opening a legal entity can be beneficial for obtaining a residence visa for company owners and employees. These persons, in turn, can become sponsors for their family members. It all depends on the location of your business.

Common set of documents for starting a business

☑️ Company registration documents
☑️ Copy of lease agreement
☑️ Memorandum or articles of association
☑️ Information on authorized capital
☑️ Photos of the founders
☑️ passport copy;
☑️ passport photo 33 x 44 mm;
☑️ portrait picture with a passport;
☑️ every shareholder’s mother’s & father’s full names;
☑️ every shareholder’s home country full address;
☑️ every shareholder’s phone number;
☑️ every shareholder’s religion (we usually mention Christian)
☑️ every shareholder’s educational qualification (profession & country of diploma issuance);
☑️ every shareholder’s marital status;
☑️ last visit arrival stamp;
☑️ 3 potential company names in the order of priority
The documents and other requirements for mainland and offshore companies may vary. It is therefore important to approach this matter carefully, as it could significantly speed up the process of business registration.
If you need a visa or other documents to stay in UAE, or just have questions, we can help. With movingo you get complete document support for you and your family's goals.
Use the link below to schedule a free intro call with our consultant and beat the odds.