As per the 2023 UAE laws in effect, one can obtain Dubai (UAE) residence through employment, purchase of real estate or business visa/ freelance visa. Once you obtain UAE residence, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of living in the UAE, including being allowed to open a bank account in Dubai.
Our company formation consultants in Dubai can advise on the main ways of obtaining residency in the Emirate of Dubai or in another part of UAE. With a vast experience in various corporate matters, our specialists can also offer guidance in opening a company in Dubai.
|Temporary residence permit types
– domestic workers
Time needed to obtain the temporary residence permit (approx.)
Around 3 days
Temporary residence permit validity
1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 years, depending on the purpose of the visa
|Documents for obtaining temporary residence
– valid passport,
– entry visa,
– proof of sponsorship,
– medical test,
– health insurance,
– marriage/birth certificates
|Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register)
|Dependents can join the temporary permit holder (Yes/No)
Yes, under sponsorship
|Temporary or permanent residency for investment purposes
By starting a company or investing at least AED 10 million
|Type of investments available for residency purposes
Investment in residential property, existing company, retirement plans
|Minimum investment amount
AED 1 million for real estate purchase
|Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence
|At least 2 years
|Residency for individuals married to a citizen of UAE
|Documents for obtaining permanent residence
– valid passport,
– proof of temporary residence permit, entry visa, sponsorship
– Arabic proficiency,
– clear criminal record,
– legal source of income
|Citizenship after permanent residence
After living for 10 years in UAE
|Assistance for obtaining Dubai residency
Table of Contents
Who can apply for a residence permit in UAE in 2024?
There are several conditions under which a foreigner can apply for a residence permit in the UAE. These conditions also depend on the applicant’s nationality. The following requirements must be met when applying for a Dubai residence permit:
- citizens of other nationalities than those from Gulf Cooperation Council countries are required to apply for a residence permit when moving to Dubai;
- in case of a residence visa obtained through employment, it will be the employer’s mission to apply for the visa on behalf of the foreign citizen;
- the residence visa is necessary for various actions, such as setting up a bank account in Dubai or buying various goods, including automobiles;
- the validity of the passport when applying for the Dubai residence visa must be at least six months.
Our Dubai company formation consultants can offer detailed information on all the benefits a foreign citizen can obtain once he or she has obtained a residence permit for the UAE. Please contact us for information about residency in UAE.
Relocation to Dubai can also be done based on the remote work visa. This kind of visa is suitable for foreigners who are based outside UAE. This kind of visa is available for one year and can be obtained by entrepreneurs interested in start-ups.
It is essential to note that the Entry Permit for the UAE has a validity of no more than 3 months and is issued for specific purposes, for instance, tourism. As such, foreigners should apply for a tourist visa for UAE, and if the stay is prolonged, a residence permit must be obtained.
New requirements for obtaining a residence visa for Dubai
The UAE government has changed a few of the requirements related to obtaining Dubai residency. Under the new conditions, foreign citizens applying for a residence permit in Dubai based on a work contract must also submit a certificate of good conduct which must be obtained from their countries of residence. In the case of those who change jobs, this certificate is not required.
A new requirement for foreign citizens applying for residence permits in Dubai is having a valid email address. They will be sent an email by the local authorities in which they will be notified about their visas.
Immigration to Dubai and obtaining residency in this city can be a relatively simple process if you use the services offered by our local specialists. Our team is ready to answer all your questions related to the visa and residence permit and to help you with the formalities involved. Are you thinking of making investments in Dubai to receive residency? You might be interested in the Dubai residence by investment program.
A residence visa is available for investors interested in opening a business in Dubai and in dedicated free zones. A business investment worth around AED 500,000 can represent the starting point for obtaining a residence permit in Dubai. More than that, such a permit can be valid for five years if investments are made in an innovative field in this city.
Relocating to a free zone in Dubai
It should be noted that not all residency regulations apply in the case of foreign citizens moving to a Dubai free zone. The free zone authorities are in charge of the issuance of residence permits in Dubai which are easier and faster to obtain here.
In the case of residence permits obtained through employment, the free zone authorities will issue the visas as soon as the employee submits all the documents required to start working. In the case of company incorporation in a Dubai free zone, the residence permit is part of the registration procedure. In case you need assistance with opening a company in another jurisdiction, for example in Singapore, we recommend our partners – OpenCompanySingapore.com.
Obtaining residency through employment in Dubai
The most common reasons foreign citizens apply for residency are when starting to work for a company in Dubai or when joining other family members who work and live in the city. Apart from the employer’s sponsorship, a foreign citizen may also obtain residency, if a UAE national will sponsor him or her when moving to Dubai.
In the first instance, a foreign citizen will be issued an entry permit that will allow him or her to move to Dubai before the residency permit is issued. If the employer applies for a foreign citizen’s entry visa, the Dubai company must also apply for permission to hire a foreigner and must submit its business license. The entry permit has a limited validity of only two months, which is why residency must be obtained within this time frame.
Expatriates sponsoring family members for obtaining a Dubai residence visa must have a monthly income of at least 3,000 AED, if the accommodation is provided by the employer, or at least 4,000 AED per month, if the sponsor has his or her own property.
A 30-day grace period is offered by immigration authorities in the UAE to foreigners with an expired visa. As such, foreign citizens can stay in this country for no more than 30 days, meaning they should apply for a visa renewal or a residence permit.
Rules to obtain a work permit in Dubai
The residence and work permit are issued once a local sponsor is provided and offers to a foreigner the full right to stay in the Emirates for an unlimited period of time. A work permit in Dubai comes with a new identification card that can be used instead of the ones issued in the home country.
Furthermore, a person who wants to work in Dubai and applies for a legal permit in this matter must prepare:
- copies of the passport, birth, and marriage certificate,
- proof of financial statements,
- the employment contract,
- a lease agreement to provide information about the address in Dubai.
According to a new immigration rule in the UAE, widows and divorced women of UAE residents can stay in the country without a sponsor for no more than a year. The same rule is also available for the children of a deceased person.
The video below shows the main ways to obtain residency in Dubai, with the mention that our local specialists can also guide you if you are interested in residency in UAE:
Residence permit through real estate
Another way of obtaining a residence visa for Dubai is by purchasing real estate. Even if this option is available for individuals with a high income, it is very common for foreign enterprisers to acquire Dubai residency by investing in real estate.
The conditions for obtaining a residence visa this way are that the property to be completed upon the purchase and its value must be at least 1 million AED (approximately 275,000 USD). A residence visa obtained by purchasing a property in Dubai has a two-year validity period and does not grant the right to work in the Emirate. However, its main advantage is that the owners are not required to register a company in Dubai.
Obtaining residency through company registration in Dubai
Perhaps the most popular way of obtaining Dubai residency is by registering a company in the Emirate or in one of its free zones. If opening an onshore company implies sponsorship from the local partner, the registration of a company in a Dubai free zone provides for full foreign ownership of the company. This type of residency visa allows a foreign citizen to be a shareholder in a local company and also to hire employees in Dubai.
The validity of a residence visa obtained through company incorporation in Dubai is three years and can be renewed. Our Dubai company formation representatives can assist with the documents related to opening companies in the Emirate or any of its free zones. We can also help you obtain residency in UAE.
A residence visa for 10 years in Dubai is another option for foreign entrepreneurs. Such a permit can be obtained if those interested make investments of at least AED 2 million in a new company or an existing one. Joining a startup incubator is also an option, however, one must receive acceptance from the UAE Ministry of Economy.
Obtaining Dubai residence for family members
Most foreign citizens relocating to Dubai are also interested in applying for visas for other family members. They should know that they can obtain a residence visa for close family members, such as spouses and children, and even parents.
The applicant must also meet certain criteria in order to be allowed to bring family members to Dubai. Among these, his or her salary must be at least 4,000 AED, but additional funds will be required for accommodation purposes.
In the case of those seeking to bring their parents, the employer can sponsor the employee, however, the minimum monthly salary requirement is 10,000 AED.
In order to bring one’s family, the residence permit in Dubai holder must first apply for an entry residence visa on their behalf – this procedure must begin 30 days before their arrival.
When it comes to the documents required to obtain residence permits in Dubai for family members in 2024, the applicant’s marriage certificate and salary pay slip must be submitted together with information about the family member’s identification papers.
The conditions for obtaining Dubai residency are no longer that stringent, which is why the number of foreigners relocating to the UAE has increased. The government also encourages foreign citizens to move here for work or business purposes through various incentives. Here is an infographic on this subject:
Documents required when applying for residency in Dubai
Together with the relevant application form, a foreigner applying for residency in Dubai must also submit copies of a valid passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and marriage certificate if applicable. The applicant must also submit copies after all his/her qualifications. It is also possible for the authorities to request details on previous work experience and references from former employers.
The applicant will also undergo a medical exam prior to his or her employment. A medical examination will be necessary every time the residence permit in Dubai is renewed.
How much does it cost to obtain a Dubai residency?
The procedure of obtaining a residence visa for Dubai is subject to certain fees, depending on the type of permit to be obtained. These costs can imply:
- the service fees which refer to the visa processing fee,
- the knowledge and innovation fee;
- the fee related to obtaining the medical certificate after the medical evaluation;
- the fee for obtaining an e-residence permit or for changing the expiring visa;
- the bank fees and that related to having the Ministry of Labor approval for the work visa.
In the case of those applying for a residence permit based on employment, the Dubai company hiring them must also deposit a guarantee which will transform them into sponsors. This is why, most of the time, all the costs associated with obtaining a Dubai residency cannot be calculated exactly.
The processing time for residency visas has decreased during the last years and, for quick and simple application procedures, you may request the services of our agents in Dubai.
The validity of work and residence permits in Dubai
One of the most important criteria to be considered when deciding to apply for a work or residence permit in Dubai is the validity period of the visa.
For example, the purchase of real estate property comes with a residence permit which has a two years validity period. The work visas are usually granted for a period of two years and can be renewed.
The residence permit obtained through opening a company is the easiest way and the validity of the visa depends on the investment made. However, it can be renewed. The procedure for obtaining a residence visa when opening a free zone company in Dubai is the fastest and is part of the registration procedure of the business.
Our company registration agents have extensive knowledge of how to obtain a residence visa for Dubai and can also help foreign investors who want to set up businesses here.