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Want to know about Visa & Work Permits in UAE? Read More.

By Shivangi - 26 Jul 2021 Last Updated: 12 Sep 2022
Want to know about Visa & Work Permits in UAE? Read More.

Table of Contents 

  1. 1. Work Permits and Visas Based on Employment
  2. 2. What are the requirements for obtaining a work visa in the United Arab Emirates?
  3. 3. Consider the following things in Mind
  4. 4. How much does a work visa in the UAE cost?
  5. 5. Business Visa
  6. 6. Mission Visa
  7. 7. Specialized Talented Individuals
  8. 8. Family Visas
  9. 9. What are the requirements for obtaining a work visa for a new job?
  10. 10. Is there a maximum age at which expats can obtain a work permit?
  11. 11. Obtaining a work permit
  12. 12. Offshore Work Visas
  13. 13. Conclusion

For expats, visa procedures in the UAE are significantly less stringent than in neighbouring Middle Eastern nations. The UAE tries to make the visa application and process as simple as possible as a popular expat destination. Most expats require an entry permission, often known as a pink card, before applying for a UAE visa. This can be funded through a variety of sources, including job, a hotel, or a resident family member. Expats can apply for a residence Visa and a work permit after they arrive in the UAE.

Most expats find work in the UAE before they arrive. This is the quickest and most convenient method of obtaining a resident visa and work permit. In general, UAE corporations will take care of all expat visa procedures, including financing visa payments. Most of the time, these businesses will also sponsor the visas of an employee's immediate family.

Work Permits and Visas Based on Employment

In the UAE, obtaining a work permit or job visa is rather simple. The vast majority of expats arrive in the UAE with a job lined up. Most UAE companies manage all residence visa and work permit requirements, including covering visa expenses, which simplifies the visa process.

The duration of work permits and employment visas can range from one to ten years. The Gold Card, the UAE's first ever permanent residence scheme, was launched in May 2019. This visa is intended for "extraordinary experts." Read more about it in our section on Residency Permits.

What are the requirements for obtaining a work visa in the United Arab Emirates?

You must first get an entry visa, an Emirate ID card, and a resident visa before applying for a UAE work permit. In your residence visa, your work permit, also known as a labour card, will be listed. Please check our Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent section below for further information on obtaining a residency visa.

Proof of a work contract or employment offer from a company in the UAE is the most crucial work visa criterion. All other requirements for a work permit are also required for a residence visa:

  • Application form
  • Emirates ID card
  • Several passport-photos
  • Original passport plus photocopy
  • Copy of valid company card
  • Valid commercial license of the company
  • Medical check and health certificate
  • Entry permit issued by the Ministry of Labour

In the emirate state where you work, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) issue labour cards. Your labour card will arrive in around 10 days. It usually lasts for two years.

All forms and documents submitted must be written in Arabic. It is also recommended that the employment contract be drafted in Arabic. Three copies will be required: one for you, one for your company, and one for the Department of Labour.

Consider the following things in Mind

Working in the UAE while on a tourist visa is prohibited. If you find work while on a tourist visa in the UAE, you must change your visa status before starting work.

When it comes to labour contracts, there are no age restrictions, but work permits for individuals 65 and older will cost an extra 5,000 AED (1,360 USD) every two years.

Indian nationals are encouraged to review the details of their visas.

How much does a work visa in the UAE cost?

The cost of a UAE work visa varies depending on your company's categorization and whether you are a skilled or unskilled employee.

Skill Level

Individuals with a bachelor's degree or higher certification are classified as Level 1. Here are a few examples of qualified professionals:

  • Teacher
  • Safety Officer
  • Reservation Officer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Public Relations Officer
  • Pharmacist
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Manager
  • Executive Secretary
  • Engineer
  • Doctor
  • Computer Operator
  • Advertising Designer
  • Administration Officer
  • Acconts Clerk
  • Accountant

Level 2: Individuals who have finished a diploma in any discipline fall into this level. People who work in mechanical and technical jobs usually fall into this category.

Level 3: If you have a high school diploma or a higher secondary diploma.

  • Tourist Guide
  • Ticketing Clerk
  • Store Keeper
  • Site Supervisor
  • Sales Supervisor
  • Sales Representative
  • Sales Executive
  • Receptionist
  • Customs Clearing Clerk
  • Correspondence Clerk
  • Cashier
  • Cash Desk Clerk
  • Administration Clerk

This is merely a summary of the costs of obtaining a work visa. If your employer does not cover your visa fees, make sure to account for other charges such as medical testing, translation services, and legal fees.

Business Visa

As part of its modern business culture, the UAE provides business visas to qualified individuals who will contribute to the country's economic growth and success. Please visit the Self-Employment section below for specific questions about self-employment visas.

Mission Visa

This is a business visa that is valid for 90 days. It must be sponsored by a UAE-based enterprise. It enables foreigners to work in the country for a limited length of time. Some expats use this visa to get a feel for the UAE before committing to a permanent move.

Specialized Talented Individuals

Specialized talents and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge are eligible for this visa. This includes doctors, experts, scientists, innovators, and creative people in the arts and culture fields. The spouse and children are also eligible for the visa benefit. All categories must have a valid job contract in a priority specialised field in the UAE.

The following conditions must be met in order for this visa to be granted:

  1. The Emirates Scientists Council must accredit scientists, or they must be holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
  2. The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development must accredit cultural and artistic individuals.
  3. Inventors must secure a valuable patent, which benefits the UAE economy. The Ministry of Economy must approve patents.
  4. Patents or scientific studies published in a peer-reviewed publication are required to prove exceptional abilities.
  5. Executives must be the proprietors of a well-known, globally recognised company or have a high level of academic accomplishment and rank.
  6. At least two of the following requirements must be met by doctors and specialists:
  • A doctorate from one of the world's top 500 universities.
  • An award or certificates of recognition in the applicant's field of work.
  • Contribution to a significant piece of scientific research in the field of work.
  • Published articles or scholarly books in prestigious journals in their field of expertise.
  • Participation in a field-related organisation.
  • A Ph.D. is required, as well as ten years of professional experience in their specialty.
  • Specialization in areas where the UAE places a high priority.

This visa has a ten-year validity period.

Family Visas

It is not necessary for expats to acquire a work permit in order to sponsor family members. To sponsor family members in the UAE, expats just require a resident visa. Without a resident visa, obtaining a work permit is impossible.

Read More: UAE Green Visa

What are the requirements for obtaining a work visa for a new job?

Work permits are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE). The employer must apply for a work visa through MoHRE.

An employee whose employment was terminated due to the expiration of his contract, whether limited or non-limited, can obtain a new work permit under Article 1 of Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015.

For all limited and non-limited contracts, an employee can also obtain a new work visa if:

  • The employer has been found to have breached legal and contractual responsibilities, including but not limited to failing to pay salaries for more than 60 days.
  • If the worker reports to the ministry during this time, the MoHRE verifies that the employer has not given labour due to the firm being inactive for more than two months.
  • When the issue involves early termination or overdue earnings that are less than two months of dues for end of employment, the ultimate ruling in a labour case (which MoHRE sent to the Labour Court on the basis of a complaint) is in favour of the employee.

If the employee is currently residing in the UAE, he must retain a status that allows him to transfer his residency to a new sponsor.

New permits for unskilled workers

When both the worker and the employer agree to terminate the contract during the term, provided that the worker has worked for at least six months, a new permit can be issued.

A worker whose company terminated him unfairly can get a new permit without having to wait six months, according to the ministerial directive.

New permits for skilled workers

Workers who qualify for the skill set series 1, 2, or 3 as designated by the ministerial decree, which signifies holding a university degree, post-secondary diploma, or high school diploma correspondingly, are exempt from the six-month employment requirement. This is true if the employee keeps his contractual obligations.

Read More:Types of Visas Available in UAE

Is there a maximum age at which expats can obtain a work permit?

The UAE's Labour Law No. 8 of 1980, as modified, does not establish a certain age at which employment contracts can be terminated on the grounds of seniority or age. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) charges AED 5,000 every two years for issuing an initial permission for a work permit for persons aged 65 and up.

Obtaining a work permit

The MoHRE and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the emirate where a person is employed collaborate to get a work visa.

The process begins with obtaining a work permit from MoHRE for an expatriate. The work permit permits the holder to work in the UAE for a period of two months from the date of issuing.

Following the employee's entry into the UAE on the basis of a work permit, the sponsoring firm organizes for medical tests, the acquisition of a UAE Resident Identity (Emirates ID) Card, a Labour Card, and the stamping of the work residency permit on his passport within a 60-day period. The employee's work residency permit on his passport indicates that he is sponsored by the company where he works.

Offshore Work Visas

MoHRE and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have set up centers outside the UAE to speed up the work visa procedure. Employees would be able to learn about their rights, responsibilities, and terms and conditions of employment, as well as the advantages they are entitled to, in a language they understand at the centers. This approach ensures that companies and employees have a transparent contractual relationship and prohibits any fraudulent attempts to alter employment offers after the employee arrives in the UAE.


The United Arab Emirates, usually known as the UAE or the Emirates, is a popular expat destination due to its relatively easy visa requirements when compared to the surrounding Middle Eastern countries. As a result, the country is an attractive choice for businesses looking to develop worldwide. However, just like any other country, there are certain immigration, resident visa, and work permit regulations that must be followed.

Dhanguard can assist you if you're looking to expand your business into the UAE. By securing the proper work permits and visas for everyone on your staff, we'll ensure that your company is compliant from the start. To learn more about our comprehensive solution, contact us today.

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