UAE visas: how to get a visa in Dubai and other emirates

Obtaining a residency visa in Dubai for Russians - application process, how to submit documents, and reasons for rejection.

02.02.2023
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UAE visas

Obtaining a residency visa in the UAE

Foreign citizens, except for GCC country representatives, need to obtain a residency visa to live in the UAE. Depending on the place of issuance and the reason for the document, its validity period can range from 2 to 10 years, after which the visa can be renewed for a similar period.

Metropolitan Premium Properties is ready to provide you with full support in the process of obtaining a residency visa in the UAE. The offer is available for both employees of local companies and property owners in the United Arab Emirates. We will help you prepare the necessary documents and accompany you at all stages of the visa application process.

Grounds for obtaining a residency visa and its advantages

Obtaining a residency status in the UAE will grant you access to all the social infrastructure Dubai has to offer. The grounds for obtaining a residency visa can be employment, opening a company in the country, or investing in the emirate's real estate.

  1. The validity period of an employment visa is 2 years and the employer should cover all the expenses for obtaining the document.
  2. When registering a company, the applicant also has the right to obtain a two-year visa.
  3. Real estate investors, depending on the value of the property, can obtain a visa with a validity period of 1 to 10 years.
  4. Foreign citizens aged 55 and over can apply for a 5-year retirement visa. To do this, it is necessary to invest in Dubai real estate to the amount of at least AED 1,000,000 (USD 272,000) or open an investment deposit in a local bank for the equivalent amount.
  5. A 10-year visa for outstanding talents. This category includes scientists, doctors, researchers, artists, investors, etc. Applicants must undergo accreditation in their field of activity in order to obtain this type of visa.

Besides the right to reside permanently in the UAE, holders of a residency visa can:

  • open accounts in local banks, use consumer loans and mortgages
  • establish their own business in the Emirates
  • become a tax resident of the UAE
  • use the services of local clinics and obtain medical insurance
  • become an employee of a local company
  • rent real estate for either short or long-term periods

Residence visa

A residence visa is an open category document, in which the document is provided in the form of a sticker on the corresponding page of the passport. Along with the visa, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship provides expats with an Emirates ID, which is an identity card that is valid throughout the UAE. Inside the country, as well as when crossing the borders of the UAE through the electronic gates, it can be used instead of a passport. The validity period of the residence visa depends directly on its category. This permission applies to all family members of the applicant, including the wife/husband, children (boys under 18 years old and girls until they get married), as well as parents, with the possibility of unlimited renewals. The visa for family members can only be processed after the primary applicant has been granted a residence status.

Keep in mind that family members of the primary applicant will need to provide documents confirming their relationship with the applicant. This can be a marriage certificate or birth certificates of children, translated into Arabic and certified by your country's consulate.

Obtaining a residency visa in the UAE is a lengthy and complex process, especially for citizens who are facing this procedure for the first time. The team at Metropolitan Premium Properties will help you go through this as quickly and easily as possible. Our representatives will provide comprehensive support and guarantee full assistance throughout the entire document processing period - from obtaining the necessary grounds for visa issuance (company registration or real estate investment) to receiving the passport sticker.

We will help you go through the entire process in the minimal amount of time, prepare and submit the required documents on your behalf, organize optimal conditions for a medical examination, and ultimately personally hand over your passport with your Emirates ID.

Brief instructions for applying for a visa and applicant requirements

Please note that for different visa categories, the list of required documents may vary. You will need:

  • Entry permit issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. This is required when the applicant is outside the UAE at the time of application.
  • Scanned copy of passport and original visa.
  • Studio quality passport photo on a white background (provided in electronic format).
  • Copies of passports and birth certificates of children for applicants moving to the Emirates with their families. All documents must be translated into Arabic and legalized at the consulate.
  • Foreigners moving to the Emirates for employment must provide a diploma (and other documents confirming their level of professional qualification). The diploma should also be translated into Arabic and legalized at the consulate.

After the visa approval and issuance, the resident applicant must undergo a medical examination at one of the authorized clinics in the UAE. The medical exam includes tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, X-ray, blood analysis, and biometric identification for your Emirates ID.

Important! When applying for a visa, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of departure.

When it is necessary to cancel a visa

If a foreign citizen with a resident status in the UAE intends to permanently leave the country, they must cancel their visa. Before initiating the cancellation procedure, it is necessary to take care of other formalities, including closing all accounts in any of the local banks, terminating your lease agreement and ensuring the absence of debts for utilities, etc.

If you are in the country on a work visa, you cannot cancel it yourself. Only a company or an individual acting as your sponsor can submit the appropriate request. However, holders of an investor visa can cancel them themselves. To do this, you can use one of the following options:

  • Submit an application with the appropriate package of documents to the visa centre (in-person or online).
  • Contact a qualified intermediary. Our company offers full legal support for opening, obtaining, and closing a resident visa.

Note! If a UAE resident stays outside the Emirates for more than 180 days, their visa becomes invalid. To return to the country, it will be necessary to first cancel the old permit, and only then submit a new application for entry. For example, if you arrived in the country on a work visa and left the UAE without an official termination, your employer has the right to file a report that you have obsconed. Such circumstances can lead to legal difficulties when applying for residency status in the Emirates again.

Important! In case an expat decides to leave the UAE without properly closing their visa, they risk being banned from entering the Emirates for a certain period of time or being denied the issuance of a new residency visa when they return. To avoid potential difficulties in the future, it is necessary to ensure timely cancellation of the visa and keep the documents confirming its cancellation (a certificate or stamp in the passport).

Changes in residence status

Holders of UAE work visas have the right to:

  • Transfer from one Emirati company's work visa to another. In most cases, these issues are handled by a PRO or the HR department of the relevant company, not by hired workers.
  • Switch to a family visa provided that the sponsor is a direct relative (spouse, or a child/adult with a permanent high income) who has UAE residency status.
  • Replace a work visa with an investor visa.
  • Reapply for a visa from an expired passport to an active one with corresponding changes made to the immigration file.

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Reasons for visa refusal

The most common reasons for refusal can be the following circumstances:

  1. The situation where a foreign citizen was a resident of the United Arab Emirates and left the country before the established period, without canceling the visa.
  2. Violations by the applicant: criminal offenses, involvement in fraudulent operations, and illegal actions.
  3. Detection of dangerous diseases (HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, etc.)
  4. The situation where the expat was approved for a tourist or work visa, but did not enter the territory of the UAE. To obtain a new approval, the tourist company or sponsor must contact the immigration service and close the previous visa.
  5. Errors in the spelling of the name, passport number, or profession code in the visa application. This category also includes the provision of unclear passport copies.

How can we help?

Providing quality visa services in the UAE requires knowledge and experience that will help streamline the process of registering an entry permit into the country. Our company representatives not only possess the necessary knowledge in this field, but also have extensive experience in solving visa issues, which will significantly facilitate and accelerate the process of obtaining residency status in the United Arab Emirates for our clients.

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Marina Mikhalenko

Senior Property Consultant – Metropolitan Premium Properties

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