UAE employment visas in 2022

Foreign professionals who wish to live and work in the United Arab Emirates must apply for a residency visa and a work permit (labor card). A residency visa can be obtained after fulfilling any one of the following conditions: i) UAE business registration ii) investment in a UAE resident company iii) purchasing UAE real estate or iv) employment in a UAE company. A valid employment contract is mandatory for any of the below visa applications, except for the investor visa.

Entrepreneur visa

  • Foreign entrepreneurs may apply for long term entrepreneur visa. This visa is issued for 5 years to investors who can prove their prior investments and a minimum investment of about US$140,000 (Dh 500k);
  • Entrepreneurs can stay in the UAE for up to 6 months at a time during the 5-year period. People with the entrepreneur visa may also qualify to apply for the investor visa, if they fulfill all conditions.

Employment visa

  • A foreign worker can apply for an electronic work permit and a residence visa. Labor cards and residence permits are issued for up to 2 years by local mainland companies, and for up to 3 years by free zone companies;
  • Documents to be presented include i) an employer sponsorship letter ii) an employment contract iii) copies of the applicant’s professional/academic credentials and iv) a medical certificate;
  • Employees with approved visas can apply for residence visa for their family members if their salary is i) at least 3,000 AED per month with accommodation paid by a sponsor or ii) more than AED4,000.

Investment Visa

  • For businesspersons investing more than USD 1 million (Dh 5m) in property in the UAE, a 5-year investor-visa is applicable;
  • In case the investment is through a business in public works, the minimum requirement is USD 2.8 million (Dh 10m) for a 10-year renewable investor visa.
  • The minimum requirements need to be fulfilled in the form of assets – they cannot be in the form of loans. The visa allows a stay of six months at a time during its validity.

Specialist Talent Visa

The 10-year specialist talent visa is for people involved in the STEM fields or any creative field deemed priority by the UAE government. Multiple criteria apply for a specialist visa:

  • For STEM specialists, the applicants must have a PhD with 10 years of experience, a recognition award from their country, published research, noteworthy accomplishments in their field of research, and membership in corresponding professional associations.
  • For specialists involved in creative fields, the applicants first need an endorsement from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and a patent from the Ministry of Economy to be able to apply for the Specialist Talent visa.

Visit visa

  • The visit visa requires sponsorship from a citizen, resident or investor. Two types of visit visa are available (i)The short-term visit visas which are valid for 30 days and (ii) The long-term visas are valid for 90 days.
  • Foreign tourists of certain countries can obtain either their visa on arrival. All other nationalities must submit a visa application prior to entering the UAE;
  • Documents requested for visa approval include i) Passport copy ii) clear photograph iii) proof of residence and iv) proof of funds for high risk countries.
  • The processing time for visas is normally 3-4 working days subject to immigration approval and the application.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in UAE, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi