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Updated 4 months ago

If you want to live and work in Dubai, this is what you need to know about the formalities for a work visa.

Modern, vibrant, and cosmopolitan, Dubai attracts millions of visitors annually as well as expatriates. With its dizzying skyscrapers and ultramodern architecture, it is easy to see why many choose to settle and work in Dubai.

Before you travel to the United Arab Emirates, you might want to check out the articles travelling to Dubai or temporary visas for the UAE.

Securing employment

It is mandatory to have a work visa for Dubai if you wish to live and work in this city. Before obtaining the work visa, you will need to have a work contract or valid job offer for Dubai. In general, it is your employer’s responsibility to sponsor your visa application as well as the relevant fees.

If you’re outside of the United Arab Emirates, note that there are Visa Service centres in various parts of the world. These have been set up by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The aim is to expedite the process of work visas and to ensure there is complete transparency between employees and employers. At the Visa Service Centre in your country, you will have access to all the information pertaining to your job in your own language.

Work permit

Work permits are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) of the United Arab Emirates. For any new employment, your employer will need to apply for your work permit. This work permit will allow an expatriate to enter the UAE for employment. This permit is valid for two months after the date of issue.

Once you’re in the country, the employer sponsoring you should then proceed to complete other formalities such as medical testing, obtaining an Emirates ID card, a Labour Card, and the work residency permit stamped on your passport within 60 days.The work residency permit is issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) from the emirate where you will be employed.

If you have family members joining you, you will be eligible to sponsor them and bring them into the UAE once this process has been completed.

If you are already in Dubai on a tourist visa, you will need to request a change in the status of your visa. You can find more information about this from the useful links below.

 Good to know:

To be eligible to work in Dubai, you must be sponsored by an employer.

It is illegal to work on a tourist or visit visa.

Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date of entry in the UAE if you are to apply for a work permit.

 Useful links:

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai
The Official Portal of the United Arab Emirates Government
UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Visas
UAE Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.