How to Get UAE Residence Visa - Process, Steps & Time frame

Now that you know that to stay in the UAE legally, you would require a resident visa, it is high time to discuss the steps you would need to take to apply for resident visa and get it stamped in your passport. Let’s have a look, as to how you can apply for resident visa without any external assistance just by following instructions, we will be sharing with you in this chapter.



Once you decide to proceed with your resident visa, you will first need to start with application step. At this stage, you are providing relevant authority (be it a free zone or Tasheel) with your personal information and details, such as passport copy, passport picture, information on your religion, marital status, mother’s name, as well as your contact details (email and a phone number). At the time of application, you will also need to mention, if you are currently (at the time of application) inside or outside of the UAE. This is important for several reasons:


First: most of the time fees for inside and outside of the country applications differ. Outside of the country application charges are usually lower as compared to inside the country, so if you stay in the UAE, be ready to pay more. Also, if you by mistake state your location as outside of the UAE, while you are inside of the country, it will take you a lot of time and efforts to introduce necessary changes. So be aware of this!


Second: if you are applying, while staying in the UAE, before you proceed with medical and biometrics capturing, you will need to change the status inside the country. Sounds confusing? Let’s clarify. Say you came to the UAE as a tourist and decided to stay, live and do business in the UAE, so you formed a company and then applied for your resident visa. So before you have your resident visa stamped, you will need to change your status from a tourist to a resident visa. We will look into further details of visa status change process later in this chapter. Now I suggest that we take everything step by step and we go back to our application process.


On the same day, when you provide personal details for application to the relevant authority, you would also need to pay government fees, associated with resident visa. There is no fixed fee in the UAE, each registration authority determines it independently and while, for example, some free zones charge AED 2,500 per visa, others may do so at a fee of AED 4,950 and above. As such, if your budget is limited and you aim to minimize costs, visa fee charges would be something to enquire about before you start establishing a company. You shall also be aware that the fees you pay for resident visa are not refundable, so if you used the visa for 3 months only instead of three (3) years and now you need to leave back home and you cancel your visa, you will not receive any refund in connection with your premature cancellation. So, please, bear this in mind too.


Now that the information and personal documents are provided and fees associated with visa are paid, your application, or file, how it is often called in the UAE, is submitted by registration authority (in case of free zones) or by Tasheel to immigration authority for processing.


What happens next in the Immigration? Your file then goes to CID, a Criminal Investigation Department, which reviews your background, conducting a background check, to ensure that you do not pose any threat. Once your background is checked, your application is being processed, a special document, called Entry Permit, is issued. This takes anywhere between 3 to 20 days, all depending on how long it may take to conduct your background check.


Now you received your Entry Permit. Entry Permit is a document allowing you to enter the country for the purpose of finalizing your resident visa process. Previously Entry Permit was always issued in hard copy and was of pink color, that is why many UAE residents even today refer to it even as a “pink paper”. Later in Dubai and some other emirates, immigration authority started issuing electronic Entry Permits. So you just need to print it and provide at the passport control upon arrival. If immigration authority issued you a pink hard copy Entry Permit and you are outside of the country, you would need someone to deliver the document to the airport of your arrival, as you will need to present the document in original at a manned passport control section. Please also bear in mind that as soon as the Entry Permit is issued you have 60 days to enter the United Arab Emirates and complete the process of resident visa stamping.


However, as we already mentioned, it may happen that you have applied for and received entry permit, being on a tourist or, let’s say, on a visit visa, being inside the country. Then the next step for you would be to change your status. To change visa status, you would be requested to submit your original passport and original entry permit to registration authority (in case of free zones) or to Tasheel (for local companies). Then documents are submitted further on to Immigration and in 2-3 days you receive them back with a stamp on the Entry Permit. From this moment you can plan and proceed with medical test, Emirates ID and insurance (if latter is required). Let’s again go step by step.


As soon as you receive your passport back with stamped Entry Permit, you proceed to a typing center. There are many authorized typing centers located all across the country and most of them you can find in the same buildings with Medical Fitness Centers and Emirates ID Centers. So our recommendation is, go online and check the web-site of Dubai Health Authority or web-sites of respective health authorities in other emirates for location of medical fitness centers and be sure to find there a typing office. The role of the typing office is to prepare your Medical Fitness Test and Emirates ID applications, that you simply take and proceed with medical test and biometrics capturing. There at the typing center you pay government fees in full (your fitness test and Emirates ID issuance) and a small charge for the typing itself. You will be not paying anything in the Medical Fitness Centre or at the Emirates ID office. While we have dedicated separate topics to Emirates ID and medical test, let’s briefly see what happens, after your forms are typed. Next you go to a Medical Fitness Center, where you do a blood test and X-Ray chest screening. Right after that you visit Emirates ID, which is also most of the time located in the same building. There you submit your finger prints. And once all of this is done and you receive your medical results, you are ready to submit all your documents for final visa stamping. As we stated previously, it may happen that you may be requested to submit your medical insurance along with your medical test results and Emirates ID application. This would be the case, if your company is registered in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. However, if your company is based in the northern emirates, there is nothing to worry about as these emirates did not introduce mandatory health insurance yet. More about health insurance you will learn in our following chapters.

And now that you have all documents in place, you again submit them along with your original passport to registration authority (in case of free zones) or to Tasheel (in case of a local company) for processing. Final processing takes between 2 to 10 days, and once the process is completed, you receive your original passport back with stamped visa.


The process looks simple; don’t you agree? You may only wonder, how come one can stay outside of the country, when applying for resident visa? We say, yes, it is possible, especially in case with free zone companies. Many of them accept applications and your personal documents as scanned copies. So, if you want to decrease expenses or you travel and you cannot stay in the UAE for 10 to 15 days waiting for your Entry Permit, then change status and so on, feel free to initiate the process, when you have left the country.


In this chapter, we provided general instructions, as to how resident visa application process looks like and which steps you would need to take to get your visa stamped. In the next videos, we will go into further details with medical test, medical insurance and much more. It is important for us to touch upon all of the aspects, to allow you to successfully complete your resident visa stamping mission.  


    If you want to know more about Dubai freezone company formation, feel free to get in touch with our professional consultant team and we would be delighted to assist you and help you to compare Dubai freezone company setup costs and help you to find that free zone, which would suit your business needs the most.


 Disclaimer: Business Boutique is not affiliated with any particular government or legal entity. Business Boutique does not give professional legal advice nor any other professional advice subject to a public office in the government. This article merely sets out a simple and basic idea as to the reasons of Dubai freezone company setup and Dubai free zone company formation cost. Business Boutique in no way holds nor imposes any official governmental or legal authority and the article herein is only to be taken as a guide. All further governmental or legal issues should be addressed to the corresponding authorities.

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