For any foreign citizen to obtain UAE resident visa there are in general two options: to set up a company in the UAE (this makes company's owner eligible for investor visa) or to apply for a job in a company registered in Dubai or other UAE emirate. In latter case future employer will sponsor you and will bear the costs of your visa application.
UAE resident visas are issued by Immigration Authorities of relevant emirates for a period from 2 to 3 years, depending on the emirate and the free zone, where you apply for your visa.
In some cases applications for UAE resident visa may be rejected. Any application for UAE resident visa is subject to screening by government authority, Criminal Investigation Department. In case your application is rejected, there is a chance that your application did not pass background check. Additional reason for rejection may be results of your medical fitness test, shall the test reveal that you may pose a potential threat due to some infectious deceases. Rejected applicants are denied access to the country.
Because of the fact that UAE resident visas are issued for a limited period of time, which is either 2 or 3 years, prior to expiry of visa validity, resident visa needs to be renewed. Resident visa fee varies from emirate to emirate but on average the governmental fee may be between AED 2,500 and AED 4,950.
The process of application for UAE resident visa is almost the same in every emirate.
To get your resident visa, you need to follow next steps:
Apply and receive a document allowing your entry to the UAE. The document is called Entry Permit and you need to apply for it prior to your arrival in the country.
Enter the country using Entry Permit. Pass control at the airport and receive entry stamp on your Entry Permit document.
Attendance of Medical Fitness Center to obtain relevant fitness certificate confirming that you are free from infectious diseases. Medical Fitness Test will include X-Ray test and a blood test only. Medical Fitness Test step takes 2 to 7 days. Upon test completion examined person receives medical test results.
Along with Medical Fitness Center applicant visits Emirates Identity Authority to apply for UAE identity card called Emirates ID. Such identity card contains applicant's biometrics and personal information.
Emirates ID is issued 2 to 3 weeks after resident visa is stamped in applicant's passport. However, for the purpose of resident visa stamping, Emirates ID application form is sufficient.
Once Medical Test results and Emirates ID application form are available, applicant can submit all required documents, including the stamped Entry Permit, passport pictures, employment contract (if applicable), to the relevant authority for visa stamping.
To ensure that your UAE resident status remains valid, you need to make sure that following terms and conditions are met:
your UAE resident visa is valid and it is not expired;
in case you are an investor and you spend most of your time outside of the UAE, you need to come to country at least one time every 6 months.
- you can legally reside in the United Arab Emirates;
- you are eligible for a Tax Domicile Certificate (if there is a Treaty on Avoidance of Double Taxation between UAE and your home country). This will allow you to inform your tax authorities in the home country that you are a tax resident in the UAE.
- you can sign a long-term lease;
- you can apply for any post-paid plans with telecom providers;
- you can open a bank account in the UAE without any requirement for a AED 50,000+ minimum balance;
- you can convert your driving license and obtain a UAE driving license. Alternatively you can take driving classes and pass driving test;
- you can enroll your kids in UAE schools;
- you can avail from services offered by UAE government authorities.
Because UAE is not a signatory to The Hague Convention, dated October 5, 1961, which is an agreement that waives the requirement to legalize foreign documents, United Arab Emirates authorities recognize only those documents that are duly legalized.
The process of legalization requires that the document is first attested in the country of issuance and later legalized in the UAE.
Steps one may take to complete legalization vary from country to country and may require stamps from notary, PM office, court, MoFA and other authorities in home country. However, the last two steps most of the time remain the same irrespective of the country where these documents were issued. These two steps are UAE Embassy in home jurisdiction and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
We would like to note that time required for legalization may vary from document to document. The reason for that are additional stamps that may be required from authorities in the country of issuance in light of the type of the document (POA, Certificate of Registration, marriage certificate and so on).
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