How to get UAE family visas?

UAE is an ideal place for family life: safety, good weather, high education standards. Needless to say that most expats moving to the UAE, want to bring their families with them. Whether you got a job or did a starting a business in Dubai, you want your family to be near.

The most common scenario is the sponsorship of spouses and children. Sometimes people also bring their parents to the UAE and sponsor them as dependents.

If you lost your job and need to make visas for your self and your family quickly, check out a few cheap options such as business setup in Ajman orbusiness setup in Ras Al Khaimah

So, let us go through a step-by-step procedure of getting family visas in UAE.

STEP 1 - Sponsor’s visa

The family sponsor has to get his own visa stamped into the passport. 

Usually, family sponsors are males, but sometimes females also become sponsors of their spouses and kids. It is also quite common when a single or divorced woman sponsors her children (наверное надо ссылку на статью об этом)

STEP 2 - Tenancy contract

The sponsor needs to rent an apartment and get an official tenancy contract, attested by the government. It would be EJARI for those who hold Dubai residency or Municipality approval in Sharjah, for example. 

Note: do not get a contract from a hotel or a serviced apartment type of accommodation, because they won’t be able to provide the governmental approval of their contract for you. 

It is important to have such approval because the dependents’ visas will not be processed without it. 

If you are sponsoring a spouse and your kids, a small apartment will be enough. However, if you plan to sponsor your parents, you need to rent at least a 2 bedroom apartment.

STEP 3 - Family documents legalization

UAE government will require to legalize your family documents such as:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates of your children

Legalization procedure slightly differs in various countries, but generally, the procedure is the following:

  1. Legal translation into English in your home country (if the documents are in another language)
  2. Approval by Ministry of Justice/Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Department of State or another authority (check with UAE Embassy in your country the exact place of attestation prior the Embassy one)
  3. Legalization by UAE Embassy in your home country
  4. Legalization by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dubai

The whole process may take 1-2 weeks, so plan your timing in advance. The documents can be attested beforehand to save you some time later.

STEP 4 - Entry permits

The sponsor needs to apply for entry permits of the dependents. It can be done while they are still in the home country or already in the UAE under tourist visas/visas on arrival. 

Usually, immigration authorities need the sponsor to come and make an application in person. 

The following documents and their copies will be required:

  1. Passport and visa of the sponsor 
  2. Emirates ID of the sponsor 
  3. Tenancy contract
  4. Legalized marriage and birth certificates
  5. Passport format photos of the family members
  6. Passports of the dependents
  7. Health insurance of the sponsor (depends on the Emirate, may be not required)
  8. Salary certificate for employees or company ownership documents for business owners
  9. Typed application form
  10. Payment of the fees

The minimum salary which allows you to sponsor dependents is 4,000 AED if you are a man. 

Additional documents may be required from a woman who sponsors her family, such as:

  1. An attested educational certificate with a degree not less than Bachelor’s
  2. A salary certificate with a higher amount of salary
  3. Personal bank statement

UAE family visa minimum salary differs from Emirate to Emirate. Usually, the amount for a man is much less than for a woman who becomes a family sponsor. 

Entry permit for the family members can be issued within a day or two. 

STEP 5 - Status change or entry to the UAE

When entry permits are issued, you have 2 possible scenarios:

  1. Bring your family to UAE using the entry permits if they have been in home country
  2. Do status change in case the family is already in UAE. It can be done in 2 ways:
    a) Catch a return flight to any neighboring country such as Oman and return using entry permits
    b) Pay the status change fees to the immigration authority and get it done without having to exit the country

STEP 6 - Medical check and emirates ID

After status change or entry to the UAE under the entry permits, your family has 60 days in order to stamp the visas into the passports. 

They have to go through obligatory procedure of Emirates ID application and Medical test before the visa can be stamped into the passport. 

Emirates ID is obligatory for everyone, but fingerprint scanning is done only for those above 17 years old. 

Medical check is also not required for the children below 17 years old. 

STEP 7 -  Visas stamping

Once Medical report is issued (usually in 24 hours, but you can do the urgent procedure and get the result in 4 hours) you can apply for visas stamping. 

You will need the following:

  • Medical report
  • Emirates ID application paper 
  • Original passports of the family
  • Health insurance of the family members - it will be required in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. It’s advisable to make it anyway because healthcare is quite expensive in the UAE

After the visas are stamped, Emirates ID cards of the dependents will be issued within about a week. 

The validity of family visas will be the same as the sponsor’s visa validity: if the sponsor’s visa is for 2 years, family visas will be for 2 years as well. However, the expiry dates will most likely be different, because family visas were issued later. They will expire later as well. 
Important facts:

  • A woman on a husband visa or a man under his wife’s sponsorship cannot work unless he/she gets a no objection letter from the spouse. However, it is not accepted by all the companies. It is also not legal to do any freelance type of job without a special license. Check here how to get a freelance license UAE.
  • Spouse visa in Dubai or any other Emirate does not allow to open a personal current bank account. It is possible to have a joint account only and have an additional debit/credit card to your spouse’s account.
  • Some online functions of Emirates ID are not available for those who hold dependent visas. 

Family visa uae cost

The price of the family visas depends on a few factors: 

  • Designation of the sponsor’s visa
    In case the sponsor has a visa designation of Investor or Partner, a refundable deposit will be taken for each dependent. In most Emirates, it is 3,000 AED. There is no deposit for managerial or any other visa positions. 
  • Gender of the sponsor
    If you are a woman sponsoring the family, the deposit required by immigration will most likely be higher. In some Emirates, it reaches 20,000 AED. 
  • Emirate where the visas are to be opened
    Each Emirate may have slightly different fees, but apart from the deposit requirement, they are quite similar and include the following:
Family file opening280 AED
Visa typing fee80 AED
Entry visa outside/inside UAE500/1150 AED 
Change of status inside UAE650 AED
Emirates ID Card370 AED
Medical check690 AED
Visa stamping570 AED

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