What are the ways of becoming a UAE resident?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not just a vacation spot, but also a land flowing with milk and honey with various opportunities for investors and business owners in the UAE to earn a living. Students and employees are not left out of the benefits of this country has to offer.

There are numerous top rated and world class recognized schools in the UAE as well as job opportunities for job seekers.

The UAE does not offer a UAE permanent residency but a temporary one. It can be renewed as many times as you want.

The UAE has 7 Emirates; Dubai, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi the capital. Company setup in UAE can be done in any of these Emirates.

Health Check

The UAE carries out mandatory medical tests for those that want to get UAE resident visas. The medicals consists of tests for HIV, Hepatitis and an X-Ray. Upon successful completion of the tests, applicants can proceed to have the visas stamped in their passports and also apply for the Emirates Identification Card (EID).

For unmarried women, if the blood test comes out as being pregnant, she will be deported. The same also applies to HIV, Hepatitis and X-Ray (for tuberculosis).

Visa categories

  • Student
  • Employee
  • Company owner (investor, partner, manager, director) 
  • Visa under property

The UAE resident visas are usually valid for 2 or 3 years depending on the authority under which the visa is issued. 

After the visas expire, they are not automatically cancelled. You will need to formally do a cancellation with the immigration otherwise, you will not be allowed to exit the country or apply for a fresh visa, be it tourist, employment or dependent visa.

Visa Cost

The Dubai resident visa costs vary, depending on the jurisdiction in which they are being applied from. The visa costs, medicals, visa stamping in your passport and Emirates ID will be around 4,500 AED. Some free zones in Dubai require you to obtain health insurance before your visa gets stamped in your passport.

Visa process

The first step is to do the visa application and make payment for it. After that, you can go for the medical test which takes between 24-48hrs to get the results. Once that is successful, you go for the visa stamping in your passport which takes 3- 5 working days and Emirates ID process takes about 3-5 working days as well.

You are required to go for biometrics which includes taking your photograph, fingerprints and e-signature. For those that have undergone the biometrics, when it comes to your Emirates ID renewal, you will not need to undergo another one.

For those of you that are looking to relocate to the UAE, getting your UAE resident permit can be gotten through various ways:


According to QS world university rankings, some of the best universities are located in the Gulf region. Students have the opportunity to enjoy tax free employment after the completion of their studies, if they decided to stay back to work after their studies.

As a student, you are eligible to a study visa for full-time programs offered in the UAE and they are valid for a maximum of 12 months. If your program is longer than that, you will need to renew your visa after a year.

The resident visa processing time will take approximately 10-15 working days before the student entry permit is issued. The entry permit is valid for 2 months and should be used to enter the country within the date specified on the visa. The student is expected to conduct a medical test and a after a successful completion of the test, will go ahead for visa stamping in the passport and this takes around 15-20 days.


When a person gets employed by a company, it is mandatory for the employer to sponsor the staff, except when hiring a freelancer with their own visa, a wife who is under dependent visa of her husband, or child who is under sponsorship of the parents (a No Objection Letter will be required from the parents or husband to show they agree with their dependent working).

The company is responsible for the employee’s work visa which could be valid for 2 years or 3 years, depending on the jurisdiction in which the company is registered in.

Company owner

Another way of acquiring a resident visa in the UAE is by setting up a business in UAE Free zone or mainland jurisdiction. For a business setup in Dubai, you are eligible to resident visas under the company. There are various visa types depending on the authority in which the company is set up in and also for some business activities, a professional certificate is necessary to get a particular designation. The various designations include Investor, Manager, Partner, Director, CEO.

Holding of property

A way to be eligible for a resident visa is by purchasing real estate. The visa issued here is not a Dubai permanent residency, but a temporary one.There are two categories of this visa called investor visa. The purchase value of the property (not the market value) has to be 1,000,000 AED or above. Note that this property has to be in ready condition and be habitable, otherwise the visa would not be issued.

The first is a 6 month multiple entry property visa which is technically considered as a tourist visa, you will not have to undergo the medical examination or be issued an Emirates ID. The advantage of this visa is that it is cheap, has a short processing time and can be done on your own.

The key benefit of this visa is that it applies to property purchase in all of the 7 Emirates of the UAE.

The second is a 3 year property visa and it is the most popular that investors like to go for. The visa is valid for 3 years and can be renewed before expiry at a minimal cost. You are entitled to a driver's license, Emirates ID and also sponsorship of your family under this visa. This visa is only available for Dubai property owners.


You can get a UAE resident visa if you are under the sponsorship of your parents or your spouse.

You are also eligible to work as a dependent as long as you get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your sponsor that states that they are aware of your employment and that you have their full support.

Wives can sponsor their husbands and vice versa. Parents can also sponsor their kids or parents.

The condition to sponsoring kids is that whomever the sponsor is - wife or husband, needs to have a tenancy contract in their name. If they want to sponsor their parents as well as children, they are expected to have at least a 2 bedroom apartment with a tenancy contact is in their name.

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