How to Obtain a UAE Residence Visa in 2024?

According to recent data, the UAE has a strong economy, with a GDP of over $31 billion in just the first quarter of 2023. This wealth means leveraging top-notch facilities like hospitals and schools.

If you're an employer, you can find skilled workers and a good market here. Investors can put money into a growing and varied economy. Students can also get a great education. Not only this, retirees can enjoy a comfortable life in the UAE. Overall, each group can find ways to benefit from the UAE's rich economy.

This country has created a pathway to a stable living permit. And once you know how to get UAE residence visa, you'll benefit from this country's infrastructure.

In this blog, you'll learn how to become a long-term resident in the UAE.

What Is a Residence Visa in the UAE?

A Residence Visa in the UAE is a document that foreigners need to live in the country legally. It's usually valid for 1 to 3 years, but if you have an investment or retirement visa, it can last up to 10 years. You also have the option to renew it when it expires.

Who Qualifies for a Residence Visa

For you to get permission to live in this country on a long-term basis, you must fall under one of these categories:

  • You've invested in the country
  • You're studying in a local educational institution
  • The government or a local private company has employed you
  • You're 55 or older, or you've worked for 15 years and want to retire
  • You depend on a resident/citizen to live
  • You own property in this country

The Benefits of a United Arab Emirates Residence Visa

Here are the key benefits you get when living in the UAE legally:

  • Banking Access: You'll be able to open an account and get a personal or car loan.
  • Job Opportunities: With this visa, you'll freely work in this country.
  • Visa-Free Travel: Those with a residency visa get the perk of freely visiting countries. This is because this country has agreements that mean that in some regions you don't need to get a visa to enter. For example, you could travel to Japan, Kuwait, or even the Maldives.
  • Educational Admittance: Your children will be able to enroll in government and private schools.
  • Driving License: You can get your permit and travel by yourself.
  • Healthcare Services: When you have a residence visa in this country, you can take advantage of this infrastructure ― including getting local insurance.

How to Get UAE Residence Visa: Step-by-Step Guide

In the UAE, you need to get a permit before you can apply for a residence visa. However, you'll need a sponsor to take on this process for you.

Let's explore the complete residence visa process!

1. Find a Sponsor for Your Application

The person who helps you fulfill your application needs to be someone related to the type of visa you're getting. However, in some cases such as self-employed people and those applying through investments can sponsor themselves.

Here's a table illustrating who can sponsor you a visa:

Visa Type Sponsor
Work Employer
Student Educational Institution (or Expatriate parent; male children must be below 26 years old)
Family Family Member
Investment Yourself
Virtual Work Residence Yourself
Widow/Divorced Wife Yourself (once)

2. Get Your Entry Permit

Once you have a sponsor, they'll take on the rest of the process. Since you need to apply for residency while you're in the country, they first need to get your entry permit. Usually, this piece of documentation grants you the right to enter the country and stay in it for three months.

Your sponsor can get your entry permit from one of two governmental institutions:

  • Federal Authority for Identity or Citizenship: Your sponsor can apply through this portal, mobile app, or the Dubai equivalent.
  • The General Directorate of Residency of Foreign Affairs: Your sponsor can either get you a permit through their online platform or one of their approved typing centers.

You should keep in mind that your sponsor needs to apply for your permit and visa in the Emirates you plan to live in. Additionally, if you need to renew your permit you should do so at least 30 days before it expires. However, you'll have an extra 30 days after it's invalid for your sponsor to renew it.

Moreover, you must stay in this country for your permit to remain valid. While you can exit the country for less than 6 months, any more time abroad will invalidate your permit. And so, you'll have to reapply. You're only exempt from this rule if you:

  • Are on assignment from the government
  • Received your sponsorship through your Emirati husband
  • Have an investor's residence permit
  • Are a government employee seeking medical treatment
  • Received your sponsorship through a United Arab Emirates Embassy or Consulate
  • Accompanied your employer as their domestic

3. Submit Your Visa Application Documents

Once you have that first permit, the process to get a Dubai permanent residence permit is the same as anywhere else within the country. However, your sponsor can choose to submit your application in person or online.

In addition to your filled application, your sponsor will submit these documents:

  • Your Original Passport
  • 2 Passport Pictures (no older than 6 months)
  • Your Entry Permit
  • Proof of Your Sponsor's Legal Residency/Citizenship
  • Your Emirates ID Application Receipt
  • A Copy of Your Sponsor's Passport
  • Proof You Passed a Physical Exam Test

Moreover, you should include any supporting documents that are relevant such as:

  • For Students: You should submit your student visa and a certificate from your institution proving the duration of your studies.
  • For Dependents: You'll have to include your children's birth certificates to prove your familial relationship.
  • For Widows and Divorced Women: If your husband sponsored your initial visa and you wish to renew it you'll need proof of the death/divorce. In addition, you'll have to demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and have a residence.

Keep in mind that if you have a child in this country, they don't automatically get citizenship. And so, within 120 days of your newborn's birth, you'll have to apply for their residence. Otherwise, the government will fine you.

4. Pay Residence Visa Fees

Your sponsor will have to pay a visa fee for the final documentation. These fees depend on where you get your services. For instance, one hospital might quote a price higher than another for your physical exam. Moreover, prices differ between online versus offline applications. The duration of your visa also affects the total fees. Plus, you might be subject to extra fees if your entry permit is no longer valid.

Here are the fees you can expect:

  • 1-Year Visa: 100 AED or $27.23
  • Off-Line Submission: 70 AED or $19.06
  • Online Processing: 40 AED or $10.89
How to Get UAE Residence Visa


Knowing how to get UAE residence visa is a clear process for those willing to study, work, or invest in the country. This visa grants access to the UAE's advanced technological, financial, and healthcare benefits. To start, you'll need a sponsor for an entry permit. They will then submit necessary documents like proof of sponsorship and identity for your residence visa application. Once you've paid all the required fees for your visa, Emirati ID, and processing, your journey to becoming a long-term resident is complete

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