How to Apply for a UAE Residence Visa for Employment – Processing Time Guide

Before you look for a job in the UAE, it’s important to know what you need to live and work legally in the country. One of these requirements is the UAE residence visa, of which there are two types: for residence only, or for employment. This article focuses on the latter.

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The UAE residence visa for employment purposes is valid for two years, or three years in the case of government jobs or some free zones. It enables you to reside anywhere in the UAE; in fact, you can live in one emirate (e.g. Sharjah) while working in another emirate (e.g. Dubai).

Below we share some of the steps on how to process your Dubai employment visa and if you still need a Dubai labour card.

uae employment visa process

Guide: How Long to Process UAE Employment Visa Time?

First of all, the residence visa application is handled by the employer as the sponsoring company. The process involves going to the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

If you want to verify how long the processing time for a this type of visa, it should not be that long once you have your sponsor has all the necessary documents with you. Probably just 3-7 days. The system is quite efficient. It’s a matter of how your employer will work on the papers that adds to the time.

Aside from the residence visa, the employer is also involved in applying for the employee’s work permitmedical exam, and Emirates ID, among others. In any case, here are the prerequisites, requirements, and procedure for getting a UAE residence visa for employment.

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Below are some important details when applying for the said visa:

UAE Visa Qualifications

The applicant should:

  • Be below 65 years of age
  • Have a passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Have a job offer or is currently employed
  • Have an entry permit arranged by employer
  • Have completed and passed a medical exam
  • Have an ongoing Emirates ID application

Required Documents

  • Passport (original)
  • Passport-sized photos (5 copies)
  • Entry permit
  • Medical test certificate
  • Education certificate (attested)
  • AED 310 fee (plus other typing fees)
  • Company’s establishment immigration card and trade
  • Resident ID application form certified by Registration Centre at Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA)


Below are the steps to get a Dubai employment visa

Step 1: Offer Letter

The employee will be given a job offer letter by the company and both parties must sign these letters. Take note that employee should have a copy of the job offer. As an employee, make sure you have your copy.

Step 2: Application of Labour Contract

The employer will head to the Labour Ministry to apply for approval for the employee to work in the UAE.

Once approved, the employer and employee must sign the UAE labour contract. This is the official employment contract of both parties. Once this Dubai labour contract is signed and approved by UAE Labour, this overrides the job offer previously signed.

As a reminder, make sure that you have a copy of this employment contract.

Step 3: Work Entry Permit

The employer will also apply for a work permit for the employee to enter the UAE (if the employee is outside the country). This allows the employee to stay in the UAE for employment and is valid for 2 months from the date of issue.

Step 4: Work Visa

Once the employee is inside the UAE, the company can then arrange the necessary steps to complete the process. These steps include

All these steps should be completed within 60 days (2 months).

Once the employee receives a residence visa, he/she may eventually apply to sponsor his/her parents or children into the country.

UAE Employment Visa Renewal Dubai

Usually the employment/residence visa gets renewed easily if you are planning to continue working for the same company. After your original residence visa expires, you are given a grace period of 30 days to renew your work visa.

Your employer should process the renewal of your contract which means you will sign a new contract (for Limited Contracts) and then go over the employment visa application process again.

UAE Visa Application Processing Time

If everything goes well and according to plan, you can get your employment visa in 2-3 weeks. Sometimes even less. The process is quite straightforward once you have all the necessary documents.

So whether you are in Dubai or in other emirates, you can expect to complete the visa process quite quickly.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the above details are presented for information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about applying for a residence visa for employment, please visit the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) official website or the UAE Government Portal.