Residence Visas

Information on the different types of residence visa in Dubai and how to apply for them...

Residence visas are administered by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (DNRD), also referred to as the Immigration Department.

Any non-citizen of the UAE or GCC countries who wants to live legally in the UAE must apply for a residence visa. The Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. A residence visa is not the same as a work permit.

A residence visa is usually sponsored by the company that employees an expatriate or by the current resident who wants their family to join them. This visa is needed to open a bank account in the UAE, get a driving licence, register a car, and many other formalities. In almost all cases the residence visa is valid for two years.

Different types of residence visa

There are several types of residence visas with different periods of validity:

  • Employment (private and public sectors) - two years
  • Family - up to two years
  • Students - one year
  • Domestic helpers - one year
  • Investors - up to three years

How to get a residence visa

Residence visas for employees are generally taken care of by their employers. The following documents are required:

  • Application form. It is possible to download the form although the website is not always reliable
  • Multiple passport-size photos
  • Original and copy of the sponsored person's passport
  • Copy of the valid company card
  • Copy of the valid commercial licence
  • Employment permit issued by Ministry of Labour
  • Proof of health insurance paid for by employer (if working in a large company of more than 1000 employees)
  • Application fee

A complete medical test at a government hospital or clinic is compulsory prior to issuing a residence visa. This includes a chest X-Ray and blood tests to check for certain communicable diseases including: tuberculosis, leprosy and HIV/AIDS. Positive results can lead to a denial of a residence visa and deportation.

Those who fall under the following categories are also tested for syphilis and hepatitis B. It is compulsory for these workers to receive hepatitis B vaccinations upon arrival in the UAE:

  • Nannies and housemaids
  • Nursery and kindergarten supervisors
  • Workers in food preparation, health and beauty-related industries

For all other types of residence visa, the correct form needs to be obtained from the DNRD or a relevant UAE visa processing department.

General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs

DNRD - Main Office 
: Next to Bur Dubai Police Station, Al Jafiliya area, Bur Dubai
Open: Sunday to Thursday from 07:30-20:00
Tel: 04 313 9999 / 800 5111 (24/7)
DNRD - Bin Sougat Centre Branch
: In Bin Sougat Centre, Al Rashidiya
Open: Sunday to Thursday from 07:30-20:00
Tel: 04 707 5933 / 800 5111 (24/7)
DNRD - DNATA Headquarters Branch
: Near Clock Tower Roundabout, Port Saeed, Deira
Open: Sunday to Thursday from 07:30-20:00
Tel: 04 203 2138 / 800 5111 (24/7)
DNRD - Hatta Branch
: Opposite Hesan Hatta Hotel, Near UAE/Oman border, Hatta   
Open: Sunday to Thursday from 07:30-20:00
Tel: 800 5111 (24/7)
DNRD - Jebel Ali Port Branch 
: Near JAFZA main gate, Jebel Ali Free Zone
Open: Sunday to Thursday from 07:30-19:00
Tel: 04 707 5424 / 800 5111 (24/7)