How to Obtain a Work Permit/Labour Card

Information on how and where to apply to the authorities, and the paperwork required to obtain a labour card in Dubai...

To apply for a labour card, the candidate must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be no less than 18 years of age and no older than 60 years
  • Have a profession or academic qualifications that are needed in the country
  • Have a passport valid for no less than six months
  • Have a residency visa

In general, employers deal with the paperwork for both a labour card and residence visa.

The following documents are required:

  • Photograph of the employee
  • Photocopy of company's valid trade licence
  • Photocopy of passport plus entry visa
  • Valid health certificate
  • Three copies of the employment contract, with signatures of the employee and the employer
  • University certificates for professionals (for example, accountant, consultant, doctor, engineer, lawyer, manager, nurse).
  • For further information on obtaining a labour card from the Dubai government: Click here

A decision is usually made within ten days. The labour card is issued for three years, and is renewable for a similar period if agreed by both the employer and the employee. If this is the case, the labour card should be renewed within 50 days from its date of expiry.

Family members

People with a family residency visa who decide to work must apply for a labour card through their employer. They must include in their application a letter of no objection (NOC) from their sponsor, who is usually the husband or father, plus a copy of their passport.

Self-employed workers

If expatriates work in the Free Zone - one of nine areas which allows 100 per cent company ownership, no tax and no need for a local partner - they will either be sponsored for residency by an individual or by the free zone authority themselves. A labour card is issued immediately after residency is approved, meaning there is no need to go through the Ministry of Labour.

A Free Zone labour card is valid for one or three years.

  • For further information from the Dubai government: Click here