Expats wanting to live and work in Dubai require a work permit and a residency visa.
Most expats arrive in Dubai after already securing employment and don’t have to deal directly with the complicated process. Employers usually take responsibility for the visa application process, and thus the work permit, while also acting as the sponsor for the visa.
The law requires employers to absorb the costs of applying for a work permit.
Getting a work permit for Dubai
Work permit applications are handled entirely by the employer. All the employee needs to do is supply all the necessary documents to their employer.
Before getting a residency permit, applicants have to pass a health check. Individuals who test positive for HIV/AIDS or pulmonary tuberculosis will not be granted a residency visa and will be deported.
In the process of applying for a work permit, expats will also register for their Emirates ID card and Labour Card. The Emirates ID card is a crucial document for all residents, serving as an identity card and access to government services. The Labour Card, on the other hand, is the official document that grants the right to work in Dubai.
The entire process, from applying for the entry permit to receiving the Labour Card, can take several weeks. It is essential for expats to provide accurate and verified documents to avoid any delays. Employers often guide their employees through the procedure and ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
Once the Labour Card and residency visa are issued, expats are officially allowed to work and reside in Dubai. It is critical to keep these documents valid and renew them as required. Expats should keep abreast of the laws and regulations, as the UAE periodically updates its visa and work permit requirements.
For more information, visit the official UAE government portal.
*Visa regulations and requirements for work permits are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
What do expats in Dubai say about the work permit process?
"My school applied for my visa, which was temporarily approved. Once you arrive, you have to undergo a medical exam, where your lungs are scanned and blood is drawn. Once you pass your medical, your work visa is granted. It will have to be renewed again once your contract is renewed." British expat Laura's interview is full of insights about Dubai.
"Once you have been offered a position with a company they have to pay for your visa. You cannot stay in Dubai more than 30 [or 90] days on a tourist visa so that is something to keep in mind." Read more of South African expat Mariëtte's interview about Dubai.
►For a more detailed look at the process of securing a work permit, see Visas for Dubai
Are you an expat living in Dubai?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Dubai. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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