Your residency visa is actually your residency permit in Dubai – the visa is the piece of paper that allows you to enter the country in the first place, whereas the permit is the document that allows you to remain living in Dubai.  However, just to confuse things, most people refer to the permit as a visa as well!

There are a couple of types of permit that you may be granted, but if you’re relocating to the emirate to take up employment you will need an employer sponsored residence visa/permit in Dubai, and in this article we’ll explain how you get one.

Most employees are fortunate in that their company will process all of the paperwork for them, but even so there are still some obligations that fall on the individual.

Before you can even begin thinking about applying for your residency permit you have to have your health card and have been for your medical tests.  When you get the results of these then you can go to the Immigration Department for the processing of your residency permit.  However, before we get ahead of ourselves we need to point out that prior to coming to Dubai you need to have your education qualifications attested – what this means is that they have to be examined and verified by a solicitor or notary in your home nation.  Then the solicitor has to be verified as being qualified by your foreign office.  Whilst all this can be done retrospectively once you’re living in Dubai, as you can imagine it is far, far easier to manage before you even travel.

The Immigration Department will require the following from you if you’re applying for an employer sponsored residence visa in Dubai: –

Your passport
Your employment visa with your entry stamp into Dubai
Your medical test results
Your attested and verified educational qualifications
A copy of your company’s establishment immigration card
A copy of your company’s trade licence
3 passport photos
300 dirham processing fee
~50 dirham typing fee
Optional 100 dirham same day processing fee

For the vast majority of people who have been sponsored to enter Dubai by an employer, the entire process of getting the permit will be taken care of by the company in question.  This means that you won’t have to visit Immigration and hang about for hours!  Often the company actually employs runners or so called PROs to undertake this task on behalf of all international employees.  What’s more, companies are actually obliged to pay for all the associated costs related to getting your permit.

And finally, if you have to leave Dubai for any reason, make sure you don’t stay away for more than 6 months.  If you do, you lose your right to residency.  This can sometimes affect individuals who work in two centres, women who return home to have their children and also children who are educated abroad.  If you’re going to be affected then your sponsor can actually go to the Immigration Department prior to your re-arrival in Dubai on your behalf, take a copy of your passport and pay a waiver fee of 100 dirham to receive a Temporary Entry Permit.  This permit will need to be faxed to you so that you can re-enter Dubai and sort out your residency status once again.