Updated April 2023
Dubai and the UAE have captured the hearts and imaginations of globetrotters, making them one of the most sought-after destinations on the planet, and the government has established a range of visas and permits to meet the needs of different visitors. In addition to numerous long-term visa options, UAE also offers permits that allow the visa holder to stay in the country for a year.
Here is a comprehensive guide on the different types of visas and permits that allow you to stay in Dubai and the UAE for a year.
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Dubai & UAE 1-year visas
Whether you’re planning to visit the UAE to work or study, there are various visa options depending on the purpose and duration of your stay. The following visas are in place for the convenience of foreigners wishing to stay in the UAE for a year.
Dubai & UAE Remote Work Visa
Dubai’s Remote Work Visa, or the 1-year visa, is also known as the Virtual Working Programme (VWP). The arrangement allows holders to relocate to Dubai from outside the UAE and legally work for their current company or organization remotely.
Any eligible foreign national who is able to do their work remotely is welcome to apply for the VWP.
The Remote Work Visa is specifically designed to facilitate remote workers, entrepreneurs, as well as other location-independent individuals with the inclination to live and work in Dubai. Should your application to live in Dubai be approved by the UAE, you may even bring your family along.
The requirements are as follows:
- a passport with a validity period of at least six 6 months
- a health insurance policy valid in the UAE
Employees are required to provide the following:
- proof of employment from their current employer with a one-year contract
- a minimum of USD 5,000 per month salary
- the latest payslip along with a bank statement for the preceding three months
Business owners are required to provide the following:
- proof of ownership of the company for one year or more
- an average monthly income of USD 5,000
- a bank statement detailing the income of the preceding three
To apply for the remote work visa online:
- log onto the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (GDRFAD) portal
- create a username and password, and then choose the service required labelled ‘Golden Visa’
- submit the required documents and pay the fees
Eligible individuals can apply for the Remote Work Visa even from outside the country. They do not need to be present in the UAE while making the application.
Dubai & UAE Student Visa
A student visa is usually valid for a duration of one year at a time, and they need to be renewed every year during the course of study.
To study in the UAE, you will need a student visa, also known as a Student Residence Visa. It is issued to expatriate students who are over 18 years and residing in the UAE. Student visas in the UAE must be sponsored by a higher education institution or by a local relative.
To apply for a Student Visa, you must submit:
- a certificate issued by the university or institute specifying the duration of the study.
- other general requirements as stated in the general provisions for the residence visa.
Depending on your country, you may have to get an entry permit before entering the UAE. Your college or university applies for your UAE student visa at the GDRFA office of the relevant emirate where you will live.
If your application is approved, the GDRFA will affix a residence visa to your passport. You will then receive an Emirates ID, which will be valid for the same duration as the visa.
Dubai & UAE work visa
When applicants first receive a work visa, it is valid for 30 days and can be further extended for another 30 days. Therefore, applicants can stay in Dubai for a maximum of 60 days. During this period, their employer must arrange for a residence visa, Emirates ID, and Labour Card for them. The residence visa, along with the Labour Card, is necessary for travellers to legally live and work in the UAE.
The duration of the residence visa and work permit is typically one or two years, depending on the terms of the employment contract.
Expatriates who wish to work in the Emirates must apply for a UAE work visa or work permit to be legally employed in the emirate. A work permit (entry permit) is a document issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship that allows foreigners to enter and work in the UAE legally for a specific period.
Foreigners are issued a Dubai work visa (residence visa) once they are inside the country and have entered using the entry permit. When moving to the UAE, obtaining a residence visa is necessary, and your work permit will be listed on it.
To obtain a work visa and residence visa in the UAE, employees will need the following documents:
- a valid passport and a photocopy
- passport photos
- copies of academic qualifications. (Your qualifications have to be authorized by the UAE Embassy or consulate in your country as well as from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country)
- copies of the applicant’s birth certificate (and marriage certificate if applicable).
- an Emirates ID card
- an entry permit from the Ministry of Labor
- a medical certificate issued by a government-approved health centre in the UAE
- proof of accommodations in the UAE, such as a copy of a lease agreement
- a copy of a company card from the employer
- a copy of the company’s commercial license
- evidence that the applicant has sufficient financial means to support themselves in the UAE
- proof of payment of the application fee
The application process for obtaining an employment visa and work permit in the UAE:
- the applicant needs an employer willing to hire them
- the process involves obtaining an entry visa, an Emirates ID, and a residence visa and work permit
- their employer must apply for visa quota approval, submit an employment contract, and have the work permit application approved
- once they have an entry visa, they have 60 days to obtain a residence visa and formal work permit
- to apply for a residence visa, they need all the required documents and an Emirates ID obtained through a medical screening and biometric tests.