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Updated March 2024

The UAE government has implemented a stringent policy to regulate the participation of expatriates in the country’s workforce due to the rising number of foreigners seeking employment. According to the nation’s laws, individuals are required to obtain both a UAE work visa and a work permit in order to legally work in the UAE.

Navigating the differences between a work permit and a work visa can often be confusing for individuals. To alleviate this confusion, Wego has prepared a comprehensive guide to help you gain a better understanding of the 3-year UAE work permit. Please continue reading to learn more.

Dubai and UAE 3-year work permit 2024

A UAE work permit serves as an official authorization that enables individuals to be employed by companies operating within the country. The responsibility of initiating the permit application rests with the employer, who must undertake the necessary procedures. Once the application process is completed, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) takes charge of issuing the official document.

In a recent announcement, it was stated that a UAE work permit is typically valid for up to 2 years. However, there has been a positive development as the UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) has approved an extension of work permits from two years to three. This decision aims to alleviate the financial burden associated with obtaining work permits. The FNC Committee on Financial, Economic, and Industrial Affairs proposed increasing the permit duration to three years and also waiving work permit fees for job changes.

Additionally, the FNC approved a recommendation stipulating that workers should spend at least one year with an employer after the probation period. It’s worth noting that this requirement can be waived with an agreement between the employee and employer. The extension of work permits provides individuals working in the UAE with greater flexibility and potential cost savings.

The ministry issues various types of work permits, including freelance permits, temporary work permits, and full-time work permits. For more in-depth information on the different types of work permits and visas, we have prepared a dedicated article which you can refer to below.

Complete Guide to Dubai and UAE Work Visas and Permits


Differences between UAE work permit and UAE work visa

When it comes to working legally in the UAE, it is essential for foreigners to obtain both a UAE work permit and a UAE work visa. Let’s delve into the distinctive features of these two documents.

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Issuing authorities

The UAE work visa is issued by the General Directorate of Residency Foreign Affairs (GDRFA), while the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) is responsible for issuing the UAE work permit.

Purpose and function

The UAE work permit serves as a document that grants individuals the legal right to work within the UAE. On the other hand, a UAE work visa allows individuals to enter and reside in the country for employment purposes.

Cancellation process

Given that different authorities oversee these documents, the procedures for canceling them also vary. It is advisable for applicants to consult the regulations set by the respective authority to understand the specific cancellation process.

Obtaining a Dubai and UAE 3-year work permit

As mentioned earlier, the process of obtaining a UAE work permit is initiated by the employer or organization hiring the employee. To begin the application process, the company must hold a valid trade license.

However, there are certain circumstances under which the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) may choose not to issue, renew, or even cancel a work permit. These conditions include:

  • submission of false documents by the company
  • the company being fictitious or not actively engaging in its officially registered business operations
  • failure of the company to comply with the ‘Wages Protection System‘ or any other system implemented to regulate the domestic labor market

Dubai and UAE 3-year work permit validity

As mentioned earlier, the current validity period for Dubai and UAE work permits is two years. However, there has been an announcement by the Federal National Council (FNC) stating that this duration will soon be extended to three years.

Dubai and UAE 3-year work permit cost

The cost of obtaining a UAE 3-year work permit varies based on the classification of the company and can range from AED 250 to AED 3,450. Applicants can find detailed information regarding the specific costs by referring to the UAE government website.

Dubai and UAE 3-year work permit cancellation

MoHRE provides a convenient service for employers to cancel their employees’ work permits. Before initiating the cancellation, it is crucial for the company to fulfill all the worker’s entitlements and obtain the worker’s signatures on the permit cancellation form. Employers can find the necessary information and guidelines for the cancellation procedure by visiting the MoHRE website.

It’s important to note that when a work permit is canceled, individuals lose their eligibility to continue working for the same company unless they go through the process of reapplying for a new work permit. However, in the case of canceled work visas, individuals are permitted to stay in the country during a grace period which is up to 60 days.

Furthermore, Individuals have the option to either leave the country or apply for an alternative visa category to extend their stay within the UAE. Alternatively, an employee may also opt for a visit visa/tourist visa to reside in the UAE once his/her UAE residency visa sponsored by an employer is canceled without exiting the UAE.


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