Updated February 2024
Depending on the purpose of your visit, the government of UAE issues several types of visas and entry permits. One such visa is the UAE family visa which can be issued to family members of residents looking to extend their stay in the UAE. It is a long-term visa and has to be sponsored by UAE residents after meeting some requirements.
Read on as Wego helps you learn more about the UAE family visa, its application process, validity, documents required, and more.
Table of Contents
UAE family visa rules & requirements
The family residence visa is a long-term visa that can be issued to travellers who want to live with their relatives or family members in the UAE for a longer period of time.
Some conditions to tick off before applying:
- the family member has to already be in the UAE and possess a valid residence permit/visa.
- the type of profession is no longer a condition for an expatriate worker to be able to sponsor his family visas.
- resident sponsors get 60 days’ time to apply for their dependents’ residence visas after they enter the UAE.
- the resident must have a minimum salary of AED 4,000, or AED 3,000 plus accommodation.
- in order to obtain your family visa in UAE, all family members aged 18+ should undergo a medical fitness test at government-approved health centres in the UAE, as people who are proven medically unfit after having a medical test will not be granted a residence visa.
- residents who are detected with dormant or inactive pulmonary tuberculosis are considered medically fit and are granted a one-year ‘Health Fitness Certificate for Residence’ subject to treatment and follow-up by the respective health authority.
The following are the general documents required to apply for the UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa:
- original passport
- two passport-sized photographs, following UAE visa photo criteria
- the entry permit
- salary certificates from the sponsor’s employer
- documents such as birth/marriage certificates.
- extra document related to your travel purpose.
Please take note that family members’ residence visas are linked to the visa of the sponsor. If the husband or father (or wife or mother) loses the visa, the dependents’ sponsorship should also be canceled.
The minimum salary required to sponsor family members to apply for a UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa depends on the type and category of the sponsor:
- male residents who are employed in the UAE can sponsor their immediate family members, such as their wives and children, provided they have a minimum salary of AED 4,000 (USD 1,089.02) or AED 3,000 (USD 816.76) plus accommodation.
- in Abu Dhabi, a woman can sponsor her husband and children if she holds a residence permit stating that she is an engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse, or any other profession related to the medical sector and if her monthly salary is not less than AED 10,000 (USD 2,722.54) or AED 8,000 (USD 2,178.04) plus accommodation.
- in Dubai, if a woman is not employed in one of these categories, she may still get approval to sponsor her family if her monthly salary is more than AED 10,000 (USD 2,722.54) and with special permission from the DNRD.
Moreover, UAE ex-pats who want to sponsor five family members must have a minimum monthly salary of AED 10,000. Similarly, those who want to sponsor six family members must have a minimum monthly salary of AED 15,000.
The director-general will be reviewing applications of ex-pats who wish to bring in more than six relatives.
Expatriate residents, both employers and employees, may sponsor their families in the UAE, provided they have a valid residency permit. Additionally, an expatriate employee can sponsor their parents for a year’s stay by paying a deposit as a guarantee for each parent as stipulated by the respective immigration department.
When sponsoring parents, the residence visa will be granted on a yearly basis regardless of the duration of the sponsor’s visa. You also need to meet the salary requirement, as stipulated by the immigration department of the emirate that has issued your visa.
A residence visa requires the sponsored applicant to undergo a medical test and prove that they are medically fit, and they must pass a security check.
It is also important to note that the expatriate is required to sponsor both of their parents and include proof that their parents rely solely on them. If one of the parents has passed away, or the parents have divorced, official documents will be required to justify the reason why they only sponsor one of the parents.
According to the Amer website, DNRD in Dubai stipulates a minimum salary of AED 20,000 (USD 5,445.14) to sponsor parents on a UAE family residence visa or UAE sponsor visa. Please make sure to check the terms and conditions in other emirates.
Please note that Golden visa holders, however, can sponsor their parents on 10-year visas. Previously, the long-term residency scheme beneficiaries could sponsor parents for one year, as is the case with regular residency holders.
Sponsoring children and wife
Male residents who are employed in the UAE can sponsor their immediate family members, such as their wives and children, subject to conditions that include a minimum salary of AED 4,000 (USD 1,089.02) or AED 3,000 (USD 816.76) plus accommodation.
Please note that if a father is residing in the UAE and is able to sponsor his children, then the mother is not allowed to sponsor them.
The resident sponsor needs to submit an authenticated marriage certificate to sponsor their wives. The certificate must be duly translated into Arabic by a certified translator.
Sponsoring two wives
In strict cases, Muslim residents may be allowed to sponsor their two wives if they meet certain terms and conditions set by the respective GDRFA.
Residents can sponsor their daughters only if they are unmarried without age restrictions.
A resident can sponsor his son/s up to the age of 25. There is no age restriction for sons of determination (those with special needs).
For babies born in the UAE, a residence visa must be applied for within 120 days of birth to avoid getting fined.
An expatriate resident can also sponsor his stepchildren, subject to GDRFA’s conditions which include a deposit for each child and a written no-objection certificate from the biological parent. Their residence visas are valid for one year; and renewable annually.
Documents required to sponsor wife and children
The following are the documents required to sponsor wife and children to apply for the UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa:
- UAE visa application form.
- passport copies of the wife and children.
- photos of the wife and children.
- medical clearance certificate for the wife and children above 18.
- copy of the husband’s employment contract or company contract.
- salary certificate from the employer stating the employee’s monthly salary.
- legalised marriage certificate.
- registered tenancy contract.
Please note that some additional documents might be required depending on the category of people you want to sponsor. Make sure to consult your significant Embassy for more information.
Woman sponsoring her family
In Abu Dhabi, a woman can sponsor her husband and children if she holds a residence permit stating that she is an engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse, or any other profession related to the medical sector and if her monthly salary is not less than AED 10,000 (USD 2,722.54) or AED 8,000 (USD 2,178.04) plus accommodation. She needs to provide additional documents as stipulated by the respective authority.
In Dubai, if a woman is not employed in one of these categories, she may still get approval to sponsor her family if her monthly salary is more than AED 10,000 (USD 2,722.54) and with special permission from the DNRD.
Furthermore, a single mother can sponsor her child. The authorities might ask for documents similar to those required to sponsor stepchildren.
UAE family visa processing time
According to some sources, the average processing time for a UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa is 15 to 17 days.
Please note that it might take more than expected due to immigration and weekends (Friday & Saturday) in Dubai to process the UAE family visa application.
UAE family visa validity
The duration of a UAE family residence visa or UAE sponsor visa depends on the type of sponsor and the person sponsored. It is issued for one, two, or three years. The visa is renewed subject to conditions similar to those of fresh visas.
Please note that the family members’ residence permits are linked to the residence permit of the sponsoring expatriate employee. If the sponsoring family member’s visa is cancelled, it requires the cancellation of the visas of the dependents as well.
The grace period after the residence visa expiry or cancellation in the UAE for expats has been extended from 30 days to 6 months. Therefore, expats have 6 months to either amend their status and get another residence visa or leave the country. Fines do not apply during the grace period.
However, the UAE has now launched a reentry permit that allows residents staying outside the UAE for over 6 months to reenter the country by applying for a reentry permit. The reentry permit will allow UAE residents staying outside the UAE for over six months to reenter the Emirate within 30 days from the date of approval of the permit.
Hence, with the Dubai and UAE reentry permit, residents can now stay outside the UAE for more than 6 months without getting their residency cancelled.
How to apply for the UAE family visa or sponsor visa?
Applying for a UAE entry permit
Before applying for a UAE family residence visa, the expatriate employer or employee who is sponsoring the visa must apply for an entry permit to allow them in the UAE in the first place. You can apply for your family members’ entry permit at one of the following:
The UAE entry permits can be applied for online using these online and offline channels:
- the eChannels portal where individuals and companies registered in the UAE can apply for a new visa or visa renewal.
- GDRFA- Dubai website, or through the Amer.ae website.
- the mobile apps:
- typing centres where the visa application is typed and processed through the GDRFA of the respective emirate.
- Amer centres in Dubai where all entry permit and visa transactions must be carried out.
Applying for the UAE family visa or the UAE sponsor visa
The UAE family visa is a type of residence visa, and it has to be submitted on behalf of your family members after they have already entered the United Arab Emirates on an entry permit.
You can submit the family visa application at the offices of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the relevant emirate.
How to cancel my UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa?
You can cancel the UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa in the following two ways:
- visit the GDRFA Dubai portal, or download the GDRFA-Dubai application (Apple, Android).
- select the required service
- attach the required documents, including:
- cancellation form signed by the sponsor
- the original passport of the sponsored
- original identity card of the sponsored
- pay the fees due for the service. According to the GDRFA website, the price for his service is AED 50 (The urgent service fee is AED 100, the Innovation fee is AED 10, and the Printing fee is AED 100 (in case of submission through ZAJEL Courier Center)
- submit the request.
- head to one of AMER service centers.
- select the required service at the reception.
- submit the required documents to the service employee
- pay the fees due for the service
- submit the application
Please note that the applicant will receive a text message and an email with the status of their application.
If there are missing documents on the application, the applicant will be notified of the need to attach the missing documents within 30 days, and if the missing documents are not attached, the application will be cancelled. In case there are no missing documents in the application, the applicant will be notified of the approval, and the approved application will be sent via e-mail.
How to renew my UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa?
As announced by the ICP, the grace period after the residence visa expiry or cancellation in the UAE for expats has been extended from 30 days to 6 months. Dependents are now granted a six-month grace period from the date of expiry or cancellation of their visas to obtain a new residence permit.
Therefore, expats now have 6 months to either amend their status and get another residence visa or leave the country. Fines do not apply during the grace period. However, if the employee fails to renew the visa of his dependents within the grace period or before that, the dependents would be deemed illegal residents and could be liable to pay a fine.
You can renew your UAE family visa from the GDRFA – Dubai website by selecting the relevant service and submitting the documents required to process the renewal. The basic requirements for renewing a UAE family residence visa are:
- a sponsor with a valid residency permit
- passing a medical fitness test for those above 18
- insurance card (mandatory in Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
- a renewed identity card issued from ICA, or an original receipt that you have registered with ICA to get a renewal.
Please note that as per the UAE immigration’s fines system, the penalty to stay on after the expiration of the grace period is:
- AED 25 (USD 6.81) per day during the first 6 months (180 days)
- AED 50 (USD 13.61) per day during the second 6 months (180 days)
- AED 100 (USD 27.23) per day after passing a year and more.
There will also be an extra cost charged to obtain an exit permit before leaving the country. Check out the details of overstay fines in the article below.
The documents required to apply for a renewal of the UAE family visa or UAE sponsor visa depend on the category of the sponsor:
General documents required
- online application or application through a registered typing office for renewal of residency permit signed by the sponsor, whether public sector, private sector company, or personal sponsor.
- original passport of the sponsored.
- photo of the sponsored.
Additional documents required
For employers working in the private sector, the sponsoring company must submit the following additional documents:
- a copy of a valid firm card
- a copy of a valid trade license
- a copy of the renewed labour card of the sponsored
- a copy of the labour card renewal receipt for those who reached sixty (60) years and above.
Those sponsoring their families, including spouses, children, parents, and siblings (relatives of the first and second degree) must present the following:
- a copy of the husband’s/wife’s employment contract or company contract for investors
- a salary certificate from the employer stating the employee’s monthly salary
- a legalised marriage certificate
- a registered tenancy contract
- latest utility bill.