This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.
Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:
- Attending business meetings or discussions;
- Receiving training;
- Visiting facilities and plants;
- Attending seminars, conferences, exhibitions, auctions or shows.
Type of Business Visas – Nationals of 32 exempted countries will be able to obtain “visit visas on arrival”, which will be directly stamped into their passport at the border. All other nationals will require a Short Term or a Long Term Visit Visa.
1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Valid passport;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to the United Arab Emirates;
4. No intention to permanently reside in the United Arab Emirates;
5. A ticket for onward travel from the United Arab Emirates;
6. Proof of health insurance;
7. Host country documents (copy of trade license, copy of establishment card).
Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.
Maximum Time On Visa – These visas allow business people to make a short business visit to the United Arab Emirates for up to 30 days (Short Term Visa) or 90 days (Long Term Visa).
Typical Documents Required –
All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:
- a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases;
- a valid visa or authority to enter the United Arab Emirates.
Basic Requirements – The principle immigration category for temporary employment in the United Arab Emirates is the employment entry visa. The employment entry visa will be issued to high level professionals as well as to semi-skilled and low-skilled workers.
Process Overview – The process for obtaining work and residence authorization involves a four-step process summarized below:
1. Employment Entry Permit application (submitted in the United Arab Emirates);
2. Medical check;
3. Emirates ID Card application;
4. Residence Permit application;
5. Labor Card application.
Note: If the company is a private company registered with the Ministry of Labor (based outside of a free zone), there will be a work permit approval step at the beginning of the process.
Estimated Processing Time – Varies greatly depending on Emirate and Zone. Allow 6-8 weeks, or 1-2 weeks in Free Zones.
Validity periods – In case of private companies registered with the Ministry of Labor, employment permits are valid for two years. Employment permits are valid for three years in case of free zone companies. Employment permits can be renewed as many times as needed.
Family Members – Dependents will need a work permit for non-sponsored staff in case they wish to work in the UAE.