How Do I Get a Residency Visa?

The UAE is a country that offers a lot of benefits for expats:

  • Tax-free incomes
  • World-class infrastructure
  • Access to the global market
  • Large number of employment opportunities
  • Leading education system
  • Diverse economy
  • High quality of workers

Moving to Dubai is no easy feat. There are a lot of obstacles that you’ll need to overcome before relocating, whether it’s finding a job or starting your own business. The UAE has made it easier for foreigners to apply for residency, but the process is still difficult to navigate.

We understand that many companies are always in search of reliable and knowledgeable partners to help them establish their business in the UAE. We also know that there are several visa services out there, but it can be hard to find one that provides you with all the information you need. That’s why we have put together this guide on how to get a UAE visa to help international companies understand and navigate this process.

Eligibility Criteria for getting UAE Residency Visa

One of the best ways to make your family feel at home in the UAE is by obtaining a residency visa. The UAE Residency Visa gives you the opportunity to sponsor your spouse and children, as well as any other relatives, to come live with you in the UAE.

The UAE Residency Visa is open to individuals in the following classification:

  • The UAE Residency Visa is open to all individuals (except for GCC citizens, who are automatically eligible) living and working in the UAE. To be eligible to apply for a Residency Visa, they will need to earn more than AED 4000 (or, AED 3000 plus an accommodation package). This includes government employees or private companies.
  • For students older than 18 years of age to enroll in one of the many learning institutes.
  • For residents of Dubai or the UAE who are sponsored by a UAE citizen or foreign resident to live and work in Dubai.
  • For those who have just invested in the UAE as a business owner or majority shareholder of an established company.
  • For a person who’s just bought property in the UAE,
  • For anyone looking to retire in the UAE

Types of UAE Residence Visas

There are a number of UAE Residence Visas:

UAE Work Visa

This visa is for foreign nationals with employment in the UAE and have attained a Work Permit.

UAE Student Visa

This is targeted towards ex-pats (older than 18 years of age) that have been accepted into a college, university or similar educational in the UAE.

Students with outstanding academic performance can apply for a ‘Golden Visa’ with a 5-year validity to continue their studies in the UAE and find employment.

UAE Family Visa

Devised for family members of ex-pats, the Family Visa enables them to live in the UAE under the main resident who will sponsor the family.

UAE Investment Visa

Best suited to ex-pats who’ve invested in property and/or businesses in the UAE. The ‘Golden Visa’ offers 5- and 10-year visas for eligible individuals.

UAE Retirement Visa

For those wishing to retire in the UAE. Applicants must meet a minimum threshold with respect to monthly passive income.

UAE Remote Work Visa

This visa is targeted towards international firms who rotate staff or regularly require employees to be present on secondment in the UAE.

Rather than entering each time under a standard tourist visa (30 days) this visa can be valid for 1 year. The Remote Work Visa holder’s immediate family is also eligible to live in the UAE under this visa.

UAE Residence Visa requirements

When applying for a residence visa in the UAE, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Visa application form
  • Original passport
  • Passport photos
  • UAE Entry Permit / last entry stamp in passport
  • Proof of sponsor’s legal residency/UAE citizenship (if applicable)
  • Medical test pass result
  • UAE health insurance plan
  • Attested marriage certificate and birth certificates: In order to sponsor a spouse or child, you will need to provide proof of relationship in the form of attested marriage certificate and birth certificates (for children). These attestations need to be carried out in the country where they occurred.
  • Work contract: For employment Visa applications, a work contract is required in addition to copies of the company’s trade license and valid establishment card

Visa Application Process for UAE Residency

In order to obtain a Residence Visa, you must first enter the UAE on an Entry Visa. Your sponsor may apply for an Entry Visa on your behalf or you can get a visa on arrival if residents of your home country are permitted to do so. You may also apply for your own Residence Visa under certain conditions. The following process outlines the process of obtaining different types of visas for the UAE:

  • Student Visa – Education provider sponsors
  • Family Visas: The family member that is resident sponsors
  • Investor or property owner – self sponsor
  • Work Visa – Employer sponsors

UAE Residency Visa Application steps

Book a consultation with Nexus Partners

The first step is to understand your residency plans. Are you looking to form a company, under which activity, based in which area? There are a number of points to consider when formulating a solution that is best for you.

Once we understand on what basis you will look to gain residency, Nexus Partners will manage the whole process on your behalf including incorporation, documentation, government liaison, and of course visa services and bank account opening.

If you are looking to secure residency via Property, we can support you by putting you in touch with our Real estate partners for their specific advice and support.

Register a Business Name and Incorporate Company

Nexus Partners will help you select the right name for your business in addition to the setup process.

The business name cannot contain any offensive or blasphemous language, nor mention Islam or Allah.

You may use your own name, but only in full. We’ll then check if the name is available to be registered. Following that we incorporate the business based on the outcome of our consultation with you.

Submit your Business License Application

Once your documents are notarized (DED) and your application forms are completed, we will submit them along with your additional documents and business plan to the Department of Economic Development (DED).

For any successful incorporation, you will need to have on hand:

  • Proof of ID and address for all directors and shareholders
  • Copies of passport for shareholders and directors
  • Copy of trade name confirmation from the Registry Office
  • Copy of license application forms
  • Proof of initial activity approval from Dubai’s management agencies
  • Notarized Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • Notarized Articles of Association (AOA)
  • Copy of the lease or property agreement of the company’s physical address
  • Payment for specific trade license

Your Trade License

Once approved, the DED will issue your company with its trade license. This process usually takes 2-5 weeks depending on the complexity of the setup and number of approvals required from Government bodies.


See steps above

UAE Residence Visa duration

  • The most common UAE Residence Visas are 1, 2, 3 and 5-year visas.
  • The Golden Visa is a 5-year visa as well as a 10-year visa.
  • An Investment Visa is also a 5-year visa.
  • Lastly, a Retirement Visa is a 10-year visa.

All of these visas can be renewed for an unlimited amount of times.


Setting up a company is the most common way to gain residency in the UAE, though there are a number of other routes made available in the last years. Whichever route is preferred, your starting point should be a discussion with a local industry expert from Nexus Partners who can help you understand the process and offer support.

Fill out the booking form to talk to an expert and allow Nexus Partners to take care of the process on your behalf.

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