The UAE residency options span a number of visa types, such as Employment, Investor, Governmental and Sponsor.
The obtainment of a residence visa is dependent on several criteria and is overseen by the Department of Naturalisation and Residency of Dubai (DNRD) and similar entities in other emirates.
Eligibility is assessed through several factors, such as contractual employment with a UAE based company, property ownership and shareholdings in UAE-based companies.
A residence visa is essential for all expatriates looking to launch a business in the UAE, and for their employees. The process includes a mandatory medical exam.
Visas are valid for two to three years (and extendable) and a labour card is also issued.
Residents must also apply for an Emirates ID card, which has the same validity period as the visa and is a mandated form of identification for various UAE government and immigration activities.
A residence visa is also required for day-to-day red tape, such as opening a bank account, getting a driving licence, registering a vehicle, applying for a PO Box, liquor licence applications and e-gate access. Business owners are also issued with an Establishment Card.
Property owners can apply for a two-year residence permit, which is applicable on properties valued at Dhs1 million or above, but is not a visa with a right to work.
If exiting the country for six months or longer, the residence visa is rendered invalid and your passport must be valid for at least three full months if travelling in/out out the country.
New legislation introduced in 2017 has further streamlined the process for residents who are no longer required to visit the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in order to renew or apply for visas. All transactions can now be carried out at the approved Amer typing centers.