Validity of a residence visa
The validity of a residence visa varies according to its type and the sponsor. It can be for 1, 2 or 3 years on a sponsored visa, or up to 5 or 10 years on an unsponsored visa.
According to recent changes, a residence visa can also be issued for 5 and 10 years, subject to certain conditions. Learn about long-term residence visas, and 5-year retirement visa in the UAE.
The expiry date of the dependent’s residence visa will not exceed that of the sponsor.
A residence visa requires applicants who are 18 and above to undergo a medical test to prove that they are medically fit. They must also pass a security check and apply for an Emirates ID card from Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
- A recent coloured personal photo with a white background for the dependent
- A copy of the passport of the dependent
- Emirates ID Application receipt
- Housing lease contract (certified) or proof of owning a residence
- A copy of the sponsor’s passport with a valid residence permit
- Job contract of the sponsor
- A medical fitness certificate (for dependents above 18 years)
- Entry permit
- Attested birth certificate of the dependent (children)
- Mother’s residence photo (for the newborn)
- Medical insurance or health card
- Divorce or death certificate (for divorced women and widows)
- Proof of housing (for divorced women and widows)
- a proof of the woman’s ability to earn a living (for divorced women and widows)
- A certificate issued by the university or institute specifying the duration of the study (for students).
Extension of the residence visa for divorced women and widows
When a woman living in the UAE on her husband’s visa, is divorced or widowed, the UAE Government grants her an extension of one year on her residence visa. The extension starts from the date of the death of her husband or the divorce. This type of visa is renewable for one time only and does not require a substitute sponsor. The extension applies to the woman’s children as well, provided they were on their father’s visa at the time of their father’s death or their parents’ divorce.
- the visas of the woman and her children must have been valid at the time of the death or the divorce
- the duration of the child’s/children’s residence visa should not exceed that of the mother.
Source: Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP)
Expiry of residence visa on staying out of the UAE
The general rule is that if an expatriate resident lives outside the UAE for more than 180 days continuously, his/her residence visa will be nullified automatically. If this happens, they will have to apply for a new entry permit to enter the UAE again.
However, there are some exceptions which allow an expatriate resident to stay outside the UAE for more than six months and at the same time maintain the validity of his/her residence visa. The rule does not apply to:
- foreigner wife of an Emirati citizen
- domestic helpers accompanying Emiratis having a scholarship for study abroad
- domestic helpers accompanying UAE patients travelling or sent abroad for treatment
- expatriate residents and their companions sent abroad for treatment, provided they submit a medical report approved by medical authorities in the UAE
- domestic helpers accompanying members of diplomatic and consular missions representing the UAE abroad and employees of such missions holding residence visas in the UAE
- expatriate residents working for the public sector sent by their employers to attend training or specialist courses, or those working in their employers' offices abroad and their families who are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
- expatriate students studying in universities or institutes abroad (as per Dubai rules). Check with the ICP if this applies to your emirate of residence.
- domestic helpers of members of the ruling families working in the homes of the royal family abroad and are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
- students enrolled in educational institutions abroad, who are holders of valid residence visas in the UAE
- investors holding valid residence visas in the UAE
- residents sponsored by UAE diplomatic and consular representatives and their dependents
- any other person excluded under a decision from ICP, provided that person has a valid residence visa and pay the due fees.
Find answers to FAQs on the website of ICP.
Entry permit for residents staying outside the UAE for over 6 months
UAE residents whose residence visa expired as a result of staying outside the country for more than six months for study, work or treatment, can apply for a permit to enter the UAE.
Requirements to apply for the entry permit
To apply for a permit to enter the UAE by a resident staying outside the UAE for over 6 months, the applicant must:
- submit the application from outside the country
- apply request after 180 days of staying outside the country
- provide a valid reason to justify being outside the country for more than 180 days
- pay a fine of AED 100 for every 30 days or less spent outside the country.
Apply for a permit for entering the UAE after staying outside for over 6 months.
When the application is approved, the applicant must enter the country within 30 days starting from the approval date.
Read related news coverage on WAM.
Benefits of having a UAE residence visa
Being a legitimate resident in the UAE will entitle you to:
Renewing your residence visa
Your sponsor must renew your residence visa before it expires. A renewed visa will let you continue living legally in the UAE without incurring fines or facing legal consequences for the same. UAE residents are granted longer flexible grace periods that reach up to 6 months (according to resident cateogry) to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired.
The ICP has standardised the overstaying fines in the UAE. According to the new rules, visit, tourist and residence visa overstaying fees have standardised at AED 50 per day. Those overstaying on a residency visa will have to pay AED 50 each day (AED 50 per day instead of AED 25).
Remember that when the visa expires, your Emirates ID card issued by the ICP also expires.
If there is a need to renew your residence visa a few months earlier (one to six months) for travelling reasons, you must first take special permission and approval from ICP.
Cancelling your residence visa
If you a have a residence visa sponsored either by a family member or by your employer, and you decide to leave the country permanently, your residence visa must be cancelled officially.
Normally, only the sponsor can cancel your residence visa. You cannot process the application on your own.
If a company decides to cancel an employment visa of its employee, it must first approach Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation with an application to cancel the employee’s labour contract and labour card. The employee must also sign this application. Then, the employer should apply to ICP for visa cancellation.
The company must also cancel the work permit. For this, it must submit a letter signed by the employee stating that he has already received all his wages and end of services benefits to Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
An individual sponsoring his/her spouse, children and other dependents must cancel the dependents’ visas before he cancels his/her own.
How to cancel your residence visa?
There are two ways to cancel your visa. You can do it either through a registered typing centre or online.
Alternatively, the sponsor may process the cancellation online through the ICP website or the ICP application Google Play or App Store.
Updated on 18 Oct 2023