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Posted on September 06 2022

Do you know how a UAE work visa is different from a UAE residence visa?

By Editor
Updated July 25 2023

Highlights: UAE work visa vs. UAE residence visa

  • Learn the difference between a UAE work visa and a residence permit in the UAE.
  • Get a clear idea of how a UAE employment visa is connected to a UAE residence permit.
  • Here we attempt to make it clear to you what a work visa and residence permit means.

Are you a migrant in the UAE, probably on a sponsorship from a family member? It will be good for you to learn what a UAE work visa is and how it is different yet related to a UAE residence visa.

Here, we attempt to clarify what a UAE work visa and a UAE residence visa are and how they are connected to each other. It’s a guide that will help you clearly understand why they are significant for a successful time of stay and activity in the UAE.

About UAE Work Visa

Work is a major motive for migrants to choose to come to the UAE. As obvious as it should be, to arrive to work in the UAE, you will need a work visa.

The work permit you will be granted will be temporary. When you get a residence visa, the work permit will be listed on it. Work visas are issued by MOHRE (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization) and GDFRA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs).

It’s the employer in the UAE who will usually file an application for you. The same employer will also fund a residency visa on your behalf. The employer must first prove that it adheres to quota rules. These rules govern how many foreign workers such employers can recruit.

Both the work permit and the residence visa it’s associated with will usually have a validity period of one or two years. This will be determined depending on your contract for employment with the employer in the UAE.

Also read: How to check UAE Visa status using passport?

About UAE Residence Visa

A UAE residence visa is issued to a foreigner when such a person is already inside the country. They will have entered the UAE on an entry permit.

The residence visa is important and primary for a foreigner to stay in the UAE. It can be applied to a foreign national only by sponsors who meet the requirements of the GDRFA.

To be eligible for a UAE residence visa, the sponsored individual has to undergo a medical test. That person also has to prove that he/she is medically fit. Another criterion to meet is that the sponsored foreigner has to pass a security check.

The valid period of stay on a residence visa is determined by its type and the sponsor applying for it. It could be valid for anywhere from one to three years.

The GDRFA will place a UAE residence visa on the sponsored person’s passport. This enables that person to travel in and out of the UAE freely as long as the validity period of the residence visa is intact. However, no travel outside the UAE must exceed six months. If that happens, the residence visa will be canceled automatically.

Also read...

UAE launches job exploration entry visa

How are a UAE work visa and a UAE residence visa connected?

The three basic requirements to apply for a UAE work visa are:

  • An entry visa
  • A residence visa
  • An Emirates ID card

Step 1 – Entry visa

An employment entry permit in the UAE is also called a pink visa. The employer will apply for the entry visa by applying for visa quota approval on behalf of the employee. It's obtained through the MOL (Ministry of Labor) in the UAE.

The employer also submits the job contract drawn with the employee that’s signed by the recruited employee. The employer will apply for a work permit for the employee which gets approved by the MOL. After this, the employment entry visa is issued.

Step 2 – Emirates ID

The foreigner who’s recruited will undergo a medical screening. The employee will also submit their entry visa along with the original passport and a copy of the same. Employees must apply for Emirates ID with EIDA (Emirates Identity Authority) center in person.

The employee will also submit a photograph and biometrics.

Step 3 – Residence visa and work visa

So, once you get a job offer from an employer in the UAE, you will have to apply for a residence visa first. To apply for a residence visa, you will have to submit the following documents:

  • A valid passport and a photocopy
  • An entry permit from the Ministry of Labor
  • An Emirates ID card
  • Passport photos
  • A copy of a company card issued by the employer
  • The results of your medical screening
  • A copy of the company’s commercial license

The residence permit is valid for one to three years and is renewable. The work permit will be a part of the residence visa. Once the work visa is approved, you can start working in the UAE.

Will UAE work visa status affect UAE residence visa?

If the employer in the UAE applied for the recruited foreign employee’s residence visa, the cancellation of the work permit could also lead to the termination of the residence visa. In such case, the employee will get a grace period of a month within which the employee must establish his/her resident status in the UAE. For this, they will have to apply for another visa.

In case a new employer hires this person, that employer can apply for another residence visa for the employee recruited.

If the residence visa has not been applied for by a sponsoring employer, the cancellation of the work permit won’t affect the residence visa. An example for this is family sponsorship.

If you are willing to work in UAE, talk to Y-Axis, the leading immigration and career consultant in the UAE.

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