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Dubai residence visa

Dubai residence visa


The UAE residence visa allows foreign individuals to reside in the country for extended periods. The visa is renewable and valid for two, three, five, or ten years, depending on the type. Many international families have successfully naturalized in the Emirates, continually renewing their visas to remain in the UAE.

The UAE permanent residency requires having a valid visa stamp in your passport while in the country. Unlike other countries with permanent residency, a residence visa in the UAE offers the same benefits.

At Dubai Visa and Investment Centre, we offer visa application services and can assist you in applying for a Dubai residence visa.

Types of UAE residence visas

  • Resident visa through employment
  • Specialist resident visa
  • Resident visa for students
  • Resident visa for domestic workers
  • Resident visa through family sponsorship
  • Partner or investor visa

UAE residence from a company setup

Setting up a business in the UAE is one of the fastest ways to get a residence visa. You can set up the company on the mainland or freezone.

Many people prefer setting up a business in the freezone as it allows 100% ownership of the company, a transparent process and affordable fees. Before applying for a visa, you will register the company in your name with a UAE business registration authority.

Over 40 authorities are available, and you can search for a suitable body to register your company. However, our consultants can help with this.

The following steps are necessary if you want to get a Dubai visa as a business owner.

  • Register your company
  • Get an establishment card- your company's immigration document to start the visa application.
  • Get an entry permit – this is necessary for a resident visa
  • Apply for an Emirate ID
  • Undergo medical assessment
  • Have your visa stamped into your passport

You can be in your home country during your company incorporation, establishment cars and the issuing stages of an entry visa if you have visited the UAA a least once.

You must be present for the medical assessment, application for Emirate ID and visa stamping. You will take your passport to the immigration office for stamping and cannot leave the UAE until the process is complete. Medical, Emirate ID and visa stamping takes about five working days.

Requirements for a residence visa

  • Entry visa
  • Two passport-size photographs as per the UAE requirements
  • Original passport
  • Medical fitness test clearance certificate
  • UAE visa application form
  • UAE health insurance certificate
  • UAE citizenship proof or sponsor's legal residency
  • For family visas- proof of family ties like marriage or birth certificates
  • For work visas- a copy of the employment contract, a valid firm card copy and employing company's valid trade license copy

Cost of UAE residency

The cost of a UAE resident visa depends on where you register your business. Setting up your company in a northern Emirate, like Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain or Sharjah, incurs the lowest fees.

When considering a minimum investment in Dubai for residency, see the cost below of a UAE residence visa through company setup.

Freezone name



Starting cost (AED)



One visa


Umm Al Quwain FTZ


One visa


Ajman media city


One visa


The cost of a resident visa in Dubai is higher due to the increased cost of business registration and other expenses. These may include obligatory health insurance, which you must pay for before visa stamping.

Below is the breakdown of the cost of a Dubai resident visa for business owners

Freezone name



Starting cost (AED)

Dubai South


One visa




One visa




One visa



Getting a UAE resident visa allows you to live permanently in the UAE or visit regularly. This benefits nationals who do not automatically get a tourist visa on arrival.  

How to maintain a UAE residence visa

You shouldn't have issues keeping your visa valid if you maintain your UAE permanent residency. However, if you do not live in the UAE or travel frequently, you need to re-enter the country every six months for your visa to remain active.

Failing to do this will automatically cancel your visa, and you will go through the process of getting a new visa.

How to renew a UAE residence visa

A UAE residency visa renewal is simpler than getting the first visa. However, you will need a medical check and Emirate ID renewal. Ensure you visit a medical screening centre 1 – 2 weeks before your visa expiry date.

You can apply to renew your Emirate ID after undergoing the necessary tests. When you get your medical report, submit it to the immigration office alongside your passport. Your visa will be stamped for another period, provided you continue your residency.

How to cancel a UAE residence visa

In most cases, it is the sponsor's responsibility to cancel the visa. A sponsor can be:

  • Your employer

During the cancellation process, you will sign a form to confirm you have received all due salary and benefits. You will be eligible for an end-of-service benefit if you have worked in one company for many years.

  • Personal company

If you own a business and have a visa under the company, you can hire a business consultancy or PRO firm to handle the cancellation or do so yourself.

  • Your parent or spouse

If you are a dependant, your spouse or parent will be responsible for your visa cancellation. They may also sponsor a business consultancy or PRO company to process the visa cancellation if they have the sponsor's original Emirates ID or the visa holder's original passport.

  • Government Authority

If a UAE government authority employed you, they are responsible for your visa cancellation.

Cancelling visa from inside the UAE

If you are in the UAE, you will submit your original passport to the issuing authority and wait for the visa cancellation.

Cancelling visa from outside the UAE

If you are outside the UAE, you must have been outside the UAE for more than six months to cancel your visa without sending your original passport. If you have been outside the UAE for less than six months and want to cancel your visa, you will send your original passport to the PRO firm or your company for the process.

Where to apply for the visa cancellation

The same issuing authority must cancel your UAE residence visa. These authorities include Dubai (GDRFAD) for Dubai Mainland visas, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, Amer or Tasheel, or Freezones issues by freezone companies.

Ways to cancel UAE residence visa

Visa cancellation is possible through online and offline platforms. You can choose the most convenient options for the following.

Option 1 - Using GDRFAD online

  • Visit the GDRFAD website at
  • Click on Cancellation of Residency Visa
  • Click Start Service at the bottom of the new page
  • Enter the necessary details and upload documents to the individual login page.
  • Follow the on-screen instruction to complete your visa cancellation process.
  • Check for a confirmation email or message to verify the cancellation process.

Option 2 – through a Tasheel typing centre

  • Get the necessary documents
  • Visit any approved Tasheel typing centre
  • The centre agent will fill out the forms
  • Hand over the necessary document to the agent
  • The centre will complete the process

Option 3 – using GDRFAD or ICA mobile application

  • Download and install the GDRFAD or ICA mobile app
  • Log in with your correct details
  • Check for Cancellation of Residence Visa under the service categories or search for this section.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the visa cancellation process.
  • After the approval, you will get a call or email, then submit your passport for the actual cancellation.

Documents for visa cancellation

  • Original passport
  • Original copies of labour card and Emirate ID
  • A signed visa cancellation paper from your sponsor
  • If you are company-sponsored, you need a signed, stamped cancellation from the company and a clearance document from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, MOHRE.

Long term visas

The UAE offers different types of long-term visas to attract foreign investment and talent. The visas offer holders long-term residency and a sense of stability, allowing foreigners to plan for a future in the UAE.

  • Investor visa

The investor visa is available to foreign nationals who want to make huge investments in the UAE. This visa has a five or ten years validity and is renewable.

  • Entrepreneur visa

People who own successful businesses in the UAE can get an entrepreneur visa. The visa is valid for five years and can be upgraded to an investor visa if the business is successful.

  • Special talent visa

A long-term visa is available for people with special talents in certain areas like culture, sports, science and art. The special talent visa is also available to inventors, performers, artists and scientists.

  • Golden visa

The UAE government introduced the golden visa in 2019, a long-term residence visa. It is for chief executives, outstanding students, artists, entrepreneurs, and investors.

  • Retirement visa

Since 2018, the UAE has offered a five-year retirement visa to residents aged 55 and above, but they must meet certain financial requirements.

The requirement for each visa type varies, so checking the recent UAE government guidelines is important. You can also consult our experts for the latest information on Dubai residence visas.

Where can I live?

Irrespective of your visa issuing authority, you can maintain Dubai residency or live in any other Emirate. Any visa from Dubai or another emirates makes you eligible for UAE permanent residence. You can settle your family in any Emirate.  

However, some services like getting a driver's license in the UAE must be in the Emirate that issued your visa. For example, if you set up a company in the Fujairah freezone, you must obtain your driver's license from the Fujairah Road and Traffic Authority.

Living in Dubai can be more expensive, but it is a more vibrant region. The most fashionable restaurants, largest malls, and amusement parks are located there. Generally, the infrastructure is more advanced, and you have more options for schools, colleges, clinics, hospitals and grocery stores.

Regardless of your location in the Emirate and visa, living, studying, working or running a business in the UAE is great.

Dubai Visa and Investment Centre is available to guide you in applying for ant Dubai residence visa. Call us today on 971544563095 to speak with our consultants.