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Obtaining Residency in the UAE: Visa Types and Application Process

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a thriving hub for expats seeking professional opportunities and a high standard of living. With its robust economy, modern infrastructure, and diverse culture, it's no wonder that many individuals aspire to obtain residency in this dynamic country.

Want to understand the various visa types available for residency in the UAE? Delve into the different types and the application process in our short guide providing you with valuable insights to help you navigate through the requirements and procedures.

What are the different visa types for residency?

Employment Visa: The most common way to obtain residency in the UAE is through employment. To be eligible, you must secure a job offer from a UAE employer who will sponsor your visa. The employer will handle the application process, including obtaining the necessary work permits and documents from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Additionally, for individuals who are not employed by UAE-based employers, there are alternative solutions available. Some organizations, such as the ERG Group, provide valuable services tailored to freelancers, self-employed individuals, and remote workers who aspire to obtain residency in the UAE. These services assist in gathering and organizing the necessary documentation, such as income statements, to demonstrate a stable and official income source.


The availability of official income documents is important not only for residency purposes but also for banking compliance. Financial institutions often require official income proof to ensure compliance with banking regulations. By providing these documents, individuals can meet the requirements for opening bank accounts and accessing various financial services within the UAE.

Moreover, having official income documents also has significant benefits when it comes to securing mortgage loans. When applying for a mortgage in the UAE, banks and lenders evaluate the financial stability and repayment capacity of applicants. By presenting official income documents, individuals strengthen their mortgage applications, as they provide evidence of a reliable and verifiable source of income. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of obtaining more favorable mortgage terms and conditions, including competitive interest rates and higher loan amounts.

Investor Visa: Individuals who invest a significant amount of capital in a UAE-based business can apply for an investor visa. The specific investment threshold varies depending on the emirate, and applicants may be required to provide proof of their investment and business plan.

Family Visa: If you have a close family member who is a UAE resident or citizen, you can apply for a family visa. This includes spouses, children, and dependent parents. The sponsoring family member must meet specific income and accommodation requirements to qualify.

Student Visa: Students accepted into a recognized educational institution in the UAE can apply for a student visa. The educational institution will assist in the visa application process by providing the necessary documentation, including an admission letter and proof of financial capability.

Real Estate Investor Visa: The UAE offers a unique visa option for individuals who invest in real estate. By purchasing property with a minimum value set by the respective emirate, individuals can qualify for a real estate investor visa. The property must be residential and not mortgaged, and the investor must provide relevant documents, including proof of ownership and a title deed, to initiate the visa application process.

What is the Golden Visa?

A UAE golden visa is one of the most sought-after documents in the UAE.

The Golden Visa is a long-term residency program introduced by the UAE government to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and highly skilled professionals. It grants recipients and their families a 5 or 10-year residency visa, renewable as long as the eligibility criteria are maintained.

The Golden Visa is available to individuals in various fields, including investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, and outstanding students. To qualify, applicants must meet specific criteria related to their field of expertise or investment, such as significant business ownership, exceptional talent, or high academic achievements.

The Golden Visa offers a pathway to long-term residency and brings added benefits, including access to healthcare, education, and business opportunities in the UAE.

What does the application process entail?


  • Employer Sponsorship: For an employment visa, the employer initiates the application process. They will submit the necessary documents to the relevant authorities, including a valid job offer, employment contract, and proof of accommodation.

  • Investor Visa Application: If you plan to obtain residency through investment, you must first establish a business in the UAE. The investor visa application process involves submitting the necessary documents, such as proof of investment, business plan, and legal documents related to the business entity.

  • Family Visa Sponsorship: To apply for a family visa, the sponsoring family member must submit the required documents to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). This typically includes a valid residency permit, proof of relationship, and proof of income or financial capability.

  • Student Visa Application: To obtain a student visa, the applicant must receive an acceptance letter from a recognized educational institution in the UAE. The institution will guide the student through the visa application process, which involves submitting the required documents, such as the admission letter, valid passport, and proof of financial capability.

  • Medical Examination and Biometrics: Once the visa application is approved, the applicant must undergo a medical examination at a designated medical center. The medical examination ensures that the individual meets the health requirements for residing in the UAE. Additionally, biometric data, including fingerprints and a photograph, will be collected as part of the visa application process. These biometric details are used for identification purposes and to enhance security measures.

  • Emirates ID: After successfully completing the medical examination, the applicant can proceed to obtain an Emirates ID. The Emirates ID is a mandatory identification card for all UAE residents. It serves as an official document for various purposes, including opening bank accounts, accessing government services, and proving identity within the country.

The processing time for obtaining a visa in the UAE can vary depending on the type of visa and individual circumstances, but it typically ranges from a few days to a few weeks.

Obtaining residency in the UAE is an exciting opportunity for individuals and business professionals looking to explore the thriving business environment and enjoy the diverse culture and lifestyle the country offers.

Whether you are seeking employment, planning to invest, reuniting with family, or pursuing higher education, understanding the different visa types and the application process is essential.

If you're considering obtaining residency in the UAE and want professional guidance throughout the application process, the Eastern Region Group can assist you. Our team of experienced consultants specializes in immigration services and can provide comprehensive support tailored to your specific needs.

From visa applications to document preparation and submission, we ensure a smooth and efficient process, saving you time and effort. Don't navigate the complexities of residency applications alone.

Contact the Eastern Region Group today and let us help you make your dream of living and working in the UAE a reality.

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