The UAE offers two types of work visas:

1) For entrepreneurs, businessmen and company owners in the Emirates, who get visas for themselves, their family members and their subordinates.

2) For employees of companies operating within the Emirates.

We will discuss the main steps of applying for a work visa for employees of a company that is legally registered in the state in which they operate.

Also, we will discuss how to apply for work visas for your subordinates.


The list of documents may vary slightly from one free economic zone to another.

An individual should always prepare the following documents to obtain an entry permit to work in any free zone:

Copies of the organization's license and migration card;

Photocopies of passports and valid visas of all owners of the organization;

A photocopy of the employee's passport and his/her diploma of higher education, confirmed by apostille;

Photo of the employee for documents.

➦ The free zones have their own list of positions (usually low-skilled or non-degree positions), which do not require a diploma. For some zones, it is not necessary to provide a diploma for a company's managers and owners, if their names are on the license.


In order to have your diploma legalized by a consular authority, you must:

  • Notarize a copy of the diploma.
  • Verify the notary's seal at the Ministry of Justice.
  • Verify the diploma at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The diploma should be validated at the UAE Consulate in the country if one is located there (if not, a stamp will be placed upon arrival in the country of destination). Upon arrival in the United Arab Emirates, the diploma is additionally stamped by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

➦ The higher education document must be translated (apostilled) into English or Arabic after all stamps have been applied.


Follow the procedure for obtaining a visa quota.

The employing organization sends an application to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE, formerly Ministry of Labor). Details the number of visas required, the positions of employees, and each employee's gender.

Quotes can be completed within two to ten days.

Get approval from MOHRE for each employee.

The employer prepares one package of the necessary official papers of the company (enclosing there the license, "labor" card of the organization, e-signature card of the local sponsor or other authorized person) and separately prepares documents for each employee. Then, using the MOHRE system, each employee receives an individual Job Offer (work contract), specifying the financial and other terms of cooperation: salary, bonuses and other accruals, vacation time, conditions of termination of employment, etc. The contract must be signed by both parties and the original is sent to the MOHRE. 

Obtain permits for employees, which usually takes five days. 

Pay a deposit on the employee, according to the type of company, usually AED 3,000 ($822).

Get the subordinate an entry permit to the UAE.

This can be done by the immigration office. Document forms can be filled out online. Depending on the current location of the employee (whether in the United Arab Emirates or not), the cost of such documents may vary. Permits are issued within 10 days.

A medical examination is required in the UAE.

This is mandatory for employees. Fingerprinting and submitting documentation to obtain a Resident Identification Card are also required.

 Obtaining an employment card.

Upon successful completion of the medical examination and other procedures, the employer obtains the employee's employment card and work visa in the passport. The employer submits the relevant documents.


The original permit should accompany the traveler when he/she arrives in the Emirates. This is crucial, since it is stamped at the border crossing.

How long is the validity of the work permit?

A work permit has a 60-day validity period. An employee of the organization must travel to the Emirates during this period and obtain the coveted entry stamp. A sign-up contract with the employer and the employee must be signed within 60 days of the employer's request. Then the employee and his employer must pass a medical examination, submit fingerprints for Emirates ID, and apply for a visa.

What is the process of getting a Resident Identification Card (Resident ID) for a subordinate?

The resident ID is issued simultaneously with the documents needed for obtaining a resident work permit. The application for a resident ID must be filled out at one of the authorized typing centers in the Emirates. Please bring your passport and your entry permit. After that, fingerprints and a photo are taken in the official Emirates ID Authority centers.   

Once the visa is pasted into the passport, it takes 2-3 weeks to prepare the ID card.  

The ID card is valid as long as the visa ( 2 or 3 years). 

The UAE requires a medical examination for obtaining a work visa for a resident. How do I pass the medical examination?

The examination takes place at authorized typing centers. In addition to the original passport and entry permit with stamp, you will also need two photos for the documents. During the registration process, you will be asked to fill out a special form and take tests. Depending on which package you have purchased (urgent, VIP, regular), the examination can take from 2 hours to 2 days.

How much does it cost to get a visa for a subordinate?  

The price varies according to the free zone. Below are a few examples of work visas with different prices:

At UAQ FTZ the price is AED 2,200 ($602);

In DMCC - AED 3,610 ($990);

RAKIA from AED 4,550 ($1,245);

Creative City - AED 4,950 ($1,355);

The organization must also pay a deposit for each employee in addition to visa fees. Depending on the free zone, the deposit may be:

  • Fixed with no reference to the employee's position or salary;
  • Equal to the sum of one employee's monthly salary and the cost of the plane ticket (in accordance with IATA rates and depending on the nationality of the employee).

For example, at DMCC, the fixed deposit per employee is AED 3,000 ($822).

The amount of the deposit is refunded to the company after the end of the employee's work visa.

Moreover, each employee is covered by a medical insurance program. One employee's annual insurance starts from AED 500 ($140).

What are the chances of getting a visa refusal for a subordinate?

Yes, and without any explanation. Middle East citizens in the "risk group" are frequently refused entry due to security concerns.

Employing companies can make a second attempt to obtain a visa for their employees in such cases.