Visa and Immigration in UAE
Table of Contents
General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs-Abu Dhabi (GDRFA) provides services related to security, nationality, residence and passports.
It is a mandatory requirement to register a new company’s name with GDRFA and the Ministry of Labour.
Since most of the companies recruit their employees from abroad it needs to open a file at these authorities as soon as they received the trade licence.
Upon registering, the company/entity shall be issued a registration card from the Ministry of Labour called ‘Labour Establishment Card‘ and the card issue by GDRFA is called “Immigration Establishment Card‘.
Employment Permits/Visas in Abu Dhabi
Employment Visa or Permit shall be issued by the GDRFA for foreign national in order to work in a company in UAE after the approval from Ministry of Labour. Employment permit/visa allows the holder to enter UAE one for a period of 30 days and is valid for a period of 2 months. When the employee enters the country on the basis of the employment visa, the sponsoring company should arrange to complete the formalities of residence stamping.
The employee must undergo a medical test and obtain a medical fitness certificate and a health card. Once the medical certificate is issued by the health department an application for Labour Card should be submitted to the Ministry of Labour within 30 days of the employee’s entry into the country.
The next step is to submit the application to GDRFA for stamping the residency on employee’s passport. All the above formalities should be completed within 60 days of the arrival of the employee in the UAE.
Investor Visa in Abu Dhabi
An expatriate investor in a Limited Liability Company (LLC) who holds minimum shareholding of AED 70,000 in the share capital shall be issued with an investor visa. Such visas shall be issued directly from GDRFA and does not need the approval from the Ministry of Labour.
Residence Visa in Abu Dhabi
A residence visa is required for those who intend to enter UAE for living indefinitely with a person who already is a resident of the country. This type of visas are issued for spouse and children whose husband/parent is employed in the UAE. It should be noted if the person who is a resident of the UAE stays more than six months period at time out of the country, his permit becomes invalid.
Visa Requirements and Regulations for Visitors to Abu Dhabi
Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia) do not need a visa.
GCC expatriate residents who meet certain conditions may obtain a non-renewable 30-day visa upon arrival at the approved ports of entry.
Procedures for issuing Entry Permit for Visit
This permit is issued by either the GDRFA or Consulate institutions that represent UAE. This permit is given to the foreigner who wants to enter the country for the following reasons:
- Visit a relative or a friend residing in the country
- visit public or private moral identity
- For tourism and under the sponsorship of companies working in tourism sector
- Visit entry permit allows its holder to enter the country once during 2 months from issuing date and say for 30 days form entry date. it can be extended for 2 times to the same period for serious reason and not for tourists
- Entry permit application forms are to be applied after preparing all data and required documents for each case, and the following procedures must be complied:
If the entry to visit a relative or a friend who is a legal resident in the country following are the conditions:
- Visitor must be husband or wife to the sponsor or relative from the first degree. Second degree relatives can be allowed to visit according to approval from the department
- The sponsor must be a local if the visitor is a friend.
- Attach documents to prove marriage or kinship or reasons of the visit.
Sponsor must apply enough guarantees that the sponsored will not violate the rules.
If the visitor is foreign wife to a GCC national, the wife must have valid residency in the husband’s country.
If the entry is to visit public or private moral identity, acceptable reason must be provided to the concerned authorities for the reasons of the visit.
If the entry is for tourism, the sponsor must be a company working in tourism sector and have enough guarantees. The application must be submitted to the department one week before arrival date with a list of the visitors’ names and their personal data. The group of visitors must be 10 persons or more and their tourism program must be attached with the dates of arrival and entry, places of residence and places they are going to visit in the country.
Entry Permit for Employment visa
- GDRFA after approval from the concerned authorities according to each case- can give the foreigner permission to enter the country for work. Consulate institutions that represent UAE outside can issue entry permits for foreigners to work in the government or public sector companies and organizations depending on approval from the place they are going to work in and after approval from GDRFA department
- Work entry permit allows its holder to enter the country once during 2 months from date of issuing and stay for 30 days maximum from the date of entry.
- To obtain work entry permit the person must comply to all procedures and apply with the required documents.
Companies and Organizations operating in the Free Zones
Naturalization and residency department issues work permits to these bodies according to the following:
- These companies and organizations must be located inside the borders of the Free Zones that have been established by decrees or federal or local laws
- work permits for employees in these companies or organizations are given according to the approval from the committee. this committee is formed by ministerial decree according to the regulations approved from the Ministry.
Sports Unions, Clubs and Associations:
GDRFA department issues work permits to these bodies and it must be approved from Ministry of Education and Youth.
Religious and Charity organization:
Naturalization and Residency Department issues work permits to these bodies according to the following
- Attach an approved copy form the federal or local decree to establish it and consider it as public benefit organization
- Approve the form from the concerned government body.
People working in the Police and Security forces:
To issue work permit for people working in police and security forces, the application must be approved from personal affairs in the concerned department.
People working in the Defense and Army:
To issue work permit to people working in the Defense and Army, the following must be done:
- Sign the form from the appointing place
- Approve the form from military investigation in the department that submits the form.
Work Permit for Housemaid sponsored by expatriate:
To issue entry permit for servant to foreign person, the following must be done
- Sponsor’s monthly salary must be AED 6,000 or more
- Sponsor should pay every year to the state treasury an amount equal to the servant’s annual salary and servant’s monthly salary must not be less than AED 400
- Sponsor must not abdicate the servant’s sponsorship during one year till the date of submitting the form.
- Sponsor and sponsored must not be relatives.
- Sponsor must be staying with his family in the country.
- Women can sponsor servants if they are working in rte specialization like medicine, teaching, engineering or similar specializations.
The Federal Law No. (8) of 1980, or the UAE Labour Law, is a comprehensive law that regulates all aspects of labour relations between employers and employees. It is an advanced and balanced law that clarifies the rights and duties of all parties concerned and brings numerous benefits to employees and workers.
The Labour Law was developed in 1980 and was amended by Federal Law NO. (24) of 1981, Federal Law No. (15) of 1985 and Federal Law No. (12) of 1986. In its 193 articles, the law outlines everything form employee entitlements (working hours, holidays, leaves, end of service gratuity, workers’ compensation, etc.) to employment contracts, labour dispute settlement, disciplinary rules, safety and protection and labour inspection, among others.
Wages Protection System WPS
In line with the UAE government efforts and its development and modernization plans which aim at improving government performance and providing better and faster services to the public, the Ministry of Labour has implemented a Wages Protection System. This system is an important step towards ensuring and protecting the rights of workers, and towards establishing trust between establishments and their employees.
Companies are now obliged to transfer the salaries of their employees through the new system within a period not exceeding nice months. Companies that fail to abide by the decision will be subject to punishments and fines, and will not be able to obtain work permits.
Source: Morison Menon
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