Types of visas in Abu Dhabi UAE-Immigration and visa process UAE

Visa and Immigration in UAE

General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs-Abu DhabiOpens in a new tab. (GDRFA) provides services related to security, nationality, residence and passports.

It is a mandatory requirement to register a new company’s name with GDRFAOpens in a new tab. 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 LabourOpens in a new tab. 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

GCC Citizens

Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia) do not need a visa.

GCC Residents

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

  1. Sponsor’s monthly salary must be AED 6,000 or more
  2. 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.

UAE LABOUR LAWOpens in a new tab.

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 MenonOpens in a new tab.


Deepak is a passionate blogger with interests in bitcoin, online marketing, and writing.

20 thoughts on “Types of visas in Abu Dhabi UAE-Immigration and visa process UAE

  1. good eve sir….sir i am under in housemaid visa me and my employer have an argument about my salary it because it been delayed for a month now and i decided i want to cancel my contract with him even thought i only work for him for 5 months but he threaten me that he will file a runaway case even though i didnt runaway from him…what will i do for him to cancel me and give me back may passport and if ever he will cancel me do i get a ban?
    what will be my steps for me to release from my contract legally……

  2. Hello Sir/Madam,
    I was in Abu Dhabi last 3 month on visit visa and I had to pay over-staying fines for 10 days when i was exiting due to my visa expiration. Is it’ll be problem when I’m applying visit visa again.

  3. Savvy discussion ! I loved the information , Does anyone know where my assistant can locate a template CA CDE B1-1 version to edit ?

  4. I would like to know how many days for releasing visit visa ? This ramadan ?
    Because my friend exit june 21 but till now there’s no visa coming.

  5. Good day,
    My employment visa is under Abu Dhabi government but resides in Dubai.It is valid for only a year and I’m working as a housemaid for months already. My question is,is it considered my employment contract because I haven’t signed an agreement between me and my employer?
    I even asked for a labour contract but said my residence permit is enough.When I asked for released,she asked for 10,000 AED for all expenses and even threatened me to send to the police.The salary is only 1,300Aed/month for a Filipina maid.Does the law here is equally applied for us?
    Please,I need some advice.
    Thank you.

  6. My employment visa is under abu dhabi government but resides in dubai.Now,my visa is only valid for a year,does it mean i can look for another job?As far as i know,my employer and i doesnt have a labour contract.Im a servant.

  7. hello

    My father is very old age near about 85 I want to bring him here on visit is there any kind of restriction or conditions? please assist me.

  8. Hi there my work visa app is approved and its being 10 days before. now they are asking me that its takes 10 to 15 days more to get my employment visa. Is it true? could some body tells me about it, because they already taken 3500 AED in advance from me.

  9. My Daughter is here in Abu dhabi by my visit visa, visa is going to expiry on 15 th of January 2016.
    What is the etenion for mality for another 2 months.

  10. I signed a letter of requirement the may 6 and I exit the contry le may 8.
    Now I waits my work visa .
    I would like to know how much days for do the work visa

  11. 3time my visa was rejected please may I know the reason (M 2615908 )Artani Mohammed Ayub )( +919892358995) (+919820338662 )this is my name and number

    1. Artani,
      Sorry to hear that.
      But I can not do anything is this case as this is a decision by the Authorities.

  12. Dear Deepak,

    My Labour contract is already cancelled by my employer. but the residence visa is still active almost a month my labour contract has been cancelled, and my employer doesn’t want to give me my passport.

    what will happen if they still refuse cancel the residence visa?
    They can file absconding against me? even i still have communication with them?
    Because they want me to be blacklisted

    thank you

  13. Respected Sir/Madam.
    I am working in Abu Dhabi from last four years. My brother was came here in Abu Dhabi on visit visa, he get the offer letter from one company, now he went back to home country.

    company was told him within 15 days we will send an employment visa, but now they are saying it will take two months,

    If they not provide visa what i can do.
    Please help .
    waiting for positive response.

    Home Country Pakistan
    Visa Status: Mechanical Engineer

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    Sir .bellal.bangladesh biman.08yars.s.s.c.pass

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