How to apply for a UAE employment visa - Middle East News 247
July 18, 2024

How to apply for a UAE employment visa

For expatriates seeking to work in the Gulf nation

Moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for employment is an exciting opportunity that attracts diverse expatriates from around the globe. However, navigating the intricacies of obtaining an employment visa in the UAE can be complex and challenging without proper guidance.

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the process, outlining the various types of employment visas available, the necessary documentation, and the step-by-step application procedures.

UAE employment visa types

When considering working in the UAE for a private employer or a government department, it is crucial to understand the three types of UAE employment visas available:

1. Standard employment visa

The standard employment visa is employer-sponsored and allows expatriates to live and work in the UAE for two to three years. Renewal is contingent upon employer sponsorship and compliance with UAE labour laws.

2. Green visa

Introduced in 2022, the Green visa is a game-changer for freelancers and self-employed individuals. It offers a five-year residency option without employer sponsorship. This visa provides flexibility and the ability to sponsor family members, giving you the freedom to pursue your career in the UAE.

3. Golden visa

The Golden visa is an extended residency permit valid for 10 years, designed for professionals with exceptional qualifications in fields like medicine, science, arts, and more. It provides privileges such as family sponsorship and the ability to stay outside the UAE for extended periods without visa implications, making you feel valued and appreciated in the UAE.

UAE employment visa eligibility criteria

To obtain a UAE employment visa, applicants must meet specific criteria:

  • The employee must be over the age of 18.
  • The employer must hold a valid operating licence and meet UAE labour regulations.
  • The employee’s role must align with the company’s activities.
  • Educational qualifications, typically a high school diploma or higher, are required.
  • There is no maximum age limit, although additional fees apply for employees over 65.

How to obtain a UAE employment visa

  1. Apply for entry visa quota approval: If located in a UAE free zone, the employer needs quota approval from the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), which varies by free zone area.
  2. Submit signed employment contract: The employer has to submit a signed employment contract to the MoHRE.
  3. Employment visa application: The employer must apply for the employee’s employment visa with MoHRE.
  4. Receive employment entry visa: Upon approval, the MoHRE will issue an employment entry visa, valid for two months or six months for Golden visa holders, allowing the employee to enter the UAE legally.
  5. Emirates ID application: Upon arrival in one of the several emirates in the UAE, the employee must apply for an Emirates ID, a primary form of identification linked to the residence visa.
  6. Medical checkup: After obtaining a UAE employment visa, the employee must undergo a medical screening at an approved UAE health centre.
  7. Submit labour contract: The employer must upload the labour contract to the MoL website within 14 days of the medical screening.
  8. Health insurance: The employee must have health insurance provided by the employer in Abu Dhabi and Dubai or self-purchased in other emirates.
  9. Receive employment visa: The MoHRE will issue the official employment visa approximately five days after the employee completes all requirements, allowing the employee to commence employment legally.
  10. Residence visa: After receiving the employment visa, the employee can apply for a UAE residence visa, which is essential for living in the UAE, including sponsoring family members.


Moving to the UAE for employment presents many opportunities, but obtaining an employment visa demands meticulous attention to detail. By understanding the visa types and eligibility criteria and following the step-by-step application process outlined in this guide, expatriates can confidently navigate the complexities.

Featured image: The UAE attracts expatriates from all over the world keen to work in the Gulf country. Credit: Adam Le Somme

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers trending business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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