Expat Life in Dubai
5 min read

Settling in Dubai: Navigating the Complexities of Immigration and Visas

Learn about Dubai's immigration and visa requirements, including work, investor, family, tourist, and residency visas, and essential regulations for living and working legally.

Published on
March 14, 2023

Visas and Immigration Requirements for Dubai: Your Guide to a Successful Move

Dubai, known as the city of dreams, is a top destination for people from all over the world looking to further their careers or start a new life. With its world-class infrastructure, modern amenities, and diverse cultural landscape, it's no wonder that Dubai attracts millions of visitors each year. However, if you are considering settling in Dubai, you need to be aware of the immigration and visa requirements to ensure a smooth and successful move.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of visas available in Dubai and the immigration regulations that you need to be aware of to live and work legally in the city.

Types of Visas for Dubai

Dubai offers a variety of visas depending on the purpose of your visit. Here are some of the most common visas available:

Work Visa:

A work visa is required if you want to work in Dubai. Your employer must apply for a work visa on your behalf and prove that you have the necessary skills or qualifications required in Dubai. The cost of the visa must also be covered by your employer.

Investor Visa:

An investor visa is for people who want to do business in Dubai. You must meet minimum business requirements and provide financial proof to obtain an investor visa.

Family Visa:

A family visa is for people who want to move to Dubai with their family. The sponsor, usually the employer, must prove that they are financially able to support the family.

Tourist Visa:

A tourist visa is valid for a limited period of time and allows people to spend their holidays in Dubai. However, tourist visas do not include a work permit and cannot be extended.

Residency Visa:

There are various residency visas available, including long-term residency visas and retirement visas. These visas have different eligibility criteria and requirements.

Immigration Regulations for Dubai

Dubai has strict immigration regulations, and it is essential to comply with them to live and work legally in the city. Here are some important regulations to keep in mind:

Entry Permit:

You must obtain an entry permit before arriving in Dubai. Your employer or sponsor can apply for the permit on your behalf.

Medical Examination:

You must undergo a medical examination to obtain a residence visa in Dubai. The examination includes a blood test and a chest X-ray to screen for infectious diseases.

Emirates ID:

You must obtain an Emirates ID, which is a national identity card for residents of the United Arab Emirates. The ID contains your personal information and is required for various transactions in Dubai.

Renewal of Visas:

You must renew your visa before it expires to continue living and working legally in Dubai. If the length of stay is exceeded, a fine for the number of overdue days will be due on departure.


Can I apply for a visa myself, or do I need an employer or sponsor?

You can apply for a tourist visa or a residency visa yourself, but you will need an employer or sponsor to apply for a work or family visa on your behalf.

Can I work on a tourist visa?

No, a tourist visa does not include a work permit, and working on a tourist visa is illegal.

How long does it take to obtain a visa for Dubai?

The processing time for visas varies depending on the type of visa and your nationality. It is advisable to apply well in advance and allow ample time for processing. We recommend that you allow at least 2 weeks when applying for a residence visa.


Dubai is a vibrant and exciting city that offers endless opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, it is crucial to understand the different types of visas and immigration regulations before making the move to Dubai. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure a smooth and successful transition to life in Dubai. Remember to research the necessary steps well in advance and have all the necessary documents and evidence in place before making the move.

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