The United Arab Emirates has become a desired destination to live and work for people across the world in recent years, offering plentiful job opportunities and a high standard of living – as well as its low-tax status.
Some people come to start an online business in Dubai without investment, others to take up jobs, or to be with partners or family. Some take up jobs with the aim of upgrading their skills or gaining additional qualifications by undertaking affordable courses on Udemy.
But people who live and work in the UAE need to have a visa to do so, and this must be renewed periodically. Visas can be issued for one, two or three years – even up to 10 in some cases – and there are no limits on how many times they can be renewed.
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There are various visas that people can apply for when they want to live and work in the UAE.
Residence visas are needed to live in the UAE, and an employment visa is needed if you want to work in the Emirates. There are various sub-types of employment visa for people with limited skills and partners/investors in a business.
All of these are temporary and have to be renewed periodically if you wish to remain in the UAE.
How much it costs to renew a UAE visa is dependent on which type of visa you have – employment, limited skills or partner/investor – and the cost can vary markedly.
The cost of each visa comprises several elements, which is where the variation comes from. For an employment visa, costs include government fees, PRO fees and fees for medical and Emirates ID. There is also a labour fee, which can be up to AED 5,000, depending on what business you are in.
Limited skill worker visas meanwhile also have an insurance fee, which can be from AED 400 to AED 5,250.
Finally, partner and investor visas often include typing fees for medical, Emirates IR and residence, as well as a PRO fee – and this can add about AED 4,800 to the cost.
Renewing a UAE visa usually takes about five business days, although if there are any mistakes on your application form, this can hold the process up.
The process of renewing a UAE visa is much the same as making a first application. Many of the same documents need to be included, such as a valid residency permit and an insurance card – if you live in Abu Dhabi or Dubai – and you must pass a medical fitness test.
Often you also have to apply to renew your identity card before embarking on the visa renewal process. Proof that this has been done – or an application has been made – may be needed before you can make an application to renew your visa.
If you have an employer from the private sector sponsoring you, they have to submit copies of their firm card and trade licence, and your renewed labour card (a receipt is also required if you are aged 60 or more).
Meanwhile those sponsored by a member of their family must submit a copy of the sponsor’s employment contact, along with a salary certificate, a tenancy contract and recent utility bill.
There are also certain salary requirements that have to be considered. A husband who is his wife or children’s sponsor must have a monthly wage of at least AED 4,000. Meanwhile a wife sponsoring a family have to earn AED 10,000 or AEDD 8,000 plus accommodation in Abu Dhabi.
People sponsoring their dependent parents have to earn at least AED 20,000.
Passport sized photographs are also needed in the visa renewal process. These should be two inches x two inches (50cm x 50cm).
This must accompany the completed application form, whether this is done online or physically, which needs to be signed by your sponsor.
Your passport also has to be submitted with the application so it can be stamped.
Your sponsor – be that an employer or an individual – is responsible for renewing your residency visa in time before it expires. If this is done correctly and in good time, you can live and work in the UAE until the new visa expires.
But, if your sponsor does not renew the visa in time, a person is only given 30 days’ grace by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) to stay in the UAE before they have to leave.
If you stay in the UAE once those 30 days have expired, you are liable to be fined. The fines are AED 25 per day for the first 180 days after the grace period expires, AED 50 per day for the second 180 days and AED 100 per day for any time after that.
Given how quickly those fines would rack up, it is easier and cheaper to get your visa renewed.
If your visa has expired, it makes sense for the reasons detailed above to get it renewed within the 30-day grace period.
Renewing an expired UAE residency visa is relatively simple: it can be done online through filling out the application form on the portal on the GDFRA website, or in person at any UAE typing centre.
There are specialists that can help with the application process and ensure that all the information is including in the application form and all relevant supporting documents are included.
Renewing a visa is usually done in the 30 days before it expires, or the 30 days after it does. Renewals can be made up to six months before it expires, but special permission has to be applied for from the GDFRA for this, including details of the reason for the early renewal application.
Dtec can help to make the business set-up process smoother, including assisting and advising on the visa application and/or renewal process to ensure that application forms are filled out correctly the first time and all relevant documents are included with it when it is sent off, to ensure the renewal process is completed as quickly and as stress-free as possible.
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