III: An Overview of the UAE Visa Types (10 things to know before setting up a business in the UAE)

16 May, 2023 - UAE Life & Economy

Visa requirements and policies in the UAE are subject to change, and the government may introduce new rules and regulations at any time. It’s essential to stay up-to-date with these changes as you plan your business expansion into the region.

There are several types of UAE visa (including jobseeker, study, transit, business, residency and more) that have made it easier for businesses and individuals to live and work in the country and below we list the most relevant to businesses and entrepreneurs as they embark on their journey in the UAE.

Employment/ Working Visa

The employment visa permits a foreign national to work in the UAE for a period of 2 years. The visa requires a work contract and approval from the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), which regulates the country’s labour market. To acquire a working visa, the usual process involves the employer in the UAE sponsoring the applicant and facilitating their visa application.

Golden Visa

Introduced in 2020, the Golden Visa offers 10-year residency to foreigners, without the need for a local sponsor or full-time employment.  This visa is specifically designed for investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, exceptional students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, as well as frontline heroes.

Green Visa

Introduced by the UAE government in 2021, the Green Visa aims to attract Freelancers, self-employed, and highly skilled professionals to the country. This visa is a type of residence visa, that allows its holder to sponsor himself/herself for 5 years, eliminating the need for a UAE national or employer to sponsor his/her visa. This visa is renewable for the same term upon its expiry and allows to retain talented individuals to continue living and working in the UAE.

Visa-Free Entry (On Arrival)

The UAE has visa-free entry (on arrival) agreements with several countries, including the UK, EU, USA, Canada, Australia etc. Nationals of these countries can enter the UAE without a visa and stay for up to 30 days. For individuals/ nationals of countries that this does not apply to, see the below ‘Visit Visa’ section for more detail.

It is important to understand the different offers and models before you come so you make the correct & compliant choice.

Visit Visa

The UAE grants a foreigner a multi-entry or one-entry visa that allows him/her to visit the country for a specific purpose. A visit visa is also called an entry permit, and its purposes include tourism, vising a friend or a relative, a mission, exploring business or job opportunities, treatment, study and training, and transit.

The different types of visit visas are as follows:

  • 30 day single entry visa – approx. AED 330
  • 30 days single entry multiple visa – approx. AED 430
  • 60 day single entry visa – approx. AED 470
  • 60 days single multiple entry visa – approx. AED 670
  • 90 day single entry visa – approx. AED 630
  • 90 days single multiple entry visa – approx. AED 930

For more details visit https://smartservices.icp.gov.ae/

Temporary Work Mission Visa

The Mission Visa is a type of permit issued for professionals who would like to come to the UAE to work with a local company for a specific short-term project. An employee is considered a probationary worker under this type of visa. Mission Visas are based on a single entry to the UAE only and have a validity of 90 days (3 months). This means that any worker on a Mission Visa cannot exit the country until the end of the visa, if they do leave before visa expiry, the visa will automatically be cancelled and if they wish to return, the Mission Visa must be applied for again.

Business Exploration Visa

The job seeker visa or the job exploration visa is a part of the new entry permits introduced by the UAE to attract young talents and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities available in the country. Moreover, the job exploration visa can be obtained and applied for without the need for sponsors or a host. The UAE job seeker visa will be issued with three category options, including for a period of 60, 90 and 120 days. Therefore, job seekers will have around 4 months to explore the job market in the UAE. The visa fee for different categories of the UAE job seeker visa is as follows:

  • the 60 days visa – approx. Dh1,495 (USD 407)
  • the 90 days visa – approx. Dh1,655 (USD 450)
  • the 120 days visa – approx. Dh1,815 (USD 494)

The above-mentioned price is the total fee, including a security deposit of Dh1,025 (USD 328). For more details visit https://smartservices.icp.gov.ae/

Remote Work Visa

In 2021 during the Covid pandemic, the UAE introduced a new remote work visa for employees of foreign companies who are working remotely in the UAE. This visa allows remote workers to live and work in the UAE for up to one year while continuing to be employed by their foreign company.