No UAE visa stamping: Step-by-step guide to getting residency under new process

Residents no longer need to go through separate processes for visa and Emirates ID application

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Thu 14 Apr 2022, 1:36 PM

Last updated: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 11:31 PM

UAE residents’ Emirates IDs now officially serve as their residency documents, having replaced the visa stickers stamped on to passports.

Since April 11, residency applications - new or renewal - have been unified, and residents do not need to go through separate processes for visa and Emirates ID.

Previously, the pink-coloured visa sticker on passports served as the primary residency document. Photocopies had to be submitted for different services requiring residence proof.

While the delivery of Emirates IDs may take some time, digital versions of the Emirates IDs and visa stickers are accessible instantly on designated apps.

Here is a step-by-step guide on getting a residency visa now that the visa stamping process has been scrapped.

Who can become residents in the UAE?

Foreigners can live as residents in the UAE if they are:

> Employed by a company in the country. In this case, the company will apply and sponsor the residence visa

> Employed by the government sector. In this case, the government entity will apply and sponsor the visa

> Business investors in the UAE can start the process by themselves and apply for their visa under the sponsorship of their company’s registered name

> Buying a property in the UAE. In this case, the property developer will sponsor the property owner’s residence visa

> Studying at a university in the UAE. In this case, the university will apply and sponsor the visa under the educational institution’s name

> Dependents who are sponsored by:

  • someone who is employed in the UAE
  • an investor/business owner in the UAE
  • a property owner in the UAE.

Dependents include children, parents, maids and close relatives.

How to apply for a residency visa in Dubai

The application process and fees for residency permits, including golden visas, remain the same.

“For employees in the private sector, the organisation completely takes care of the employee working in the application process. The only difference is that companies are no longer required to take the passports from the employees to stamp the visa in,” explained Iqbal Marconi, CEO of ECH, a leading business service provider in the UAE.

Marconi said government authorities had not modified the rate cards for all visa categories. The cost of the new entry permit/sponsor registration is priced at Dh268.90.

Procuring a work visa involves the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) of the Emirate where the person is employed.

Step-by-step visa application process

> The process starts with procuring a work permit for an expatriate from Mohre

> The work permit allows the holder to enter the UAE for employment, and it is valid for two months from the date of issue

> After the employee enters the UAE based on the work permit, the sponsoring company arranges to complete the formalities of medical testing, obtaining the Emirates ID, and labour card

> The work residency permit on the employee’s passport denotes that he is sponsored by the company he is employed in

> After this process, the employee can support their family members

> The Emirates ID - which recently received a significant upgrade - constants all relevant residency-related information on the visa sticker. The new generation of Emirates ID contains personal and professional data, the issuing entity and other readable data via an e-link system


> Once all processes are complete, the Emirates ID is delivered to the applicant

> Since the delivery might take time, applicants can view a digital version of the Emirates ID on the ICP’s smartphone application - ICPUAE - which is available for download on Apple as well as Android devices

> The pink-coloured residency sticker continues to be available virtually via the ICP app

> Residents can get their residency details in a printed format with the authority’s stamp via the app or the website

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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