Can I sponsor my adult son so that he can work in Dubai?

While adult daughters can be sponsored by their parents, the rules are different for male offspring

The rules governing the sponsorship of adult children are very clear. Andrew Parsons  /  The National
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My son is in Dubai on a visit visa and looking for a job. Is it possible for him to get a residence visa if we or one of our relatives sponsor him? Once he is under relative's sponsorship, will he be able to get a driving licence?  Can he also change to an employer sponsorship and then start working? MY, Saudi Arabia

The rules regarding sponsorship in the UAE are fairly strict and sponsoring adults, no matter how closely related, are also subject to regulations. Under current legislation unmarried daughters may be sponsored by their father, assuming he is resident in the UAE, no matter their age, but this is not the case for sons. They can no longer be sponsored by their father once they reach the age of 18 and so must obtain their own residency visa to remain in the UAE. They can do this either by finding permanent employment and being sponsored by their employer, or by remaining in education and obtaining a student visa via their college or university. An uncle cannot sponsor a nephew unless there is no closer relative to do so, however, this only applies when they are under the age of 18.  In the situation presented, MY’s son can only remain in the UAE if he finds employment and he can only be sponsored by his employer. Once he has an employment related residency visa he will be able to apply for a UAE driving licence assuming his employer provides a letter of no objection.


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I have worked for an Abu Dhabi company for the last two years and was recently given one month's notice because the company is closing. My basic salary is Dh5,000 per month. What gratuity am I entitled to? Am I eligible for 21 days or two months' salary. SB Abu Dhabi

The standard notice period, in accordance with UAE Labour Law is 30 days so unless there is a formal contract that states otherwise, one month’s notice of redundancy is correct per Article 117.

If someone is made redundant, they are eligible to receive the full amount of the end of service gratuity. Article 132 states, ‘the worker having spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end of service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service, and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows:  The wage of twenty-one days for each of the first five years of service.’  This is calculated using the basic salary only, not any allowances, and is based on the full period of service including the notice period. If exactly two years have been worked, then SB would be eligible for a gratuity payment of 42 days salary in total. For any partial years, there should be a pro-rata calculation. The gratuity should be paid at the same time as the final salary.


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I have a driving licence that was issued to me in Pakistan. Am I allowed to use this to drive in Dubai or the UAE? If not, how can I get a licence to drive here. AJ, Dubai

Only tourists are permitted to drive in the UAE using a foreign driving licence, and then with certain restrictions, and anyone with a residency visa must apply for a UAE licence. This must be with the approval of the sponsor, whether this is the employer, a spouse, or a parent. People of a number of nationalities are eligible to apply for a simple licence transfer without having to take a test. This applies to people who have been citizens of these countries and have licences issued from them too. The current list includes citizens of Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. This is subject to change and is updated on the RTA website. People from all other countries will need to sit a new test in order to obtain a UAE driving licence.

This comprises both a theory and a practical test and people also need to register with one of the approved driving schools, of which there are six in Dubai, and take a number of lessons. The individual needs to register at one of the driving schools, with their passport, and the school should take care of the rest of the paperwork. An eye test is required from an approved optician although some schools have the facility to do this.

In addition to the cost of lessons, there are fees for a learning permit, the theory test and the driving test, as well as for licence itself. The driving schools levy additional fees for processing so fees will vary. Further details can be found on the RTA website and on the websites of the driving schools.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.