How to sponsor parents in UAE: What you need to know about visa sponsorship rules

Sponsoring parents to come to the UAE requires a minimum monthly salary and a property with at least two bedrooms

Families spend time at the corniche in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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In the UAE, residents with certain visas can sponsor family members to live in the country without a job.

If you are unemployed or a student under the age of 18, you need to be sponsored by a family member to remain in the Emirates year-round.

In October 2022, changes to the law meant that residents can now bring their parents and their spouse's parents without having to show they are the only source of support.

However, a minimum monthly salary is still required.

Here is everything you need to know about sponsoring family members.

What monthly income is required to sponsor parents or underage siblings?

To sponsor parents or underage siblings, the minimum salary threshold required is higher than for a wife or child.

Residents can sponsor up to five family members if they earn a minimum monthly salary of Dh10,000.

This increases to six family members if they earn at least Dh15,000 a month.

For more than six family members, dispensation is required.

The fee for sponsoring parents is Dh1,750, plus a refundable Dh5,000 deposit.

“Setting a minimum salary as a condition for expatriates wishing to sponsor family members is only to ensure they will be properly provided for,” said Nida Al Masri, a legal consultant at Justitia Advocates and Legal Consultants in Dubai.

“The terms and conditions are important to regulate this procedure, which reflects the UAE's commitment to supporting its expatriate community and creating a more inclusive society.”

Which accommodation is required to sponsor parents?

The law requires that sponsors are already in suitable accommodation before they apply for the family visa.

This is classified as at least a two-bedroom house or flat, before they apply for the family visa.

They must also present supporting documents that prove family ties at residency centres.

What documents do you need to sponsor parents?

The following documents should also be submitted:

  • Passport-size photograph of the family member
  • Copy of the family member's valid passport
  • Copy of the resident's Emirates ID, passport and residency page.
  • Proof of residence, such as a lease contract
  • Labour contract
  • Three months of bank statements for the resident

Can a woman sponsor her family?

In Abu Dhabi, a woman can sponsor her husband and children if the request is approved by the authorities, according to a customer service agent of the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship – ICA.

“She should have a valid work visa and her monthly salary should be at least Dh5,000. The cost of the one-year visa is Dh2,575 and it can be renewed for one more year,” said the executive.

In Dubai, a woman can sponsor her family, but her monthly salary should be at least Dh4,000 and her request must be approved by the GDRFA, the immigration authority.

“A wife can sponsor the family, but she has to obtain an no objection certificate from the husband. The NOC has to be notarised by the Dubai court notary service,” an Amer customer service representative said.

A single mother can also sponsor her child.

What does it cost to sponsor a spouse or child?

A husband can sponsor his immediate family members, such as his wife and children, if they have a minimum salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 plus accommodation.

If these conditions are met, the husband must open a registration file.

This costs between Dh200 to Dh300 if they are outside the UAE, rising to up to four times as much if they are in the country, due to the price of the entry permit and the charge for change of status, according to the Amer Centre for visa services.

The medical test, Emirates ID typing and visa stamping will come to around Dh1,000 altogether. All costs are per person and there is no security deposit needed. Medical tests are not needed for children under 18.

Parents can sponsor sons who are 18 and can continue to do so until they are 25. Unmarried daughters and disabled children are granted a residency permit regardless of their age.

The documents and the visa costs are the same and it is valid for two years.

90-day visit visa for family members

UAE residents can apply for 90-day entry permits for family members, rather than a 60-day visa, before sponsorship is finalised.

“The resident should have a refundable deposit of Dh1,000 to issue a visit visa for the family members,” the Amer Centre representative said.

The fee for an entry permit is Dh1,020 and the following documents should be submitted:

  • Passport-size photograph of the family member
  • copy of the family member's valid passport
  • copy of the resident's Emirates ID
  • proof of residence, such as a lease contract or hotel reservation
  • copy of a return ticket

Visas can also be applied for online at the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security website, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs website, or on the department's app.

Need more help?

The Federal Authority for Identity and citizenship has a toll-free number, 600 522222, and a feedback platform.

In Dubai, check, or call on their toll-free number, 800-5111.

Updated: January 29, 2024, 6:48 AM