How do the UAE's family sponsorship visa rules work?

Foreign workers hoping to bring close family members to the UAE will no longer be restricted by their profession

Abu Dhabi - 12th July  ,  2008 - A photograph of the top of my UAE Visa to go with A story Karen Attwood is doing on visas   ( Andrew Parsons  /  The National )

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Foreign workers in the UAE from all professions can now sponsor family members to live with them – as long as they earn a certain salary that can support them financially.

Sponsoring a wife and child

If a male worker earns a minimum salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 plus accommodation costs, his wife can also move to the UAE under his sponsorship.

The couple must submit an authenticated marriage certificate, translated into Arabic by a certified official.

In some cases, a Muslim resident may be allowed to sponsor two wives if he meets certain terms set by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

A daughter can be sponsored up to any age if she is unmarried, and sons can be sponsored up to the age of 18 – unless studying abroad, when the son can be sponsored up to the age of 21. New graduates are offered a one-year residence visa, with a one-off fee of Dh100, though that will be extended to two years soon.

Proof must be provided of education, and a deposit must be placed with the Directorate. The student must enter the UAE once every six months for the visa to remain valid.

Step-children can be sponsored if accompanied by a no-objection letter from the child’s biological parent.

What documents do I need?

Applications can be completed online or through a registered typing office.

The documents needed include:

  • Passport copies and photos of the spouse and children.
  • Medical clearance certificate for all dependents.
  • Legalised marriage certificate, registered tenancy contract and latest utility bill.
  • Employer salary certificate stating monthly salary.

Can I sponsor my parents?

Yes. Parents can be sponsored for a year if the worker is earning a minimum monthly salary of Dh20,000, or Dh19,000 plus two-bedroom accommodation expenses.

A deposit must be paid as a guarantee for each, as stipulated by the respective immigration department. This can vary between emirates.

Both parents must be sponsored together and a worker must prove they are the sole financial provider for both parents.

If one of the parents has passed away or they are divorced, related official documents must be provided.

How long is the visa valid for?

Visas are issued for one, two or three years and are renewed under the same conditions as new visas.

Dependents have 30 days from the expiry date to obtain a new residence permit, or risk a fine and illegal status.

A resident sponsor has 60 days to apply for his dependents’ residence visa after entering the UAE.

Single mothers can sponsor their child, but must earn a minimum salary of Dh10,000 and provide documents stipulated by the emirate where the family will live.