Visas for Abu Dhabi
Most expats will be moving to Abu Dhabi under the auspices of an already established residency visa, either through employment sponsorship or family member sponsorship. Without this document, it's difficult to accomplish anything in the UAE.
Tourist visas for Abu Dhabi
Before you make plans to travel to the UAE, make sure you don't need to arrange a visit visa beforehand. Citizens of countries included in the GCC or of countries included in a list put together by the UAE do not need to organise a visa before arriving in the country; the UK, the USA, all Western European countries and Pacific Rim countries appear on this list, but India and Pakistan do not.
Those who do need a visit visa will need the sponsorship of a UAE resident or a UAE-based company.
Formal sponsored visit visas last 60 days, and in some cases, are renewable for a fee. Be sure to find out if you are eligible for a renewable visa if you're planning to stay longer than the allotted number of days. Visit visas are granted to those who are coming on holiday, family visits or long-term business.
Multi-entry tourist visa for Abu Dhabi
If you do business in the UAE frequently, it will be best to get a multi-entry visit visa. You must first obtain a standard, single-entry visit visa and then apply for the multi-entry visa once in the country. The multi-entry visit visa is valid for six months at a time, and each stay within that six month period can last up to 30 days.
Certain nationalities can apply for multi-entry visit visas that cover the course of a longer duration.
Residence visas for Abu Dhabi
Expats who want to obtain a residence visa for Abu Dhabi will need to either be sponsored by an employer, which allows for the right to work and live in the UAE, or by a family member, which only allows for the right to live in the UAE.
► Step 1 - Find a sponsor
In order to obtain a residency visa for work in Abu Dhabi, expats will need to find an employer willing to offer them a job contract and then sponsor their visa. Most companies are familiar with this process, and don't consider it a hassle.
Once you have a confirmed position and contract, your employer should assume responsibility for submitting your visa application.
► Step 2 - Get an entry permit
You'll need to supply your employer with various documents, and it's best to get all documents attested or notarised. Your company will provide you with a comprehensive list of all necessary paperwork required.
They'll then file with the immigration department for an entry permit, which will allow you to come to the country. Once received, they'll most likely email you a copy of this document. Print out your own copy of this permit to show to airport authorities, and then when you arrive in Abu Dhabi retrieve the original copy from the passports section of the Abu Dhabi airport.
► Step 3 - Taking a medical test
Once you arrive in Abu Dhabi, your company has 60 days to file for a formal residency visa, which will allow you to stay in the UAE for three years. In order to start the filing process, you'll need to pass a medical test and present the certificate to your employer.
Blood and chest X-rays are taken during the medical test; individuals who test positive for HIV/AIDS or pulmonary Tuberculosis will not be granted a residency visa and will be deported. Those who test positive for extra-pulmonary Tuberculosis will not be deported.
Furthermore, people applying for certain visa categories (babysitters, housemaids, nursery and kindergarten employees, employees at barber shops, health clubs and restaurants) will need to take a test for Hepatitis B.
There's been much debate what the consequences will be if an individual tests positive for Hepatitis B. In some cases, it has been reported that people are deported, in other cases it has been reported that they are treated. Regardless, those who know they are Hepatitis B positive and fall into one of the aforementioned categories should be wary of making plans to move to Abu Dhabi.
Steps for completing medical test
1. Take original and copies of your passport and entry permit/visit visa, along with 250 AED, to the Disease Prevention and Screening Centre, located near Wahada Mall.
2. Take a ticket from the first floor and wait for your number to be called
3. Hand over the 250 AED when your number is called, and take the white card that is presented to you when an employee has finished recording your details
4. Answer any questions posed to you by a doctor honestly, and allow nurses to take blood and a chest X-ray. Collect your white card after each process.
5. Collect your certificate by presenting your white card, processing time usually takes two days.
Recommended Clinic for Visa Medical Tests:
Abu Dhabi Disease Prevention Screening Centre
Sunday to Thursday, 7am to 7pm
Saturday, 9am to 5pm
► Step 4 - Get your labour card
After you present your medical certificate to your company, they will submit your application to the Immigration Department. After what can be a lengthy period of time, but which is estimated as 10 days, you will receive your labour card.
Your labour card, like your residency visa, is valid for three years.
Your employer is responsible for all costs incurred by the process, so don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of for carrying this cost.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
Those who hold a valid residency employment visa can sponsor their family, though, unquestionably, permits attained through family sponsorship yield the longest and most frustrating waiting periods – so it’s best to expect the worst and fend off disappointment.
Those who wish to sponsor their family must earn a minimum salary of at least 4000 AED or 3000 AED plus an accommodation allowance (as certified by your official labour contract), and must have a tenancy contract proving they hold housing that is not shared.
Parents are unable to sponsor male children of 18 years or older unless they are enrolled in full time education in the UAE. Additionally, women can only sponsor their immediate family if they hold a residency visa as an engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse or any other member of the medical industry.
If sponsoring parents, stipulations become increasingly strict and require a greater average monthly income as well as proof that no other person can assume responsibility in the home country of the parents.
It is not possible to sponsor a boyfriend, girlfriend or common law partner; it's necessary to have a marriage certificate proving that the individual you're sponsoring is indeed your spouse.
Application forms are available from the Immigration Department and must be typed in Arabic, submitted with the designated documents, medical certificates, and 100 AED as paid through vending machines inside the Immigration Department.