To live in Dubai, you will need a residence visa. Most people move to Dubai due to a job opportunity, to set up their own business, for property investment or to relocate due to work opportunities with a spouse. Depending on the situation you find yourself in, getting things settled in Dubai can take a lot of time and be a bit tricky, however, (us being the obvious case) not impossible.

What you will come to learn is that, no matter who is handling your relocation, you will be spending quite some time collecting the right documents to get the UAE Visa and Emirates ID. In order to ease the process for you, we have gathered a list of the documents that you most probably will need, and that you should start preparing even before you leave your home country.

General list of documents for applying for visa/Emirates ID 

  • Attested and translated (English) educational degree certificates including any courses, diplomas, etc. 

  • Professional qualification certificates, attested and translated (English)

  • Original passport with more than 6 months validity 

  • Photocopy of passport

  • Original driver's license 

  • Passport sized photos

NB: if application process starts after arriving on a visit visa you will need copy of the visa/entry stamp as well.

H2L Tip: Keep photocopies of all the above documents – keep 5 sets on hand so they are ready when required. Also save them electronically so you can easily pass them on to any entity.


Documentation will vary depending on your nationality, change in regulations and current or future visa status, therefore, we always advise you to check in with your own embassy and the official government site of UAE

Getting residency = Emirates ID

Emirates ID is the key to Dubai… You cannot do much without and there are some sweet perks to having one. We’ll get in to that in later posts. Ones you have registered your visa application with a typing center or Amer you will get the instructions and necessary documents to move ahead and take the medical test and apply for your emirates ID. This can all be done at the same time and your emirates ID will be processed once your medical results come back and are stamped. It normally takes 14 days from you have submitted your medical test results until you get your ID. The ID can be picked up or sent to your preferred post office.

Medical Check

In the process of applying for your residency you are required to undergo medical tests at government approved health centers in the UAE. You will be tested for communicable diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Those found to be HIV positive or having TB will be deported. 

Passport Visa

Once all the tests are done and papers are stamped you will have to submit your passport for a few days to have your residence visa in your passport. If you are applying for an investor visa you are guided through this process by the office which handles your setup. Either way, make sure to double check that all is done accordingly along the way. Sometimes information might be incomplete.

H2L Tip: If you don’t have a relocation office that handles all your paperwork and tell you what to and where to do it, you can take your medical test and apply for the emirates ID at e.g. Al Karama Medical Centre. There you get a choice of regular or expedited service. But plan to spend some time as the lines might be long for the different entities. Start with applying for the medical test, take the medical test, then start your emirates ID process. You will need to go to a different building for fingerprints and additional photo.

You will need your passport and visa/entry permit. Everything else you can get done there such as passport photos, photocopies of passport etc. Bring cash.  

You can start the visa process before entering the UAE and it would be beneficial for you to get the e visa before arriving so you don't have to do a border run or pay the charges for visa status change in the UAE.

NEW: Extension of visa (for visitors)

Based on the new visa system in the UAE you can now apply for 30 day visa extension twice without having to leave the country. This means, that people being in the UAE on a visit or tourist visa can stay for up to 60 days more without having to exit the country.

H2L Tip: This is ideal for job seekers as it limits the travel burden and other expenses.

Bringing a spouse

When you're moving to Dubai as a spouse, you will have to rely on your significant other to sponsor you. 

Usually the process will be handled by the relocation office at his/her company.

The documents you will need for the residence visa process may vary from case to case, but we’ve put together a general overview of what we believe you are expected to submit.

The application process is done online or through a registered typing office.

Bringing children​

When you want to apply for a resident’s visa for your children, you need to function as a sponsor.


As an expatriate resident you can sponsor your daughter/s only if she/they is/are unmarried. And you can sponsor your son/s only up to the age of 18. 

According to the official UAE government an expatriate resident can also sponsor stepchildren, subject to GDRFA’s conditions which include a deposit for each child and a written no-objection certificate from the biological parent. Their residence visas are valid for one year; renewable annually.

H2L Tip: We suggest you check out Children's Activities to know how to activate your children in Dubai.

More info on bringing the family to Dubai on the official government site of UAE 

Required documents for spouse and children 

  • Passport copies of the spouse and children

  • Photos of the spouse and children

  • Medical clearance certificate for the spouse and children above 18

  • Copy of the husband's/wife’s employment contract or company contract

  • Salary certificate from the employer stating the employee's monthly salary

  • Attested and translated (Arabic) marriage certificate

  • Rental agreement or owner certificate of your residence in Dubai

  • Letter of declaration from the place you rent your new home

Investor visa - company setup

Depending on the type of company setup and license you might be eligible for a residence visa.


Your visa will then follow your company licence and you will have to renew your licence every year for your visa to be valid, even if your visa is for 2 or 3 years. 

We will get more into the details of company setup under How To Set Up Your Business

Investor visa - property

If you buy a property worth 1 Million AED, where not more than 50% of the value is financed by a mortgage you can apply for residence visa.

Combining property investment and company setup?


Emaar, Dubai Hills Estate, recently launched Executive Residences in collaboration with DMCC where you get a complimentary, renewable 3-year business licence when you invest in the property. 

You can also be eligible for a 5- or 10-year residence visa without a sponsor if you meet the requirements.

Do you need help to handle the visa process? Get in touch and we'll connect you to someone who can help you through the entire process. 

You might also be interested in:

How can we help? We have a team of qualified people in our network ready to guide you in everything from how to relocate your pet to set up your business in Dubai. Feel free to reach out and we will happily connect you:

Your contact information will be saved and (maybe) used for later purposes. We will not be sharing your information with anyone outside H2L. In case you do not want us to save your information, please let us know when contacting us.