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Dubai Employment Visa 2023: Everything you need to know

Would you like to work in Dubai? Tens of thousands of expatriates move to Dubai to work in the gleaming city’s myriad industries every year. Whether you’re hoping to work in traditional sectors such as oil and gas, or have found a job in emerging niches such as media, tourism or tech, there are plenty of amazing opportunities.

Now, just like every other country, you will need a visa to work as an employee in Dubai. Similarly, if you run a company in Dubai and want to hire workers from abroad, you have to help them apply for work permits. It is usually the employer’s responsibility to help with applying for visas for their foreign staff, and they usually also pay for the costs of applying for work permits.

Read our blog to find out the key things you need to know when looking for an employment visa in Dubai, UAE:

• What is a Dubai employment visa?
• Dubai employment visa types
• Dubai employment visa cost
• Dubai employment visa cancellation time and charges
• Dubai employment visa cancellation time
• Dubai employment visa age limit
• Documents required for a Dubai employment visa
• What is a limited contract and unlimited contract for employees in Dubai?

What is a Dubai employment visa?

If you wish to work as an employee in Dubai, you will need a visa that allows you to work in the UAE. If you have found a job at a company in the emirate, the good news is that your employer will handle most of the paperwork for you.

A Dubai employment visa is actually a work permit. It effectively combines your residence visa and your labour card.

To get your work permit, the first step is to get an entry visa. For citizens of many countries, you can get this on arrival at customs in Dubai, then apply for your residence visa later on. You will then need to apply for a residence visa and a labour card within the first 60 days of arriving in the country. Much of the process can be done online, and it doesn’t take very long.

However, if you want to start working from the day you arrive in the country, you will need a work visa. That will allow you to work for the first 30 days. During that time, you can then apply for the residence visa and labour card.

Dubai employment visa types

There is only really one kind of ‘employment visa’ in Dubai – that is the work permit mentioned above. On arrival in the United Arab Emirates, you must apply for a residence visa and a labour card, plus your Emirates ID. Once you’ve received all these documents, you essentially have a kind of employment visa, which permits you to work as an employee at a UAE company.

Dubai employment visa cost

The cost of a Dubai employment visa depends on which employment category you are and where you are from. For people who have more unusual or in-demand skills, the work permits tend to be less expensive (around AED 500), whereas for less skilled employees it starts at AED 1,200. Another consideration is cultural diversity; for companies with a more diverse workforce, the costs tend to be lower.

But in any case, as an employee, you won’t really need to think about this. Your employer should handle the costs of paying for a Dubai employment visa and they will deal with much of the initial paperwork, too.

If you’re an employer and are a little confused about how to apply for a work permit for your expat employees, contact Creative Zone for help. We can support you with every aspect of applying for employment visas quickly and efficiently.

Dubai employment visa cancellation time and charges

Cancelling a Dubai visa is very easy and can be done online. It typically takes just one or two days for your visa to be cancelled. The cost of cancelling a visa in the UAE is sometimes free, other times it may cost between AED 100 and AED 200.

Dubai employment visa cancellation time

As noted above, the Dubai employment visa cancellation time is typically one or two days.

Dubai employment visa age limit

In most cases, the minimum age limit for work in Dubai is 18, although it is possible for people as young as 15 to work in the country. In this case, they would need to apply for a juvenile work permit.

At the other end of the age scale, the maximum age for applying for a Dubai work permit is usually 60, although expatriates can also apply to work in the emirate up to the age of 65, so long as they get approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

Documents required for a Dubai employment visa

If you wish to work in Dubai, your employer will usually provide you with a list of documents required as part of your work permit application. These will typically include things like:

    • • A copy of your passport with at least 6 months remaining


    • • A visa application form


    • • Application fee


    • • A passport sized photo


    • • Your entry permit


    • • A valid health certificate


    • • Three copies of your employment contract


    • • Education certificates, plus any professional qualifications


    • A copy of your employer’s trading licence

What is a limited contract and unlimited contract for employees in Dubai?

In Dubai, many long-term expatriates have either limited work contracts or unlimited work contracts.

A limited contract means you will be employed by your company for up to two years. They may then choose to extend your contract or terminate it (in which case you’d usually have to leave Dubai and the UAE). Limited contracts are popular when employers just need an employee to work for a fairly short duration – perhaps on a specific project.

An unlimited contract is, as the name suggests, more open-ended. You won’t have a specific end date for your employment, and the expectation is that you’ll work for your employer for a relatively long time. This option is more flexible and is widely used.

Whichever kind of contract you have, your employer will be responsible for doing all the paperwork and can help you with all aspects of applying for residence permits, work permits and getting your Emirates ID.

Working with Creative Zone

At Creative Zone, we have helped tens of thousands of companies to successfully apply for employment visas for their foreign staff in Dubai. Thanks to our expertise with business setup in Dubai, we can advise employers on all aspects of applying for employment visas, which paperwork to provide, and walk them through the process (including for both mainland and free zone companies).

If you are an employer and this is the first time you have hired workers from abroad, our experts can help you with all aspects of employee visa application, and help choose the best options for you.

What is more, we can also provide you with several other services that will make running your company even easier:

    • • Dedicated business setup manager


    • • Tax preparation


    • • Legal advice


    • • HR management


    • Opportunities for business networking

Contact Creative Zone today for all the support you need with applying for employment visas in Dubai and the UAE.

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