Did you know that the UAE has the fifth-largest international migrant population in the world? Recent studies show that there are over 7.8 million migrants out of a total population of just over 9 million people. With that many migrants living in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and surrounding regions, many locals wonder about their visa renewal requirements. Luckily, visa renewal in Dubai and the application process is mostly straightforward.
There are many reasons why you might need to renew your visa in Dubai. Perhaps you’ve just finished up a job and are looking for new employment. Maybe you’re planning to stay in the city for an extended period of time.
The processing time for visa renewals can vary depending on the time of year and the current workload of the immigration department. However, most applications are processed within a few weeks.
Here’s everything you need to know about visa renewal in Dubai.
What Is a Dubai Residence Visa?
When you hear the word “visa,” you probably think of a stamped document in your passport that allows you to enter a country. However, a visa is actually an endorsement or permission from the authorities of one country or territory to enter another.
In order to get a visa for Dubai, you’ll need to apply for one through the corresponding authorities, such as the Federal Authority for Identity.
A residence visa is a document that allows an individual to live and work in Dubai.
To be clear, various types of Dubai visas qualify as residence visas. This simply means that you’ll be able to stay in Dubai to live and work long-term.
To be eligible for a residence visa, an individual must have a valid passport and one of the following:
- A job offer from a UAE-based company
- An investment of at least AED 72,000 in a UAE-based company
- A plan to invest at least AED 72,000 in their own company
- An acceptance letter from a qualifying school in the UAE
The Importance of Residence Visas
Ultimately, a residence visa in Dubai is for people who want to live and work long-term. The visa is usually valid for two years and can be renewed for an additional two years.
Once you’ve held a residence visa for five years, you may be eligible for permanent residency. Resident visas are typically issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
Because most long-term, semi-permanent immigrants are living in Dubai under a residence visa, it’s important to be clear about your residency permit requirements, including how to keep everything current.
The type of visa you apply for will depend on the purpose and duration of your stay. Visas are generally valid for either 30 days or 90 days and can be extended if necessary. If you’re planning to work or study in Dubai, you’ll need to apply for a different type of visa.
Now, let’s walk you through the steps of visa renewal in Dubai as a resident, including all the different types of visas.
Different Types of Visas
There are many different types of visas available in Dubai, each of which allows a different type of stay in the country. Ultimately, there are six different types of visas available for foreign nationals seeking to live and work in Dubai:
The employment visa is the most common type of visa issued to foreign nationals and is required for anyone seeking to take up employment in Dubai.
This includes the freelance visa that has become popular recently due to the increased interest in remote work. Want to work in Dubai but not as a freelancer? Employment visas are typically valid for one year and require a sponsor in Dubai.
The investor visa is available for those seeking to invest a significant amount of money in a business venture in Dubai. Whereas the student visa is necessary for those wishing to study at one of Dubai’s many educational institutions.
The Dependent visa allows immediate family members of employed foreign nationals to live and work in Dubai. Then, the Transit visa is required for those passing through Dubai on their way to another destination.
Finally, the tourist visa allows foreign nationals to visit Dubai for leisure purposes.
Requirements for Your Visa Renewal
Have a Dubai residence visa? Great! Once it expires, you can renew it.
How long do you have, though? After your initial visa expires, you have 30 days to renew your visa.
To renew your Dubai residence visa, you will need to gather and eventually submit the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Copy of passport
- Copy of UAE entry stamp
- 2 photographs with white background
- Copy of tenancy contract or title deed (for an owned property)
- Copy of utility bill (electricity, water, or landline telephone)
- Emirates ID card
- Proof of employment in Dubai (employment contract or offer letter)
- Salary certificate from employer
- Business documents if you have your own business
After you have gathered all the required documents, you can proceed with your Dubai residence visa renewal by following the steps below.
How to Renew Your Residence Visa in Dubai
If you’re a resident of Dubai, you’ll need to renew your residence visa every few years. The renewal process is relatively simple and can be done online or at the Dubai immigration office. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
First, collect the required documents. These include your tenancy contract, passport, a recent passport-size photo with a white background, Emirates ID card and your residency certificate.
Once you have all of your documentation in order, log in to the Dubai e-Visa system with your username and password. Select the option to renew your residence visa and complete the online application form.
The application form includes your personal information, after which point you’ll upload the required documents. Then you’ll be prompted to pay the Dubai visa renewal fees. The current fee is AED 2,000 for a three-year visa. However, be sure to consult the updated fees at the time of your renewal!
Once you’ve paid, you’ll print out the confirmation page and take it with you to the immigration office. You’ll need to have your fingerprints taken and submit the original documents for processing.
Then, you’ll have to wait for them to review the application. Once your application has been approved, you’ll receive a new residency certificate by email. This will be valid for three years from the date of issuance.
If you come upon any issues with the application form, we suggest getting in touch with a relocation expert. Likewise, if you’re renewing your visa because you have your own business, it’s worth speaking with a business setup specialist in Dubai.
How to Renew Your Investor Visa in Dubai
The investor visa is probably the next most common type of visa in Dubai. If you have an investor visa and need to renew it soon, the process is actually quite simple.
The most common type of investor visa is the renewable residency visa, which is valid for 3 years.
Currently, you can complete this Dubai visa renewal process through the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).
In order to renew this type of visa, you must first meet certain requirements, including having a minimum investment amount of AED 10 million and proving that your business is still operational.
First, you’ll need to log in to the DED website and create an account. Then, you’ll need to provide some personal information and documents, including your passport and Emirates ID.
Now, once you’ve provided the required documents, you can complete the application process and pay the visa renewal fee online. It is important to know that there is a fee for renewing your visa to live in Dubai.
The DED will then review your application and, if everything is in order, issue you a new investor visa. It’s that easy! So if you’re looking to renew your investor visa in Dubai, just follow these simple steps and you’ll be all set.
The other type of investor visa is the permanent residency visa, which is granted to investors who have made a minimum investment of AED 5 million. Unfortunately, you can’t simply renew this visa. Once it expires, you need to apply for a new one.
How to Renew Your Student Visa in Dubai
If you’re a student in Dubai, you’ll need to renew your student visa every year. The process is relatively simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, make sure you start the process early. It can take a few weeks for your visa to be approved. Next, you’ll need to gather all of the required documents, including your Emirates ID, passport, a recent photo, and your university enrolment certificate.
Once you have everything in order, you can apply for your visa online or at the Dubai immigration office. However, keep in mind that you will need to show valid proof of current enrolment.
Also, be mindful that your visa renewal application could be denied if you don’t provide a copy of the Emirates ID renewal application form and your previous Emirates ID card. Be sure to include these, along with your passport, in your application.
Once your application is approved, you’ll need to pay the visa fee and schedule an appointment for a fingerprinting and biometrics test.
Finally, you’ll need to attend your appointment and submit your fingerprints and biometrics information. After that, you’ll receive your renewed student visa and be able to continue studying in Dubai!
How to Renew Your Dependent Visa in Dubai
If you are a dependent of a UAE resident, you will need to renew your visa every year. The process is relatively simple and can be done online.
First, you will need to log into the e-services portal on the website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). Once you have logged in, you will need to select ‘Visa Services’ and then ‘Residence Visa’.
Next, you will need to select the option for ‘Dependent Visa’ and then click on the ‘Renew’ button.
Those sponsoring their families must present a copy of the sponsoring person’s employment contract or salary certificate. Similarly, investors must present a company contract. A legalised marriage certificate and tenancy contract or utility bill are also required.
You will then need to fill out the online form and upload the required documents. The documents are largely the same as any other visa renewal instruction, including passport and Emirates ID. Once you have submitted the form, you will need to pay the visa fee and schedule an appointment for a biometrics enrolment.
After your biometrics have been taken, you will receive your renewed dependent visa within a few days.
Keeping Your Emirates ID Current
Your Emirates ID is a document that every single UAE resident must possess. It’s valid for the same amount of time as your visa. For this reason, it’s important to keep track of your Emirates ID status and make sure it’s up to date. For more information on your Emirates ID, including how to check your Emirates ID application, read more here.
What to Do if Your Visa Renewal Is Denied
If your visa renewal is denied, there are a few things you can do.
First, make sure you have all the required documentation. If you’re missing something, try to get it as soon as possible. You may also want to consider using a visa service to help with the renewal process.
Visa services can often help you get your visa renewed without having to go through the entire process from the beginning. If your visa is still denied, you can try contacting your embassy or consulate. They may be able to help you with your renewal process or offer other solutions.
Finally, if all else fails, you may need to reapply for a new visa. Keep in mind that this can be a long and expensive process, so make sure you’re prepared before you begin.
This is why we ultimately suggest consulting with a business setup specialist in Dubai. Even if you’re not setting up a business, they’ll be able to help you understand the various ins and outs of visa applications and renewals.
Speak With a Specialist Today
If you’re interested in visa renewal in Dubai, we hope this article has been helpful. However, if you still have questions then we’re here to help you answer them.
Our Company Formation Specialists are on call to help with a free consultation for anyone who is interested in learning more about the company formation process, including how visas work and what happens when it’s time to renew yours.
Our team of specialists is here to answer any questions you may have and can provide expert advice on the best way to set up your business in the UAE.
Contact us today to book your free consultation! Call us for any business queries on our local phone number +97145973679.