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How to Get a Work Visa for the UAE Process and Requirements

Post by Vicky Feneis
June 14, 2024
How to Get a Work Visa for the UAE Process and Requirements

With a growing interest in foreign nationals traveling to work in the United Arab Emirates, many companies seek support for their workers to gain work authorization. While the process may vary by the unique situation of a worker’s country of origin, existing immigration status and details of the engagement, the below guide will provide you with a general overview of options and the process.  
A full overview of the process of gaining work authorization in the UAE is available on their official government site here.  

Key Takeaways: 

  1. Main Overview of Visas in UAE.
  2. Standard Work Visa: Overview and Requirements. 
  3. Standard Work Visa: Step-by-Step Visa Application Process.
  4. Standard Work Visa FAQs.

Main Overview of Visas in UAE: 

  • The UAE generally requires two visas. An entry visa followed by a residency visa.  
  • Most workers obtain a Standard Work Visa (described more below). Other visa types include Golden Visas (less common, more specialized to receive). 
  • Workers must typically receive an entry permit that allows them to remain in the country for (60) sixty days until the completion of their residency visa.  
  • The Residency Visa lasts for two years and may be extended.  Residency is awarded after the Worker successfully completes an in-country medical fitness test and biometric submission. The worker will then receive their Emirates ID.  

Let TCWGlobal know if you would like to employ someone in the UAE who needs a work visa. We’ll partner with our local team to support you every step of the way. 


* Please note that processing times may vary, but typically it takes 1-2 months on average for the worker to obtain work authorization. 

Standard Work Visa: Overview and Requirements 

In most cases, a foreigner wishing to work in the UAE can apply for a standard employment visa to work in the private sector. Typically, this visa is valid for two years and may be renewable for an extension. The employer sponsors this visa. 

In most cases, a foreigner wishing to work in the UAE can apply for a standard employment visa to work in the private sector. Typically, this visa is valid for two years and may be renewable for an extension. The employer sponsors this visa. 


  • Requirements: To meet the criteria for a standard work visa, applicants must: 
  • Be at least 18 years old.  
  • Provide the required documentation, including: 
  • A valid home country passport that has at least 6 months validity left, with 2 empty pages available. 
  • A copy of passport photos (The photos must be studio quality with a white background).  
  • A copy of their signed employment contract.  
  • Skilled jobs: Hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent. 
  • The degree certificate must be attested by the UAE MOFA to obtain a managerial visa profession. 
  • Unskilled jobs: These may only require the country equivalent of a high school diploma, but this is not mandatory. 
  • If certificates or documentation are in a language other than English or Arabic, they must be translated into Arabic or English via a professional translator. Documents are not mandatory for an unskilled visa.  
  • Complete a medical fitness test and biometrics issued by a government-approved health center in the UAE.  
  • Obtain health insurance for their stay.    
  • Apply for an Emirates ID.  
  • Lastly, file/be approved for residency. 


Standard Work Visa: Step-by-Step Visa Application Process 

  1. Begin the onboarding process with TCWGlobal.
    • To acquire a work visa, you need a signed employment contract. Your initial action should be requesting a quote from TCWGlobal for a UAE engagement. Once the quote is signed, you can submit the onboarding request.
    • During the onboarding process, TCWGlobal and our local team in UAE will guide you and the worker on the next steps to obtain the necessary work authorization.

  2. TCWGlobal’s local team will collect all required documents listed above in the Overview and Requirements section. Some documents (e.g., degrees, marriage licenses, etc.) may require attestation and translation to Arabic, if necessary.

  3. After the documents are received and the offer and employment contract are signed, the local team can start the visa application. 

  4. Once the eVisa is approved, the worker can print the document and proceed to book their flight to the UAE.

  5. Upon arrival, the worker passes through the immigration counter, presenting their eVisa and passport to obtain the entry stamp. The worker shares the stamped entry with TCWGlobal's local team, who then arranges the medical exam.

  6. The worker will undergo the medical examination, with results provided on the same day. TCWGlobal’s local team will process the residence visa and share it accordingly with the worker.

  7. The local team will initiate the Emirates ID (EID) application process, and schedule appointments to complete the biometrics.

  8. After completing biometrics, the EID card will be delivered to the local team’s physical address within 5-7 working days, and subsequently, they will arrange to deliver it to the worker on the same day.

  9. Upon receiving the EID card, the worker can proceed to set up a bank account.

  10. Enrollment in insurance will be initiated upon receipt of the EID card. 


Standard Work Visa FAQs



Where can I learn more about the UAE visa process?



The UAE government FAQ site:  

When is the worker authorized to begin working? 




Once the eVisa is approved, the Worker is authorized to work. However, the remaining visa steps must be completed for the worker to be paid for the work performed. 


Does the worker need to be present in the UAE for the visa process? 





Yes, the worker's presence is necessary during the Residency visa procedures (Medical and Biometric screenings).  

Once the digital residency visa is issued (2 days from the medical and Biometric), the worker can travel with no need to wait for the issuance of an Emirates ID. 


Do dependents need a visa, too?  






Dependents must provide their own passport copies, photos, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and tenancy contracts.  

The marriage certificate and birth certificates must be translated to Arabic or English and attested to by the sponsoring business. 


When does attestation come into play? 



Attestation is crucial whether applying for an eVisa(skilled) or seeking to transition from a lower-level profession to a managerial role. 


What documents usually require attestation? 





  • The primary/original degree certificate from their university;  
  • Marriage certificates; AND 
  • Birth certificates.  


Where can I get my documents attested and/or translated?



Attestation can be arranged through the Ministry of Affairs, and translation services are available through the nearest embassy. 


Post by Vicky Feneis
June 14, 2024