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Expats living and working in Dubai often choose to have their family come here either to visit, or to stay with them permanently. But, whether visiting or settling here, it’s important that each family member obtains the correct visa.
Whether they have obligations back at home, or they simply prefer living at home to living in Dubai, plenty of expat family members will choose to visit rather than stay here indefinitely.
Visiting family members can choose to come to Dubai on a short-term basis on a visit visa. A short-term visit visa is valid for 30 days, while a long-term visit visa is valid for 90 days. Both visas are non-renewable.
Alternatively, for family members who plan to come to Dubai to settle and live here over the longer term, there is the family residence visa. These are typically valid for up to two years.
The family residence visa allows expat employees with a valid residence visa to sponsor their dependants to live with them in Dubai. However, it is usually the expat’s employer who deals with the visa application paperwork to obtain the visa on behalf of their employee.
In order to sponsor family members, the applicant must meet the minimum salary requirements as set out by the Department of Naturalization and Residency. When sponsoring a parent, a higher minimum salary is required, with the addition of a deposit in some cases.
Women looking to sponsor their family members in Dubai must be employed either as a doctor, lawyer, nurse or teacher.
If a woman is not employed in one of these categories, she may still be able to sponsor her family, as long as her salary meets certain requirements, and she gains special permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
On this type of visa, the applicant is allowed to sponsor a range of family members who are considered dependents. This can include a spouse and children, where any male children are 18 or younger, and any female children of any age who are unmarried.
While it is possible to sponsor other family members as dependants, such as siblings, parents and in-laws, it’s not possible to sponsor a boyfriend, girlfriend or common-law partner. To prove the status of the relationship, the applicant will need to provide their marriage certificate.
Female dependants sponsored on a family visa can work in Dubai, as long as they have a no-objection letter from their sponsor, whether that’s their spouse or parent.
The request must also be approved by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation or relevant free zone authority, depending on where the employer is located.
This allows female dependants to remain under the sponsorship of their existing sponsor, obtaining a dependant work permit or work card permitting them to work. Alternatively, female dependants could choose to obtain direct sponsorship from their employer.
Male spouses who are classed as a dependant on a family visa are not allowed to work. Instead, they must obtain sponsorship from a company to work.
As for dependent children on a family visa, minors between the age of 15 and 18 are allowed to work, while retaining their parent’s sponsorship, as long as they have written approval from their parent or guardian.
If you want to find out more about the family visa and how it may apply to you or your employees, contact us today on 00 971 4381 7333 to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.