If you are a foreign national living in the UAE on a Residence Visa, then you are allowed to bring your dependents with you through a UAE Family Visa. However, not everyone can bring their dependents along as there are certain requirements that have to be met.
Requirements to Sponsor Someone for a UAE Family Visa
To be able to sponsor family members to the UAE, you must fulfill the following conditions:
- Male expatriates must have a minimum salary of AED 4,000 per month or AED 3,000 per month plus accommodation
- Female expatriates must have a minimum monthly salary of AED 10,000 or AED 8,000 plus accommodation
Additionally, all family members who are over 18 have to pass a medical fitness test taken at a government-approved health centre in the UAE. They will be tested for HIV and Tuberculosis.
The UAE does not recognize same-sex marriage, therefore you cannot sponsor your spouse if you are in a same-sex relationship.
What Professions are Eligible for Family Visa in UAE?
As of 2019, there are no specific professions that are eligible to sponsor their family members for a UAE Family Visa. Any foreign worker who meets the salary requirements can bring their family members to the UAE.
Who Can you Sponsor for a UAE Family Visa?
It is easier for a male expatriate to sponsor his family members to the UAE than it is for a woman. If you are a man who is on the UAE on a Residence Visa, you can bring the following family members on a Family Visa to the UAE:
- Your wife. If you are a Muslim resident, you may also sponsor two wives but you must meet certain terms set out by the GDRFA.
- Your sons. You can sponsor your sons only if they are 18 or under. If the sons are over 18, you can still sponsor them but only if they are students, and only up to the age of 21. Additionally, if the sons are over 18, they must enter the UAE at least once every six months if studying abroad otherwise their UAE visa will be canceled.
- Your daughters. You can sponsor your daughters only if they are unmarried.
- Your parents. You can also sponsor your parents, provided you meet the following conditions:
- You sponsor both parents unless one of them has passed away
- You pay a deposit as a guarantee for each parent
- You get your parents a medical insurance policy
- You have a monthly salary of AED 20,000 or a AED 19,000 plus a two-bedroom accommodation
- Your stepchildren. You may also sponsor your stepchildren if you get a written No Objection Certificate from the biological parent. The visa for stepchildren is valid for one year and renewable.
Can a Woman Sponsor Her Family Members for a UAE Family Visa?
Yes, she can but the criteria for a woman to sponsor her family to the UAE are higher than for a man:
- The family members she can sponsor are her husband and her children.
- She has to earn a monthly salary not lower than AED 10,000 or alternatively AED 8,000 plus accommodation
- She must work as an engineer, teacher, or a profession related to the medical sector (doctor, nurse etc)
- In certain cases (and only with approval from the DRND), if the woman has a sufficient monthly salary, she could qualify for sponsorship even if she isn’t employed in one of the aforementioned categories
- If she has a husband who can sponsor the children instead, she is not allowed to do it herself. It must be the husband.
Documents Required for a UAE family visa
The documents needed for support a UAE Family Visa application include:
- UAE Visa Application Form (online or through a registered typing office)
- Passport copies of the family member/s being sponsored
- Passport-size pictures of the family member/s being sponsored
- Medical clearance certificate for any family member over the age of 18
- Copy of the sponsor’s employment contract or company contract
- Proof of the monthly salary the sponsor earns
- The legalised marriage certificate
- Proof of accommodation, such as the registered tenancy contract
- The latest utility bill
How to Apply for UAE Family Visa?
Family visas for the UAE can be sponsored by either the expatriate or his/her employer. As a foreign resident, you must submit a UAE Family Visa application within 60 days of receiving your own UAE Residence Visa.
Applying for the entry permit
Before your family members travel to the UAE to join you, you (or your employer) must apply for an entry permit to allow them in the country in the first place. You can apply for your family members’ entry permit at one of the following:
- The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – GDRFA either online (see the websites below) or in-person. If you apply in-person you must do so through one of the licensed typing centres of the GDRFA in each Emirate or through one of the Amer centres in Dubai.
- The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
Applying for the UAE Family Visa
The UAE Family Visa is a type of residence visa, and as such, you have to submit it on behalf of your family members after they are already in the country on an entry permit. You can submit the family visa application at the offices of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the relevant emirate.
The websites of the GDRFA in each emirate:
How long is a UAE Family Visa valid?
A Family Visa for the UAE can be issued for 1, 2, or 3 years and can be renewed at least thirty days before expiry. Family Visas are dependent on the sponsor, so if the sponsor’s visa expires or is canceled, then the Family Visas will also be void.
However, dependent family members get a 30-day grace period during which time they may see if they can get their own Residence Visa renewed.
Applying for a Family Visa Dubai
Since Dubai is part of the UAE, if you are living in Dubai as an expatriate, and you want to bring your family members with you, you must meet the same sponsorship requirements as set out above. You can apply for your family members’ Dubai Family Visa at the local GDRFA office in Dubai. You can also apply through Amer, a website that Dubai citizens and residents can use to apply for family reunion and visitors can use to extend their Visa On Arrival.