Navigating the UAE Dependent Visa Journey

Anisha Sagar

Anisha Sagar

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Imagine embarking on a journey to a land of golden opportunities, yet leaving your loved ones behind. This scenario is a common reality for many expatriates venturing into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for work or residency. However, the UAE recognizes the importance of family unity and offers a pathway through its Dependent Visa program, allowing sponsors to bring their spouses, children, parents, and even domestic staff along for the ride.   In this article, let’s delve into the intricacies of this visa scheme.

Understanding UAE Dependent Visa

The UAE Dependent Visa, often referred to as the Family Visa, holds a significant role in facilitating the cohesion of families within the Emirates. Acting as a pivotal gateway, it allows sponsors, typically individuals holding residency or valid visas in the UAE, to extend sponsorship to their family members, enabling them to join and reside with them in the country. This initiative stands as a testament to the UAE’s commitment to family values, ensuring that loved ones can stay connected and share in each other’s lives despite geographical distances.

Benefits of the Dependent Visa in the UAE include: 

  • Access to Healthcare: By securing the Dependent Visa, family members gain access to essential healthcare services provided within the UAE’s robust medical infrastructure. This ensures that their well-being is safeguarded, as they can avail themselves of medical facilities, consultations, and treatments as needed.

  • Quality Education Opportunities: The Dependent Visa opens doors for children to access quality education in esteemed institutions within the UAE. Family members can enroll their children in schools that offer diverse curricula and extracurricular activities, fostering holistic development and academic growth.

  • Integration into Community Life: With the Dependent Visa, families can immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and community life of the UAE. Access to social amenities such as parks, recreational facilities, and cultural events allows families to engage with the local community, fostering a sense of belonging and integration.


Types of Dependent Visas in Dubai (UAE)

Dependent visas in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) play a crucial role in facilitating family unity by allowing sponsors to extend sponsorship to their loved ones. Let’s explore the intricacies of these categories and understand their nuances.

Spouse Visa:

The spouse visa is designed for married partners of UAE residents or visa holders. It allows spouses to join their partners in the UAE and reside with them. Typically, the husband sponsors the spouse visa, although in some cases, the wife can also sponsor her husband. This visa category underscores the importance of marital bonds and enables couples to build their lives together in the UAE.

Child Visa:

Child visas cater to dependent children of UAE residents or visa holders. These visas enable children to accompany their parents and access education, healthcare, and other essential services in the UAE. Age restrictions may apply, with some visas only applicable to children under a certain age. Additionally, children above a certain age may need to provide proof of dependency or enrollment in full-time education to qualify for the visa.

Parent Visa:

Parent visas allow UAE residents or visa holders to sponsor their parents to reside with them in the country. This category acknowledges the cultural significance of filial bonds and ensures that aging parents can be cared for by their children in the UAE. Income requirements and proof of dependency may be necessary to qualify for this visa, and sponsors may need to demonstrate their ability to support their parents financially.

Domestic Staff Visa:

In addition to immediate family members, dependent visas in the UAE also extend to domestic staff, such as housemaids or drivers. This category enables residents to sponsor domestic workers to assist with household duties and caregiving responsibilities. Sponsors must meet specific criteria and adhere to regulations governing the employment of domestic staff in the UAE.


Understanding the Distinction: Spouse Visa vs. Dependent Visa

While the terms “spouse visa” and “dependent visa” are often used interchangeably, it’s essential to understand the subtle differences between them. The primary distinction lies in the sponsorship arrangement. The spouse visa is typically sponsored by the husband, reflecting traditional family dynamics. In contrast, the dependent visa can be sponsored by either parent, providing flexibility in the sponsorship process. This differentiation underscores the UAE’s commitment to inclusivity and recognizes the diverse familial structures present in society.

Types of Family Visas

In Dubai, there are three types of family visas available, each offering varying durations of residency for sponsored family members:

1-Year Family Visa:

Individuals sponsoring their stepchildren are eligible for a 1-year UAE Resident visa. This visa must be renewed annually to maintain legal residency status for the sponsored stepchildren.

2-Year Family Visa:

Sponsors with a 2-year labor contract are entitled to sponsor their family members for a 2-year family visa. This visa duration aligns with the length of the sponsor’s employment contract and provides stability for sponsored family members over the specified period.

3-Year Family Visa:

Sponsors holding a 3-year labor contract have the privilege of sponsoring their family members for a 3-year family visa. This extended duration offers greater certainty and continuity for sponsored family members, reflecting the longer-term commitment of the sponsor to their employment in Dubai.

These varying durations cater to the diverse needs and circumstances of sponsors and their families, providing flexibility and options to ensure family members can reside legally in Dubai while maintaining family unity.

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Eligibility Criteria for Dependent Visas in the UAE

Sponsoring dependents on a visa in the UAE is subject to specific eligibility requirements. These criteria ensure that sponsors can support their family members adequately and maintain legal residency status. Here’s an overview of the eligibility requirements for different dependent types:


  • Documents Required: Marriage certificate, proof of income, valid residency status.

  • Additional Requirements: Sponsors must have a valid Resident visa stamped on their passport and possess a valid Emirates ID. The sponsor’s salary, as mentioned in the labor contract, determines eligibility. Individuals earning a minimum salary of 4000 AED can sponsor their spouse on a Residency visa.

  • Recent Changes: All professionals are now eligible to sponsor their spouses, irrespective of their profession, as long as they meet the specified criteria.


  • Documents Required: Birth certificate, proof of income, valid residency status.

  • Additional Requirements: Similar to sponsoring a spouse, sponsors must meet the salary threshold specified by Dubai immigration. Additionally, sponsors can sponsor their unmarried daughters and sons until they reach the age of 18. If sons are studying in the UAE or abroad after 18, sponsorship can extend until they turn 21, provided proof of education is provided.


  • Documents Required: Birth certificate of the sponsor, proof of income, residency status.

  • Additional Requirements: Sponsors need to meet a higher salary requirement to sponsor their parents. They must earn a minimum salary of 20,000 AED or 19,000 AED with two-bedroom accommodation. Sponsors must also provide an annual medical insurance policy for both parents with the minimum stated coverage per parent. Expatriates sponsoring their parents must deposit a guarantee and demonstrate that there are no means of care available back home.

Other Specific Situations:

  • Woman Sponsoring Husband and Children: Women sponsoring their husbands and children must hold a residence permit with specific professions listed, such as teacher, engineer, nurse, or doctor. They must earn a minimum salary of 10,000 AED or 8,000 AED with accommodation and provide additional documents as requested.

  • Step Children: Sponsoring stepchildren requires a no-objection certificate from the biological parent and a monetary deposit for each child.

  • Multiple Wives: Muslim expatriates can sponsor two wives if they fulfill the necessary terms and conditions laid out by the authorities.

  • Single Mothers: Single mothers must deposit a guarantee for each child and produce a written no-objection certificate from the biological parent to sponsor their child.

  • Sponsoring Daughters and Sons: Sponsors can only sponsor their daughters if they are unmarried. Sons can be sponsored until they reach the age of 18 or until they turn 21 if they are pursuing education.

These eligibility criteria ensure that sponsors can fulfill their responsibilities adequately and provide for their family members while maintaining compliance with UAE regulations.

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Application Process for Dependent Visas in Dubai

The application process for a dependent visa in Dubai involves several steps, each essential for obtaining legal residency for family members. Below is a detailed breakdown of the process, along with the necessary documents and approximate timelines:

Collecting Required Documents:

To initiate the process of obtaining a dependent visa for your spouse or child in Dubai, you will need to gather specific documents. Below is a comprehensive list of the necessary documents for each category:

For Spouse Visa:

  • Sponsor’s (Husband) passport copy – all bio pages (Soft copy)
  • Sponsor’s (Husband) visa copy (Soft copy)
  • Original Emirates ID of the sponsor (Husband) – Required for verification
  • Ejari (Soft copy) – Document proving the tenancy contract or rental agreement
  • Labor contract (Soft copy) – Employment contract of the sponsor (Husband)
  • Your picture (Soft copy) – Recent photograph of the sponsor (Husband)
  • Marriage certificate with attestation (Soft copy) – Document proving the marital relationship between sponsor and spouse
  • Wife’s passport copy – all bio pages (Soft copy)
  • Wife’s recent color passport size photo (Soft copy)

For Child Visa:

  • Child’s birth certificate attested – (Soft copy) – Document proving the child’s birth and parentage
  • Sponsor’s (Father or Mother) passport copy – all bio pages (Soft copy)
  • Sponsor’s visa copy – (Soft copy)
  • Original Emirates ID of the sponsor (Husband or Wife) – Required for verification
  • Ejari (Soft copy) – Document proving the tenancy contract or rental agreement
  • Labor contract (Soft copy) – Employment contract of the sponsor (Father or Mother)
  • Your picture (Soft copy) – Recent photograph of the sponsor (Father or Mother)
  • Child’s passport copy – all bio pages (Soft copy)
  • Wife’s recent color passport size photo (Soft copy)
  • Ensure that all documents are provided in the specified format and adhere to any additional requirements outlined by the immigration authorities. Having these documents ready will streamline the visa application process and facilitate the timely issuance of the dependent visa for your spouse or child.

File Opening

A new file must be created in the immigration system using the provided documents. This is a prerequisite for further processing.

Entry Permit:

In the process of obtaining a dependent visa in Dubai, the type of entry permit required depends on the location of the family member. Below are the two types of entry permits available:

Entry Permit for Family Members in Dubai:

  • If the family member is already residing in Dubai, a specific type of entry permit is required for processing their dependent visa.
  • This entry permit facilitates the status change process for the family member, allowing them to transition from their current visa status to the dependent visa status.
  • The application for this entry permit is typically initiated after the initial documentation stage and file opening.

Entry Permit for Family Members Outside the UAE:

  • For family members who are currently residing outside the UAE, a different entry permit is necessary to facilitate their entry into Dubai.
  • This entry permit serves as a pre-approval for the family member to enter the UAE and complete the formalities for obtaining their dependent visa.
  • The application for this entry permit is processed based on the information provided in the visa application and is essential for family members to enter Dubai for visa stamping and residency.

Status Change or Entry into Dubai

If the family member is in Dubai, a status change application is required. If outside the UAE, entry into Dubai using the entry permit is necessary.

Medical Examination

A medical exam for the issuance of the family residence visa must be conducted at an approved medical center recognized by the Dubai Health Authority. Required documents for the medical exam include a valid passport copy, entry permit, and two passport-size photographs with a white background.

Emirates ID Application

An Emirates ID card application must be submitted along with the necessary documents, including original passport, valid residency or entry permit, birth certificate (or father’s passport or Emirates ID), and passport and visa of the sponsor (for newborns).

Insurance Requirement

All visa holders are required to possess medical insurance plans approved by the Dubai Health Authority. Personal medical policies for dependents with specified coverage limits can be purchased through local insurance providers.

Visa Stamping

The visa holder must either enter Dubai or perform a status change within 60 days from the date of entry permit issuance. Subsequently, the visa holder must obtain an Emirates ID and undergo a medical examination before proceeding with the visa stamping process.

The total processing time for a family visa, from file opening to stamping, typically ranges from 15 to 17 working days. Additionally, the cost of a Dubai family visa varies based on factors such as the applicant’s location, the validity duration of the residence visa (2 or 3 years), desired insurance coverage, and whether normal or express service is chosen.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I get a dependent visa with a freelance visa?

  • Yes, individuals with freelance visas can sponsor their family members, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

Can an unmarried partner get a dependent visa?

  • Unmarried partners may face challenges in obtaining a dependent visa but can explore alternative visa options or seek legal advice.

Can I work on a dependent visa?

  • Dependents can apply for a work permit to become eligible for employment in the UAE.

Extending a dependent visa in Dubai?

  • Dependent visas can be extended by submitting the necessary documentation and meeting renewal requirements.

Dependent visa for elderly parents?

  • Elderly parents may be sponsored under specific visa categories, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

Note: Dependent visa applicants should be aware of medical fitness tests required for some dependents, particularly those above 18 years old. Additionally, certain visa categories may allow for the sponsorship of domestic help, such as housemaids or drivers.

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In conclusion, the UAE Dependent Visa serves as a lifeline for families seeking to thrive together in the UAE. By navigating the eligibility criteria and application process, sponsors can unlock the door to family togetherness and embrace the countless opportunities the UAE has to offer. Whether it’s reuniting with loved ones or building a brighter future together, the Dependent Visa paves the way for a fulfilling journey in the heart of the Middle East.

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