UAE visa
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: If you are planning to travel to the UAE, whether to live with your family or because you received a job offer, you may come across several terms that may be new to you. For example, one of the first documents you will receive from your sponsor is an Entry Permit, and as you are planning to stay on in the UAE, you would also need to have a residence visa in place. So, how is an entry permit different from a residence visa? Here is all you need to know.

What is an entry permit?

Dubai airport passengers
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

As per the official UAE government website – – an entry permit is a document that allows foreigners to enter and stay in the UAE legally for the short period mentioned on the permit. This could be a physical copy or even an e-permit, which is issued electronically.

The sponsor could be a company from the private sector, a public entity, a relative or a UAE-based airline or hotel. An entry permit is different from a visit visa, which can be issued to a person who is not currently in the country.

Some visitors may even be eligible to receive an entry permit on arrival, without the need to apply for one beforehand. GCC citizens, for example, do not need a visa to enter the UAE and some nationalities are provided a visa on arrival. To find out more, read our detailed guide here.

An entry permit is a document that allows foreigners to enter and stay in the UAE legally for the short period mentioned on the permit.

- -, the official website of the UAE government.

Entry permit types, validity and duration of stay

Depending on your reason to enter the UAE, there are various types of entry permits that are issued. Some of them are:

• entry permit - employment

• entry permit - family visit

• entry permit - tourism/transit

• entry permit - treatment

• entry permit - mission

• entry permit - attending conferences.

The entry permit has a validity period, which is mentioned on the permit. For most entry permits, this validity is two months. This means that you can enter the UAE using the permit within this time. The validity of entry permits can be extended in some cases, but if you have not been able to apply for an extension in time, the entry permit will automatically expire upon the lapse of the validity period.

The duration of stay, which is different from the permit’s validity, depends on the type of entry permit. For example, entry permits for transit allow the person to stay in the country for four days, while entry permits for employment allow the employee to stay in the country for two months.

What is a residence visa?

A residence visa, on the other hand, is issued to the individual when he or she is already inside the country, having entered using the entry permit.

If you do not change your status to being a residence visa holder, you would be required to leave the country upon the lapse of entry permit duration to avoid fines and penalties.

To convert your entry permit into a residence visa, you need to undergo a medical fitness test and apply for the visa and Emirates ID. A visa would then be issued for one, two, or three years, depending on the type of visa.

To read a detailed guide on the visa application process, click here for the family visa process and here for the employment visa process. It is important to note that all costs related to the visa process need to be borne by the sponsor.