Dubai: If you have recently moved to the UAE, you may be familiarising yourself with the residency and visa procedures in the country. Not only do you need to ensure that all your paperwork is taken care of, whether you have moved to the UAE on a new job or to start a business, but you may also need to apply for a visa for your family.
In the UAE, any expatriate who wishes to live on a long-term basis needs to have a residence visa. If you are applying for a visa for your family member, you will be referred to as the ‘sponsor’ and the person being sponsored may be referred to as a ‘dependent’ or ‘sponsored’.
Gulf News reader, Enosh Pippary, wrote in to us, sharing his experience of moving to the UAE recently, and asked: “I would like to sponsor my wife in Dubai. I recently got my UAE residence visa stamped on my passport and have received my Emirates ID card. How can I sponsor my wife and how much will it cost?’’
So, here is all you need to know about how you can sponsor your wife in Dubai.
Get your documents in place
You will first need to ensure that your marriage certificate is attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country, the UAE Embassy in your home country as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) in the UAE.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai has provided the following list of documents that a husband needs to submit, if he wishes to apply for his wife’s entry permit or residence visa:
- A recent personal photograph of your wife with a white background.
- Copy of the passport and residence visa of the sponsor (valid).
- Copy of your wife’s passport, which should be valid for more than six months.
- Attested marriage contract.
- No objection certificate (NOC) from the husband’s consulate, in case the husband’s nationality is different from the wife’s.
- Salary certificate, work contract or partnership contract (according to the sponsor’s establishment), provided that his monthly income is not less than Dh4,000.
- Tenancy contract or title deed.
How is an entry permit different from a residence visa? Read here.
Where do I need to go?
Once you have all the documents in place, you can apply for the visa:
1. By going to an Amer centre.
2. By going to a registered typing centre.
3. Online, through DubaiNow. To find out how you can do so, read our detailed guide here.
Visa application process
Whether you go to an Amer Centre or a typing centre, you need to follow these steps:
1. Open a sponsor file
You will first need to provide your details as a sponsor, so that a file can be opened within the immigration system. This is referred to as a ‘sponsor file’.
2. Apply for entry permit
You will then need to apply for an entry permit for your wife. Using that entry permit, your wife will be able to travel to the UAE, to complete the visa application process.
3. ‘Change of status’ if wife is in the UAE
If your wife is already in the UAE, you will first need to apply for the entry permit and then apply for a ‘change of status’ process.
Medical Fitness test
Once the visa application process is complete, you then need to visit a Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Medical Fitness Centre to get a medical fitness test done.
Here is a list of all the medical fitness centres oprated by DHA:
- Al Karama Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Bur Dubai Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Al Muhaisnah Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Al Quoz Mall Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Al Yalayis Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Al Nahda Occupational Health Screening & Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Al Garhoud Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Smart Salem Center, City Walk – Location
- Al Rashidiya Medical Fitness Center - Location
- Jebel Ali Health Center – Location
- Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority – Location
- Dubai International Financial Center – Location
- Zabeel Medical Fitness Center – Location
- AXS medical Fitness Center, Dubai Knowledge Park – Location
- Emirates Medical Fitness Center, Dubai Health Care City – Location
- Al Lusaily Medical Fitness Center – Location
- Dubai Land Department Medical Fitness Center, Baniyas Rd, Near Etisalat Building, Deira - Location
Once you visit the medical fitness centre, you will need to take a few tests including a blood test and a chest X-ray. Once done, you will receive the results in 24 hours. If you wish to get them sooner, you can also apply for an Express or VIP service.
Apply for Emirates ID
The next step is applying for your wife’s Emirates ID, for which you will need to visit a centre of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICP) to give your fingerprint biometric. Here is a list of ICP customer happiness centres in Dubai:
Al Baraha Customer Happiness Office – Location
Al Yalayis Customer Happiness Center – Location
Al Nahda Happiness Center – Location
Hatta Customer Happiness Office – Location
General Directorate of Residency And Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, Al Jafiliya – Location
Al Barsha Customer Happiness Center – Location
Al Rashidiya Customer Happiness Center – Location
Al Ghazal Customer Happiness Center – Location
Once you have completed the application process, the Emirates ID will be delivered to an Emirates Post office near you. To collect the ID, you would need to provide the reference number you receive via SMS on your registered mobile number.
Apply for health insurance
Health insurance is mandatory in Dubai and family members need to get at least a basic health cover – referred to in Dubai as the Essential Benefits Plan. You can apply for the health insurance online, through any of the health insurance providers. Alternatively, if you are applying through a typing centre, they can also apply for the health insurance cover for you. You can choose from a basic plan, a comprehensive plan, or an enhanced benefits plan, depending on your budget and healthcare needs.
To know more about how to get your health insurance, read our detailed report here.
Get the visa stamped on the passport
The last step in this process is the stamping of the visa. However, the ICP recently announced that visas will no longer be stamped on the passport, with the Emirates ID being the main proof of residency.
Dubai residents, though, may still need to get the visa stamped for the time being, as reported by Gulf News earlier. If that is the case with your application, you would have your passport collected for visa stamping and delivered to you within four working days. The cost mentioned below includes courier charges.
Once your visa is stamped and your Emirates ID is in your possession, you will have completed the paperwork necessary to become a resident in Dubai.
How much will it cost?
Here is a breakdown of the charges you will need to pay at each step:
- File opening charge - Dh269
- Entry permit – Dh500 (if wife is outside the UAE) or Dh1,180 (if wife is inside the UAE)
- Change of status - Dh675
- Medical fitness test – Dh320 (general)
- Emirates ID – Dh170 for 1 year, Dh270 for two years, Dh370 for three years
- Visa stamping – Dh500
- Health insurance – Depends on the coverage and benefits you apply for.
Also, if you have applied for the visa through a typing centre, you will need to pay their service fees or typing charges as well. The cost can vary from one service provider to the other.
Write to us
Do you have any questions related to visa procedures, costs or requirements in the UAE? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org