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Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s Digital Government has published a comprehensive report for new students registered for the upcoming academic year about requirements of official authorities concerned with issuing visa and residency, as well as the conditions and procedures involved for them to apply for golden residency.

The report answers the most commonly asked questions and clarifies any doubts the students may have. 

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Who is eligible to apply for a student visa?

A foreign student who is guaranteed either by his or her parents living within the UAE or by the university or college in which he or she plans to study. Student affairs offices in universities are specialised in facilitating the procedures for obtaining a student visa.

What is the validity of the student visa?

The student visa is issued for one year only, and can be renewed for a similar period after submitting official proof of continuity of study issued by one of the higher education institutions in the UAE where the student is studying. Student affairs offices in universities are specialised in facilitating the procedures for obtaining a student visa.

What are the documents required?

Certificate issued by the university or educational institution specifying the duration of study, and any other requirements specified in the general provisions for a residence visa.

Can students sponsor their families?

Foreign university students can bring their families to live with them in the UAE as long as they have the financial capacity required and the provision of appropriate housing.

Foreign residents can sponsor their male children until they reach the age of 25 years. Accordingly, male students over the age of 25 can continue to have their parents’ residency as long as they provide written proof of their admission to a higher education institution for a period of not less than one year, and for female students, their parents can continue to provide them with a “student visa” regardless of their age.

When is a student eligible to apply for a golden visa?

The UAE grants golden residency to a number of student categories, including outstanding students and some eligible high school students.

If the student is in high school and obtains a high ranking at the state level (with a grade of no less than 95 per cent in a public or private high school), he may obtain a golden residency visa for five years without a guarantor, provided that a letter of recommendation is submitted from the Ministry of Education (Emirates Education Foundation). The residence permit may be renewed if the student is still registered in one of the universities in the country and needs a study period of more than five years.

As for UAE university students, outstanding students can obtain a 10-year residence visa without a guarantor, provided that the following requirements are met: The university must be classified (A) or (B) and be approved by the Ministry of Education; a letter of recommendation from the university or the graduation certificate should state that the student’s cumulative GPA is not less than 3.5 in A-rated universities or 3.8 in B-rated universities, and no more than two years must have passed since graduation.

How long does it take to get the student visa?

Under express processing, students can get the UAE student visa within 10 days. Otherwise, it can take 15-20 days, depending on the institution. UAE student visas are valid for a period of 12 months. International students have to renew their student visa at the end of the 12-month period if their programme is longer than that period.

When should one apply for a student visa?

Ideally, the student visa process should start at least one-two months prior to the beginning of the semester, so that other aspects of the checklist can be taken care of. International students have to submit their visa renewal documents at least a month prior to the date of visa expiry.

What work opportunities exist for foreign students on a student visa?

International students in the UAE can take up on-campus, as well as off-campus work. However, they would require permission for their university for this. If students have university sponsorship, they can approach the UAE Labour Department to obtain a permit to take up part-time jobs in the UAE.

What is the cost of the student visa?

The approximate cost of a student residence permit is Dh2,500, excluding security deposit (if applicable), file opening fees (if applicable), legalisation of documents and translation (if required). An additional fee of Dh500 will also apply.