How Long Does it Take to Process an Employment Visa for Dubai? A Comprehensive Guide

By Tiara

Dubai is a bustling city that offers numerous job opportunities for professionals from around the world. However, before you can start working in Dubai, you need to obtain an employment visa. The processing time for an employment visa in Dubai can vary depending on several factors, including the type of visa, the sponsoring company, and the country of origin. In this article, we will discuss the processing time for employment visas in Dubai and what factors can affect the processing time.

Types of Employment Visas in Dubai

Dubai offers different types of employment visas, including work permits, labor cards, and residence visas. Each type of visa has different requirements and processing times. It's essential to understand the type of visa you need and its requirements before applying.

Work Permit

A work permit is a legal document that allows an individual to work in a foreign country. In Dubai, it is also known as a labor permit and is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). This document specifies the type of work that an individual is permitted to undertake and the duration of their employment in Dubai.

Labor Card

A labor card, also known as an Emirates ID card, is a mandatory identification card for all foreign workers in Dubai. It contains personal and employment information, as well as a unique identification number. The card must be carried at all times and is required for any interaction with government agencies or financial institutions.

Residence Visa

A residence visa is a legal document that allows an individual to reside in Dubai for a certain period of time. It is issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and is tied to an individual's employment and labor card. A residence visa must be renewed periodically, usually every two or three years, and allows an individual to enter and exit the country without restriction while it is valid.

Processing Time for Employment Visas in Dubai

The processing time for an employment visa in Dubai can range from a few days to several weeks or even months, depending on various factors.

Normal Processing Time

The normal processing time for an employment visa in Dubai usually takes around 2-8 weeks. This timeline can vary based on several factors such as the complexity of the application, the number of applications being processed by the government, and the applicant's country of origin. It is essential to apply for the visa well in advance to ensure that you receive it in time.

Expedited Processing Time

For individuals who need to obtain their employment visa urgently, Dubai immigration offers an expedited processing service. This service can reduce the processing time to as little as 2-3 working days, but it comes at an additional cost. It is crucial to note that not all applications can qualify for expedited processing, and it is at the discretion of the immigration authorities.

Delayed Processing Time

Sometimes, the processing time for an employment visa can be delayed due to several reasons such as missing documents, incomplete applications, and a backlog of applications. In such cases, it is essential to keep checking the status of the visa application regularly and follow up with the relevant authorities to ensure that the process is moving forward. It is recommended to apply for the visa well in advance to account for any potential delays.

Factors Affecting the Processing Time of Employment Visas in Dubai

Several factors can affect the processing time of employment visas in Dubai. It's essential to be aware of these factors to avoid delays in the visa application process.


The sponsorship system in the UAE requires that an individual must have a sponsor to obtain an employment visa. The sponsor can be the employer or a family member who is already a resident of the country. The sponsor assumes legal responsibility for the employee during their stay in the UAE.

Country of Origin

The processing time for an employment visa may vary depending on the country of origin of the applicant. The UAE maintains a list of countries that are exempt from certain visa requirements. Citizens of these countries may be granted an employment visa more quickly than those from non-exempt countries.


Certain professions, such as those in the healthcare sector or education, may require additional clearance from the relevant authorities. This clearance can add to the processing time for an employment visa.

Security Clearance

Individuals who are seeking employment in certain sectors, such as the military or law enforcement, may require additional security clearance. This clearance can add to the processing time for an employment visa.

Tips for Faster Processing Time of Employment Visas in Dubai

If you want to expedite the processing time of your employment visa in Dubai, here are some tips that can help:

Prepare the Required Documents

To apply for an employment visa in Dubai, you will need to provide various documents such as a passport copy, passport-sized photographs, educational certificates, work experience certificates, and other relevant documents. It's essential to ensure that all the documents are valid and up-to-date. Failure to provide the required documents can delay the processing of your visa application.

Choose a Reputable Sponsor

In Dubai, employment visas are typically processed by your employer, who is also your sponsor. It's crucial to choose a reputable and reliable employer who can process your visa application promptly and efficiently. You can check the employer's reputation by conducting research online or asking for recommendations from friends and colleagues.

Be Truthful in Your Application

When applying for an employment visa in Dubai, you must provide accurate and truthful information. Providing false information can lead to your application being rejected or delayed. It's essential to ensure that all the information provided is consistent with the supporting documents.

Follow Up Regularly

Once you have submitted your visa application, it's crucial to follow up regularly to ensure that the application is being processed. You can track your visa application status online through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website or by contacting your employer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Employment Visas in Dubai

If you're planning on working in Dubai, you may have some questions about the employment visa process. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you navigate this journey.

Can I Change Jobs While Holding an Employment Visa?

Yes, you can change jobs in Dubai; however, certain conditions and requirements must be met. In most cases, you will need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current employer, and you will need to notify the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). Be aware that leaving your job without following the proper procedure can result in penalties or a temporary ban from working in the UAE.

Do I Need to Exit the Country to Renew My Visa?

Not necessarily. In many cases, employment visas can be renewed without the need to exit the country. The sponsoring company generally handles the renewal process, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) will issue a new visa sticker that is placed in the applicant's passport. However, some exceptions may require the applicant to exit and re-enter the UAE, depending on specific circumstances and regulations.

Can My Family Join Me in Dubai?

Yes, you can sponsor your family members for a residence visa once you have a valid employment visa and meet certain salary and accommodation requirements. The process involves submitting documents like your employment contract, tenancy contract, and salary certificate.

Costs Involved in Processing an Employment Visa

The cost of processing an employment visa in Dubai can vary significantly depending on the type of visa, any additional services you may require (such as expedited processing), and the sponsorship. Here are some insights:

Application Fees

The government application fees for an employment visa can range from AED 300 to AED 800. This fee is often borne by the sponsoring company, but it's essential to confirm this with your employer.

Medical Examination

Applicants will need to undergo a medical examination, which includes blood tests and a chest X-ray. The cost for these tests can vary but generally ranges between AED 250 and AED 500.

Emirates ID

The Emirates ID, also known as the labor card, comes at an additional cost, usually ranging from AED 100 to AED 370, depending on the duration (1 to 3 years).

Expedited Service

If you opt for expedited processing, you can expect to pay an additional fee, which can vary based on the urgency and the service provider.

Overall, while the sponsoring company generally covers most of these costs, some employers may require employees to pay certain fees or reimburse the company later. Make sure to clarify these details with your prospective employer beforehand to avoid any surprises.


Obtaining an employment visa for Dubai involves several steps, and the processing time can vary based on a multitude of factors. Knowing the types of visas, costs involved, and potential delays can help you plan better. Consider the tips and information provided in this comprehensive guide to make your journey to working in Dubai as smooth as possible.