Essential Employment Paperwork in United Arab Emirates



If you are going to be working for a government organisation, you will need to undergo a medical check-up and submit its results together with your application for an employment visa. 

Your application also needs to be endorsed by the government organisation you are employed by. The same system applies if you are going to be employed by a company in the private sector, except that the company’s commercial license needs to be submitted as well. There is no corporate and personal income tax in the UAE. There are no taxes levied on rental income derived from property owned. 

Residence Visa 

All foreigners who aspire to work in the United Arab Emirates are required to obtain a residence visa and labour card. You need to have a residential permit before you can apply for a labour card and the permit can be obtained when an employer in UAE can legally sponsor you. 

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs issues the employment visa initially for 30 days after you have shown proof of having acquired a job (or about to get one). Residence visas for the UAE are valid for three years whereas new permit holders are required to stay at the Emirates for the first six months of their stay. The documents that must be submitted when applying for a residence visa are listed below: 

  • Completed and signed application form
  • Several Passport-sized photos
  • Original and photocopy of the expatriate’s passport
  • Employment Permit issued by the Ministry of Labour
  • Proof of Health Insurance 

Labour Card 

The labour card will permit you to obtain employment in the UAE. Most of the time, it is the duty of the employers to process the labour card as well as the residence visa and some of the documents that must be submitted with the application are: 

  • Photograph of the expat
  • Passport of the employee (valid for at least six months)
  • Copy of the Residence Visa
  • Valid Health Certificate (must show that the expat is free from HIV)
  • Three copies of the Employment Contract (must be signed by both the expat and the employer)
  • Academic and Professional/Work Certificates of the expat 

Take note that you cannot leave the company that sponsored your work permit for another company unless the new company has agreed to sponsor you. Applications for the Labour Card are usually processed within ten business days. It has a validity period of three years with an option for renewal. Labour Cards can be extended for another three years whereas renewal must be done at least 50 days before the expiry date. 

Business Visa 

Business or investor visa is issued when the applicant has a minimum of DH 70,000 in share capital. This visa is issued for an initial period of three years.