Relocating to Dubai: Visa and immigration requirements for IT professionals

Great news: You've decided to move to Dubai! With its reputation as a bustling city offering exciting career opportunities for IT professionals from all over the world, it's no wonder you're eager to pack your bags, buy a ticket, and head to this tech-driven city of the future. Perhaps you were inspired by one of our articles (like this one) or stories you've read elsewhere.

However, embarking on your new adventure, it's essential to understand the visa and immigration requirements, so you're fully prepared for the transition.

Types of Visas for IT Professionals

There are several types of visas that IT professionals can apply for in Dubai. Here are the most common ones:

Standard Work Visa

An employment visa is issued to foreign nationals who have secured a job offer in Dubai. The employer applies for the visa on behalf of the employee. To be eligible for an employment visa, the IT professional must have a relevant degree or diploma and have experience in their field. The visa is typically valid for up to three years and can be renewed.

Green Visa

The UAE's Green visa allows freelancers, self-employed individuals, and skilled employees to sponsor themselves for a 5-year residence visa without needing a UAE national or employer to sponsor them. Freelancers and self-employed individuals need a permit, proof of education, and proof of income. Skilled employees need a valid employment contract, education, and a minimum salary. The visa is renewable for the same term upon expiry.

Freelance Work Permit

A freelance work permit allows IT professionals to work as independent contractors in Dubai. This visa is ideal for those who wish to work for multiple clients or on short-term projects. To be eligible for a freelance work permit, the IT professional must have a valid residency visa and a No Objection Certificate from their sponsor. The visa is typically valid for up to three years and can be renewed.

Golden Visa

The UAE introduced the "Golden Visa" in 2022 to provide a particular visa scheme for foreign talents who want to live, work, or study in the country. The visa includes a six-month entry visa with multiple entries to proceed with residence issuance, and it is long-term and renewable for either five or ten years. Holders of the Golden visa have the privilege of not needing a sponsor and can stay outside the UAE for more than the usual period of six months to keep their residence visa valid. Golden visa holders can also sponsor their family members, including spouses and children of any age, as well as an unlimited number of domestic helpers.

Investor Visa

An investor visa is issued to foreign citizens who wish to invest in Dubai by setting up a business or buying property. IT professionals who decide to set up their own IT firm or start a technology-related business in Dubai may be eligible for an investor visa. The visa is typically valid for up to three years and can be renewed.

Visit Visa

A visit visa allows foreign nationals to enter Dubai for a short period for business or tourism purposes. IT professionals who wish to attend conferences, meetings, or job interviews in Dubai may apply for a visit visa. The visa is typically valid for up to 90 days and cannot be renewed.

It's important to note that the specific requirements for each type of visa may vary depending on the individual's nationality, qualifications, and other factors. It's always advisable to consult with an immigration expert or the relevant authorities for up-to-date information on the visa application process.

Immigration Requirements

In addition to obtaining the appropriate visa, there are several immigration requirements that you need to comply with when relocating to Dubai.

Medical Examination

All expats moving to Dubai must undergo a medical examination to ensure that they are not carrying any contagious diseases. The medical test includes a blood test and a chest x-ray.

Emirates ID

Upon arrival in Dubai, you need to apply for an Emirates ID. All residents in Dubai are required to have a national identity card. The Emirates ID also acts as your health card and is essential for accessing healthcare services.

Residence Visa

After obtaining your initial visa, you need to apply for a residence visa. This type of visa allows you to live and work in Dubai and is valid for up to three years.

Work Permit

If you are planning to work in Dubai, obtaining a work permit is a must. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is responsible for issuing work permits that are valid for up to two years. Your employer will be the one to apply for your work permit on your behalf, so make sure to coordinate with them.

Visa Processing Time

Visa processing times can vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and your individual circumstances. However, it generally takes between two to four weeks to process a visa.

How can we help?

Lucky Hunter helps companies find top IT talent from around the world. We can also assist with business relocation, finding top tech talent for executive positions and IT market research and analytics. Contact us today to learn more.

What else to read