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June 14, 2023

UAE Family Visas: Everything you need to know

If you want to bring your family over to the UAE with you, you'll need to get a UAE family visa.
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When you move over to the UAE you can sponsor your family to move with you. There are certain rules, regulations and requirements that you'll need to know about, and that's what we'll talk about in this blog – the ins-and-outs of getting a UAE family visa.

Moving to the UAE as an expat is an exciting time - it's a whole new adventure with your family. Luckily there are processes in place that mean you can bring them over with you. The person bringing their family to join them is known as the 'sponsor', and the family members joining them are known as 'dependents'.

Any expat can sponsor their family as long as they meet certain requirements. These requirements differ depending on whether the sponsor is male or female. To sponsor a spouse and children:

  • A man must be earning at least AED 4000 (or AED 3000 + accommodation) a month
  • A woman must be earning at least AED 10,000 (or AED 8000 + accommodation) a month

There are further restrictions on women who want to become sponsors. In Abu Dhabi, any woman wanting to act as a sponsor must work as either a teacher, engineer or medical professional. In Dubai, although there aren't any occupational limitations, women have to seek special permission from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in order to become sponsors.

Dependents over the age of 18 must pass a medical test at an approved health centre in the UAE. Upon passing, they're given a medical clearance certificate. Anyone who fails the medical test will be ineligible for a visa. Same-sex partnerships are also ineligible for sponsorship as the UAE doesn't recognise same-sex marriage. It's also worth keeping in mind that the dependent's visas are tied to the sponsor's. If a sponsor's visa is cancelled, so are those of the dependents.

As part of the UAE family visa process, you will need to attest your documents. If you want us to take care of it for you, we'll happily give you a quote.

An image of some beautiful looking buildings in the UAE. On the left are some palm trees, on the right a vibrant blue river, and in the distance some towers.

Who can I sponsor?

The sponsor can bring any of their immediate family with them, although there are some things to be aware of.

  • Spouse - In some strict cases a Muslim resident can sponsor two wives (depending on terms set out by the GDRFA)
  • Sons - You can sponsor sons up until the age of 25 (there are no age restrictions if the son has special needs)
  • Daughters - Daughters can only be sponsored if they are unmarried
  • Step-children - Step-children can be sponsored, but the sponsor will need to pay a deposit and provide a written no-objection certificate from the biological parent. Visas for step-children need to be renewed annually.

Parents can be sponsored too, but things get a bit more complex. You cannot sponsor one single parent; they must be sponsored together. The only exceptions to this are if they're divorced or one has passed away, in which case you'll need to provide evidence. You need to pay a deposit per parent, need to take out a medical insurance policy for them, and you'll need to be earning a monthly salary of at least AED 10,000 (alongside two-bedroomed accommodation).

The salary threshold mentioned in the previous section changes depending on how many dependents a sponsor has. If you're sponsoring up to 5 dependents, you must be earning at least AED 10,000 a month. If you're sponsoring 6, it's a minimum of AED 15,000. If you're wanting to sponsor more than 6 family members, you will need to apply for special dispensation.

What documents do I need for a UAE family visa?

  • UAE Visa application form
  • Passport copies of your dependents
  • Coloured, passport-size (45mm x 35mm) photos of your dependents
  • Medical clearance certificate (of any dependent over 18)
  • Copy of employment contract or company contract
  • Salary certificate from employer detailing monthly salary
  • An attested marriage certificate
  • Attested birth certificates of children
  • Registered tenancy contract
  • Latest utility bill
An image of the skyline of Dubai for UAE family visa blog

We advise you to get your documents ready as soon as possible, as in some instances supporting documents can take several months to be processed. You don't want to risk leaving it too late. You never know what complications might arise and delay the process.

Our team are knowledgeable on the process of moving to the UAE - we're staffed by expats, so if there's anything you need help with feel free to get in touch. We're happy to share our experiences.

We can help you with the attestation side of moving your family to the UAE, too. As part of the process you'll need to provide an attested copy of your marriage certificate and, if you're sponsoring children, you'll need attested copies of their birth certificates. As attestation experts, we can take care of that for you with absolutely no issues.

Some of the documents needed for a UAE family visa need to be attested. The attestation process can be confusing, difficult and longwinded. If you're struggling with document attestation, we can take care of it for you. Call us on +971 (0)4 871 6718, email us at hello@vitalcertificates.ae, or request a quote below!

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Get in touch by phone, email, or Whatsapp. We're available between Monday - Friday, 8:30AM - 5:30PM.

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Declan Ramsden

By Declan Ramsden

Declan is a Content Creator at Vital Certificates. He studied English Literature for 4 years before joining the company. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to retro music and reading classic novels – particularly Charles Dickens!
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