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How to Convert Visit Visa to Residence Visa in UAE? Woman Infront Of The Burj Al Arab Tower

How to Convert Visit Visa to Residence Visa in UAE?

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Written By Arabiers Digital & Reviewed by Robeena Brown

02 July 2024 | 13 min read

Are you a tourist who found a good job opportunity in the UAE without knowing how to proceed? Or have you visited your husband and want to continue staying with him in the UAE? If you answered yes to either of these two questions, you have come to the right place.

What is a Visit Visa?

A visit visa is an entry permit issued for tourist purposes that allows a foreign national to stay in the UAE for a specific period legally. Visit visas are issued only for 30 days or 60 days durations. A person holding a 30-days visit visa can stay for 30 days starting from the date of entry. A person holding a 60-days visit visa can stay for 60 days, counting from the date of entry. The visit visa can be issued as a hardcopy or a softcopy and must be sponsored by a UAE-based airline, hotel, or travel firm.

What is a Residence Visa?

A residence visa is issued to a foreign national after entering the country. For a residence visa to be issued it has to be sponsored by an eligible entity like the employer/company or spouse who meets the GDRFA(General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs) criteria to sponsor. Mandatory steps that need to be completed for a residence visa to be issued are proving that the individual is medically fit by facing a set of medical tests and passing a security check. The legally permitted stay duration of the residence visa may vary between 1, 2, or 3 years depending on its type and the sponsor. After the residence visa has been issued, a stamp will be placed on the passport. This makes it easy for the holder to travel out of UAE if the need arises during his residency. If the residency visa holder stays out of UAE for over 6 months, the residence visa will be nullified automatically.

What is the Difference Between a Visit Visa and a Residence Visa?


Although the Federal Authority issues both for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security, they serve different purposes. The Visit visa permits the holder to stay in UAE for 1 or 3 months but doesn’t allow them to seek employment. Anyone working while holding a visit visa will be penalized as per the UAE rules. The UAE residence visa is a long-term visa permitting the holder to stay between 1 to 3 years, depending on the visa type. You can then convert visit visa to a residence visa without exiting to work in UAE. The visa can be renewed numerous times.

Benefits of Having a Residence Visa in UAE

A UAE residence visa holder can have the following benefits which visit visa holders can’t have:

  1. You can apply for a UAE driver’s license
  2. You are eligible to get health insurance and get access to government health facilities
  3. You can open a bank account
  4. You can apply for a personal or car bank loan
  5. You can enroll your children in private or government schools

What are the Eligibility Criteria for a UAE Residence Visa?

You need to meet either of the criteria mentioned below if you wish to apply for a residence visa in UAE:

  1. You are seeking employment in a UAE-based government or private company.
  2. You will complete your education in a UAE-based educational facility
  3. You are the dependent (wife, child, parent, or maid) of a UAE citizen or expat
  4. You have made an investment
  5. You have purchased real estate or property in the UAE

What are the Documents Needed?

You need to compile the following documents to apply for your UAE residence visa:

  • Completed UAE Visa Application Form
  • Applicant’s Original passport
  • Colored passport photos were taken in white background
  • Your visit visa
  • Proof of sponsor’s legal residency or UAE citizenship
  • Passed medical test certificate
  • If a residency visa is for employment purposes: Work contract and copies of company’s valid trade license
  • If a residency visa is for the family: include proof of relationship like an attested marriage certificate or birth certificate.

What is the Procedure?

  • 01   Apply visit visa to UAE

    You can apply for a 30-days visit visa or a 60-days visit visa. depending on how long you want to stay.

  • 02   A New UID will be created in the UAE Government immigration system

    The UID is a Unique 6 digit ID assigned to every visitor or resident of the UAE.

  • 03   Travel to UAE with the approved Visit visa

    Your UAE visit visa has a validity period of 60 days from the date of issue. If you don’t travel to the UAE within this duration, your visa will become invalid, and you will have to re-apply for a new visit visa.

  • 04   Visit Visa file will be marked as used

    After you have entered UAE, the file under your UID will be marked as used, signifying that you have entered the country.

  • 05   Apply for your residence visa

    This should be done during the grace period of your visit visa before it expires, or else you will be fined for overstaying. If you have found a job, this procedure must be done by your employer or company, who will be your sponsor. If you are going to stay with your husband, he should act as the sponsor and apply for your residence visa.

  • 06   Processing new Residence visa

    A new residence visa file will be created under your UID, and the status wi be changed from visitor to residence. The status change can be done without the applicant leaving the country.

  • 07   Face a medical test

    To prove that you are fit, all residence visa applicants must pass a medical test and then face a security check. If everything is ok, your application will proceed to the next step.

  • 08   Emirates ID will be processed
  • 09   New residence visa issued

    You are now finally a UAE resident.