How to get a Work Permit

Long-term employee contracts in the UAE require a work permit (also called a labor card). There are several detailed rules to follow. Some of these measures apply before employees enter the UAE, while others may be taken after they arrive. Once finalized, the work permit is usually valid for two years.

For Jobs outside of free zones, you do not need to secure a work permit before traveling, but you must obtain an entry visa upon arrival. When a worker enters the UAE, an employment entry visa is available from a desk before the immigration checkpoint. It is valid for 60 days, while the work permit is in the process.

Step by Step guide for getting a Work Permit

Several steps are in place for obtaining an entry visa and obtaining both a work permit and a residence visa in the UAE. Estimated processing times are also available for each step. They can take up to 40 days from start to finish.

01 – Visa Approval:

The first step to obtaining an entry visa (and work permit) is to get visa quota approval from the Ministry of Labor (MOL), and the employer will apply for it on behalf of the employee. If the visa is to be used in any free zone, the Quota will be approved before the employee enters the UAE.

Free zone companies have quota restrictions on work visas, usually limited to one foreign worker for every 12.5 square meters in the office. In addition, a quota for certain positions has been set for all companies with more than 100 employees. If Quota has already arrived, a quota upgrade can be applied for but not guaranteed.

Processing Time: Approval usually takes three business days.

02 – Employment Contract and Verification:

The next step is to send the employee a job offer agreement for signature and return it to the employer. It should be in English and Arabic and the employee’s mother tongue (if it is different). It confirms that the employee is reaching the proper job position, and the MOL will review the offer letter.

Processing time: It normally takes two working days.

03 – Work Permit Application:

Before an entry visa can be issued, a work permit application must be approved. During the approval process, the Ministry of Labor usually decides whether any unemployed UAE citizens can work and whether the sponsor is a registered UAE corporate entity. Otherwise, you need an approval.

Processing time: 3-5 days

04 – Worker Visit Visa:

Following the approval of the work permit, the Ministry issues an Employment Entry Visa (also called Pink Visa), which allows applicants to enter the UAE legally. This permit is valid for two months from the date of issue. It allows the holder to stay in the UAE for 30 days. He can Extend it twice while a formal work permit is in the approval process.

Processing time: 3 days

05 – Entering into UAE:

There are two options for entering the country and starting the work permit process. If the entry visa were ready before arrival, the employee would pick it up upon arrival at the airport. However, Suppose the employee was already in the UAE on another type of visa. In that case, he must apply for a ‘change of status visa’ once UAE gives him entry Visa. Or he can leave the country with the entry visa and re-enter.

Once employees enter the country, they have 60 days to complete all the formalities required to obtain a work permit and residence visa. It is advisable to perform this procedure as soon as possible instead of waiting until the last minute.

06 – Medical Test:

The UAE conduct a medical screening of all foreigners before they issue work permit.

Application time: 1 day

07 – Applying for Emirates ID:

After typing the relevant form in any typing center, the employee needs to go to the ID Service Center in the UAE. You need an original valid passport and job registration permit before you apply for ID and biometrics.

Application time: 1 day

08 – Medical Screening Result:

Obtain the Medical screening results and attach them with the application.

Processing time: 1 day

09 – Signed and Verified Labor Contract:

A signed labor contract must also be submitted as part of the work permit application. There is a new deadline for the agreement, and it must be sent to the MOL within 14 days after the medical results are released.

User can upload the wage agreement on the MOL website.

010 – Receipt of Labor Card:

Once the work permit is received, the salary can be officially introduced through the UAE government system.

Processing time: 5 days

011 – Medical Health Insurance Application:

As health insurance is now mandatory in the UAE, all employers must provide coverage for exp workers (or buy them themselves). A work permit cannot be issued or renewed without a valid insurance card.

Processing time: 5 days

012 – Residence Visa Stamping:

All expat workers and their families will need a residence visa to stay legally in the UAE. Visa requires opening a bank account, registering a car, and opening a PO Box.

Processing time: 3 days

013 – Getting Emirates ID:

In addition to the work permit, after submitting the emirates ID application, the employee will receive an Emirates ID card in under 5 to 6 working days, which is helpful for everyday identification purposes (instead of carrying a passport).

Processing time: A stamp is affixed to the passport ten days after the residency visa

Leave a comment if you have any question!

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  1. Aoa: I am doctor shah Sulimani Consultant physiotherapist want to work there in UAE

  2. Hi my name Dr Divan Mydeen,
    I would like to move to Dubai for set up company and looking for investments,
    how I can apply residence visa ..?
    How I can Dubai without quarantine stay in other country for 15days.
    Thank you,
    Best regards,
    Dr Divan Mydeen