How to Sponsor your Family in UAE (Residence Visa for Spouse, Children, and Parents)

Living with your family in the UAE maybe your greatest dream as an expat. The good thing about working in this country is that you can actually sponsor your family here as there are residence visas for your spouse, children, and parents. If your income is enough and you can meet the requirements of the government, you can surely apply for the residence visas and receive the approval of the authorities. After that, you can finally live with your family while you are working as an expat here in the country.

Also Read: 10 Things to Know Before Working in the United Arab Emirates

Sponsoring your family in the UAE has a proper process. Before you can finally take them in, you must meet certain requirements. If you are not qualified to be a sponsor, you won’t be able to bring your family in the UAE so make sure to check all the required documents and qualifications to get the approval the first time you apply for it.

In case you don’t get approved for the first time, you can check with the authorities if you can apply again after meeting the terms and conditions. For those who want to sponsor their families in the country, here’s what you need to know.

How to Sponsor Your Family in the UAE

Whether you are an employer or an employee in the UAE, you can sponsor the residency visas of your family members. Prior to this law, you are only allowed to be a sponsor if you are earning at least AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus the accommodation. There is also a medical examination needed if the family member you are sponsoring is at least 18 years of age.

What are the requirements to begin the sponsorship?

Before you can sponsor a family member, see to it that you can meet the requirements of being a sponsor. This is important because if you don’t know the terms and conditions by the government, your efforts will be put into waste. So, here are the things you need to remember before sponsoring your family in the UAE.

  • You can sponsor your families in the UAE regardless if you are an expat employer or employee as long as you have a valid residency permit.
  • If you are a male resident and you are currently employed in the UAE with a minimum salary of AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus accommodation, you can sponsor your family members such as your children and wife.
  • Your profession is no longer considered when sponsoring your family in the UAE. This was amended by the government of the UAE in March 2019. Today, the law states that as long as you meet the minimum salary stated above, you can sponsor your family in the country.
  • If there are a mother and a father who wants to sponsor their children and the father meets all the standard requirements, the mother is not allowed to sponsor them anymore.
  • The sponsor should be able to apply for the residency visa within 60 days after the family members enter the country. The status should be modified from being a holder of an entry permit to being a holder of a residence visa.
  • The residence visa should have a validity of 1, 2, or 3 years depending on the nature of work and employment contract of the sponsor. The capacity of the sponsor as an employee or employer is being considered here. Usually, expat employers are given residency visas valid for three years while expat employees are given 1 to 2 years of validity.
  • Sponsored residents, except men, who are continuing their education and sponsored parents can have the same residence visa validity as their sponsor. Sponsored men and parents should renew their residence visas every year regardless of the duration of the visa of their sponsor.

What are the medical requirements for sponsorship?

Apart from the standard requirements stated above, there are also medical requirements for sponsorship. Here are the medical requirements for sponsorship.

  • To approve your application for sponsorship, your family members who are 18 years old and above and who will be granted the residence visa should undergo the medical fitness test prepared by the government. The members should be able to pass the medical test.
  • All applicants, regardless if it’s for renewal or for new applications, are required to be tested for two communicable diseases: HIV and pulmonary tuberculosis. HIV will be tested through blood while pulmonary tuberculosis will be using an x-ray test of the chest. If the applicants have HIV or tuberculosis, their residence visas will not be granted and the authorities will deport them immediately.
  • If an applicant has dormant or inactive tuberculosis, he/she will still be considered medically fit. Thus, he/she will be granted of Health Fitness Preventive Certificate for Residence which is valid for one year. Within this period, he/she needs to undergo treatments and follow-ups by the health department of the UAE.

It is advised that family members who are looking forward to a sponsorship should get tested by these two communicable diseases in their countries before they enter the UAE.

How to Sponsor Your Wife (or Husband) in the UAE

Once you meet all the requirements set out above, you can sponsor your wife here in the UAE even if you are an expat. To be able to do that, you must prove your existing marital relationship by submitting your authenticated marriage certificate. The document must be passed in the Arabic language or translated Arabic with the certification of a professional translator.

For Muslims, they can sponsor their two wives as long as they meet the requirements set by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA).

What are the documents needed to sponsor a wife?

The following are what you need if you are sponsoring your wife in the UAE.

  • A completed online application
  • Copy of your wife’s passport
  • Photos of your wife
  • Medical clearance certificate of your wife
  • Copy of your own employment contract
  • Salary certificate from your employer
  • Authenticated marriage certificate
  • Registered tenancy contract
  • Latest utility bill

How to Sponsor Your Children in the UAE

Aside from your wife, you can also get your children and live with them while you work in the country. In this section, you will know the conditions when you sponsor your daughters, sons, and stepchildren. There are new rules for children’s visas sponsored by parents so make sure that you are aware of that.

Sponsoring your daughters

As an expat employee or employer, you can only sponsor your daughters if they are unmarried.

Sponsoring your sons

An expat sponsor can only sponsor his/her son until 18 years old. If the son will study in the UAE after the age of 18 until 21, the sponsor needs to provide the evidence that his/her son is studying.

Note that as per the law, your son needs to enter and exit the country every after 6 months. The visa should also be renewed annually until your son finishes his studies.

Sponsoring your stepchildren

An expat sponsor can also sponsor his/her stepchildren provided that he/she meets the requirements of GDRFA. There is also a deposit per stepchild and a written no-objection certificate from the biological parent should be obtained. The resident visas for stepchildren need to be renewed annually.

New provisions for children’s visas sponsored by parents

According to the new law, starting from October 21, 2018, students who are sponsored by their parents and who just graduated from their universities or secondary schools or those who reach the age of 18 will be given one-year residence visa, which can be renewed for another one year after the date of graduation or on reaching 18 years old.

In this case, the parent needs to pay AED 100 either for first issuance or renewal. There is no need for bank deposits.

To qualify under this law, the parent should present duly attested graduation certificates that will come from the schools or universities of the children. It can be within the UAE or abroad.

What are the documents needed to sponsor your children?

The following are what you need if you are sponsoring your children in the UAE.

  • A completed online application
  • Copy of your children’s passport
  • Photos of your children
  • Medical clearance certificate of your children if they are 18 years or above
  • Copy of your own employment contract
  • Salary certificate from your employer
  • Registered tenancy contract
  • Latest utility bill

How to Sponsor Your Parents in the UAE

Sponsoring your parents in the UAE has additional requirements. To start the sponsorship and applying for a residence visa, you should be aware of the conditions given by the government of the UAE. Here are the things you need to meet to sponsor your parents in the country:

  • An expat employee can sponsor his parents for one year as long as he is willing to pay for a deposit per parent. This will serve as a guarantee for each parent as stated by the immigration department.
  • An expat employee is not allowed to sponsor only one of his parents. He needs to sponsor both. If he will sponsor them, he also needs to provide evidence that he is the only supporter and no one else in their home country can take care of his parents.
  • An expat employee may be allowed to sponsor one parent if the other is dead or divorced. The sponsor needs to show the official documents to justify the case of death or divorce.
  • To successfully sponsor parents in the UAE, the sponsor needs to meet the minimum salary requirement and he must be willing to provide a medical insurance policy for parents. The policy should cover the minimum requirements and should be renewed annually.
  • A sponsor should have a minimum salary of AED 20,000 or AED 19,000 plus accommodation allowance for 2 bedrooms. This requirement is according to DNRD in Dubai. Should there be any requirement by a different emirate, a sponsor is responsible to be aware of the terms and conditions.

Can a woman sponsor her family in the UAE?

Yes, this is possible. According to the law in Abu Dhabi, a woman can be a sponsor of his husband and children if she is working as an engineer, doctor, nurse, teacher, or other professions related to medicine. The minimum salary requirement should also be AED 10,000 or AED 8,000 plus accommodation. There are additional documents needed to prove that she is qualified. An expat can check the additional requirements with the authorities.

UPDATE: Please check with government authorities as there are certain laws being amended in terms of “job profession” not being a requirement anymore to sponsor family members.

But, if you are a woman who wants to sponsor your family in the country but you are not working as any of the profession stated, your application for their residence visas can still get approved as long as you have a minimum salary of AED 10,000 and you will be able to obtain a special permission from the DNRD.

If you are a single mother, you can also sponsor your child but you need to get the permission of the authorities to do this. You will also be asked to submit documents similar to the requirements of sponsoring stepchildren.

How long is the validity of the residence visa?

The length and validity of the residence visa are dependent on the type of sponsor and the person being sponsored. It can be issued with an expiry date of 1, 2, or 3 years. The renewal of these visas is the same as the new application. The sponsor needs to present the required documents and of course, he/she needs to keep everything in place so he/she can still qualify as a sponsor.

Note that the residence visa of the family members being sponsored is connected to the residence visa of the expat sponsor. Once his/her visa got canceled or rejected, the same will apply to the people he/she sponsored in the country. So, if you are an expat who wants to get your family, make sure that you will follow the renewal process to avoid getting all your visas canceled.

Your family members are given a 30-day grace period from the expiry date or cancellation of their residence visas. Within this grace period, you need to renew their visas to avoid further issues. If you will fail to renew or cancel the visas of your family members, it will be considered illegal and you will need to pay the equivalent fines and face charges. You can prevent this from happening if you will follow the rules and the timeline for the renewal.

Expats should take note of the requirements stated above. Here in the UAE, it’s possible to live with your family while you are working as an employee or an employer. The process will be easy if you will ensure that all requirements are met. And even after getting the residence visas approved, you still need to maintain your status as an expat so you can live peacefully. Avoid renewing your visa at the last minute so you can prevent issues from happening. You and your family members can live happily together in the country if you will follow the rules and regulations.


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