UAE: Visa Transfer Restrictions & New Application Process

On 12th May 2016, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) passed the rule that Dubai will no longer allow visa holders to transfer any employment or dependant visas which have been issued in other emirates.

Historically, certain cases have been considered and visas have been transferred from other emirates to Dubai if approved by the relevant authorities. However, under the new ruling all applicants wishing to reside in Dubai must first cancel their existing visa with the emirate in which it was issued before applying for an entry permit with the Dubai authorities.

It should be noted that employment and dependent entry permits are valid for sixty days from the date of issue and cannot be renewed, therefore all entrants should comply with entering the UAE within this timeframe.

A new process for applying for visas was introduced by the GDRFA on 6th April 2016. The system, known as “UAE Vision”, has been introduced at over 600 typing centres in an effort to provide a more efficient visa application process.

Applicants will still require all of the documents necessary for the previous manual system, however they will now be submitted by way of uploading them online at the typing centre. This subsequently removes the need for the applicant to visit the GDRFA headquarters or any of its branches to submit an application.

The main services that can be applied for using UAE Vision are as follows:

  • Visa application
  • Residency renewal
  • New residency application
  • Visa cancellation

It is essential that applicants provide up to date contact details such as telephone number and email address at the typing centre upon submission as they will be notified of the status of their application by SMS or email.

Individuals applying for residency will give their passport to Zajel courier service who, upon approval of the application, will return the passport to the applicant”s designated address. The applicant will then be notified by SMS that their application has been approved, and will prompt them to visit the GDRFA headquarters in order for their passport to be stamped.

This process also applies to residency renewal application and visa cancellations.

Those applying for a visit visa are required to submit the following documents at the typing centre:

  • Application form
  • Passport copies of both the sponsor and the visitor
  • Attested copies of the sponsor”s labour contract
  • Sponsor”s bank account IBAN numbers
  • A copy of the Sponsor”s visa
  • Tenancy contract
  • Latest DEWA bill
  • Photograph of the visitor
  • Proof of relationship

The fees for visit visa applications remain the same, being Dh400 for the visit visa, Dh100 sponsor deposit, and Dh220 for file opening charge.

Once the application has been approved, the applicant will receive their visit visa as an e-visa via their designated email address.

For further information on the UAE vision service, or on UAE immigration in general, please email us at

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