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Expatriate residents holding a valid residence visa irrespective of profession are authorised to sponsor their immediate family members including spouse, children, and parent as long as they maintain the ‘income criteria’. The family's residence visas are linked to the residence permit of the sponsoring expatriate employee, however, it is not necessary for the dependent visa to have the same expiry dates as that of the employee.


As the principal sponsor for the dependents, it is the responsibility of the employee to ensure timely renewal of family visa prior to the expiry date for them to remain legal residents of the country. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) has granted a 30-day grace period post expiry date for renewal of the dependent residence visa. On overstaying in the UAE, the dependents would be deemed as illegal residents and be liable to increasing daily overstay fines, which will have to be borne solely by the expat sponsor.


Pre-requisites for the family visa renewal


Dependents residence visa renewal is approved by the authorities subject to fulfilment of the following conditions:

1.         Sponsoring expat resident should hold a valid residence permit and Emirates ID card

2.         Dependents should either be spouse, unmarried daughter, or son below the age of 18 years or studying in UAE or abroad

3.         Sponsor should meet the recommended salary requirement of a minimum of AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus accommodation

4.         Eligible dependents above the age of 18 years should clear the medical examination from the designated medical centre prior to approval of the visa

5.         Dependents should hold a valid UAE health insurance policy

6.         Sponsor should have a valid and attested tenancy agreement or title deed in their name


Can the family visa be renewed out of the country?


There is no option to renew residence visa while being outside the county, hence making it mandatory for the dependents to remain inside the country during the process of the residence visa renewal procedure. The original passport of the dependents needs to be submitted to the Immigration authorities for endorsement of the renewed visa. Once visa stamping process is completed the dependents can resume travel.


Are the dependents required to attend medical examination during renewal?


Dependents above the age of 18 years and above are required to pass a medical fitness test in order to be eligible for the residence visa. Therefore, children below the age are exempted from medical examination. The examination is conducted primarily for two communicable diseases, HIV and pulmonary tuberculosis, through one of the authorised medical centres in UAE. During the examination, the dependents blood sample would be collected and if requested by the authorities would need to undertake an x-ray of their chest. The dependent is expected to obtain a medically fit certificate from the health authorities in order to be eligible for the remainder of the renewal procedure. 


Is biometric captured during each renewal?


All the foreign nationals living in UAE are obligated to register with Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) for issuance of the emirates ID card. Generally, biometric details need not be submitted during the renewal process however, dependent children who have turned 15 years of age after the issuance of the previous Emirates ID card would be required to submit their biometric details.  Additionally, in some cases the requirement for biometric would be mentioned in the Emirates ID application form.


Can the residence visa for sons above 18 years of age be renewed?


The residence visa for the son can be renewed up to 18 years of age, however, male children who are continuing their studies in a university would be approved a one-year visa provided they produce a certificate of enrolment from the university. Additionally, students who have graduated from universities in UAE or abroad will be eligible for 1-year residence visa, on submission of a copy of the attested university or school certificate, which can be renewed for an additional year from the graduation date.


What is the age limit for sponsoring female children?


Currently, there is no age limit for sponsoring daughters in the UAE, unlike male children. Expat residents would be able to sponsor female children and renew their residence visas as long as they remain unmarried. Therefore, each visa renewal application should be accompanied by a declaration signed by the sponsor to undertake that the daughter is single and unmarried.


What are the conditions for renewal of parents’ visa?


Expat residents can renew the residence permits of parents annually provided they draw a monthly salary of Dh20,000 or above, or a minimum salary of Dh19,000 plus accommodation. Additionally, the employee should produce a valid tenancy agreement for two bedroom apartment, submit copy of the employment contract and bank statements to support the application. The renewed visa would also be valid for one year from the date of issuance. 


What are the basic steps involved in the family residence visa renewal?


1. Emirates ID card renewal: Along with the residence visa, the application for the renewal of the Emirates ID card is filed. 


2. Medical Examination: All Foreign nationals above the age of 18 are mandatorily required to clear the medical examination prior to being eligible for renewal of their work permit.  The medical screening test would be conducted at the authorized medical center and the results would be available within 1-3 working days.


3. Family visa approval: On obtaining a clear medical fitness certificate, the residence visa renewal application is submitted for the approval of GDRFA.


4. Endorsement of the residence visa on the passport: following the receipt of the approval the renewed residence visa would be endorsed and the sponsor is required to visit GDRFA office.


5. Receiving renewed Emirates ID card: The renewed Emirates ID card would be processed once the residence visa has been approved by the Immigration authorities. The card would be printed in within 3-5 working of the endorsement of the visa onto the passport and would be dispatched to a registered post office for collection.


 Can the residence visa be renewed earlier than the expiry date? If yes, how early?


The residence visa needs to be renewed at least 30 days prior or closer to the expiry of the visa, taking into consideration any travel requirements. The visa can be renewed up to 180 days before the expiry date at the discretion of the immigration authority.


Read blog: Sponsoring family Residence Visa in the UAE


How can BM Strategies assist?


Given the dynamic nature of the immigration environment, we at BM Strategies guide our clients on the best and most efficient options in developing, implementing, and managing compliant UAE immigration programs. Please reach out to us for more information on

Our services include:

Employment Residence Visas

Dependent Residence Visas

Emirates Id Cards

Corporate Documents Procurement/Renewal

Expiry Tracking and Renewal

De-registrations and Amendments

GCC Pension Registry Management

Document Procurement and Attestation Services

PRO Services

Benchmarking and Consultations

Compliance Management

Strategic Planning and Support


Note: The information provided here are only for the purpose of providing an overview regarding the dependent visa renewal and processes. The immigration regulations are subject to change from time to time from one jurisdiction to another. Hence the information provided hereby should not be considered an opinion or advice from BM Strategies but only a practical guide for general information.

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Posted on 20-Nov-2020.

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