How To Get Temporary Work Permit In Dubai

Getting a job in Dubai isn’t easy. If you’re an expat, you’ll need to get a work visa before you can even think about working here. However, there’s a temporary work permit that may be right for you — especially if you’ve recently arrived in the UAE with B2B visa only. A temporary work permit allows passport holders from certain countries to enter Dubai while getting jobs on short term contracts. There are many reasons why the temporary work permit may be an ideal choice for you, but one of the biggest is the fact that it is easier to obtain than a work visa at first.

If you are looking to work in Dubai, knowing how to get your work permit is a necessity. The UAE is one of the best places for expats and even has residency visas for permanent residents. The best part about working in Dubai is that it’s possible to live there without a visa. We will base our discussion today on – How To Get Temporary Work Permit In Dubai. But, other resources which you can find on our website include some frequently asked questions such as: temporary work permit fees and temporary work permit uae benefits

With a construction boom that has become the envy of the world, hordes of job hunters are rushing to Dubai to land a job. The Gulf sheikhdom is seeing a record number of expats flooding in thanks to the fact that there is an estimated $10 billion worth of projects depicting an enormous demand for labor. With all these people moving in, the easiest way for expats to find work permits is via employment agencies or recruitment firms. There are several companies in Dubai which charge a fee but provide legal services to obtain a permit as well as offer documentation like visa and Iqama.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of those countries who are very welcoming towards foreigners, and for this reason lots of expats have been choosing to either relocate or do a working holiday in the country. Now, most people choose to visit the UAE for different reasons, leisure, business or education being amongst the top reasons however one of the greatest perks that almost all expats will enjoy is being able to set up a local bank account wherever they stay in the country which means they can transfer money from their home country directly into the bank account without any problems which is what makes students, retirees and those on a working holiday so happy!

How To Get Temporary Work Permit In Dubai

This is an extract from our book that we’re writing as we grow our business. We’re planning to finish it in a month or so — it’s going to be a kind of guide we wish we had when first started out in Dubai.

Dubai is known as a global center for trade, economics and tourism. Its ambitious strategies regarding economic growth of the country attracted a good number of global companies to start their offices there. Dubai’s policies aim to attract global talent working for world-class organizations in several specialized fields to grow its economy by improving commerce, tourism and other sectors.

Foreign nationals who want to live in the UAE long-term must have a Residence Visa. In addition, if you want to be allowed to work, you must also have a work permit for the UAE.

However, before everything, you need an employer willing to hire you and start the necessary procedure to procure your employment visa and work permit for the UAE.

The employment visa for Dubai, or any other emirate in the UAE, comes with specific rules ensuring the rights of workers are not violated.

UAE Employment Visa Rules

To be allowed to work in the UAE, you as well as the company hiring you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • The license of the company hiring you has to be valid
  • The company must not have any violations
  • The work you do must correspond to the nature of the company hiring you

Who is Eligible for a UAE Work Visa?

Any foreigner who is over the age of 18 can work in the UAE, provided that they meet the standards set by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). There is no maximum age for who can be employed in the UAE, but for workers over the age of 65, the company pays a higher fee.

Foreign workers are divided into three categories, based on their academic qualifications/skill sets:

  • Category 1: If you have at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Category 2: If you have a post-secondary diploma in any field
  • Category 3: If you have a high school diploma

What documents do I need for a UAE employment visa?

When applying for an employment visa for UAE, you need several supporting documents, such as:

  • Your original passport along with a copy of your passport
  • A passport-size picture, in line with UAE requirements
  • Copies of your academic qualifications. Your qualifications have to be authorized by the UAE Embassy or consulate in your country as well as from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.
  • Medical certificate, issued by a government-approved health center in the UAE.
  • Documents from the company hiring you, such as the commercial license of the company or the company card

As per the new employment visa rules in UAE for 2018, a certificate of good conduct is not required, until further notice.

How can I get a Work Permit in UAE?

Your employer has to obtain the work permit on your behalf. It is the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) that’s in charge of issuing work permits for the UAE. The application process for a UAE work permit is:

  1. The employer prints the application for the work permit at the Tas’Heel website, the Ministry of Labour’s online system
  2. They submit the required documents (see below)
  3. The Ministry reviews their application, and asks to resubmit any documents or correct any irregularities they think are necessary
  4. The Ministry issues the approval, which the employer can download from the Ministry website

UAE Work Permit fees

The fees for UAE work permits are as follows:

  • Requesting an initial approval of a new electronic work permit: AED 200 for all categories/levels
  • Approval of the new electronic work permit (the worker’s recruitment, hiring, and their Labour Card):
    • Category 1: AED 300
    • Category 2:
      • Level A: AED 600
      • Level B: AED 1,500
      • Level C: AED 2,000
    • Category 3: AED 5,000
  • For foreign workers over the age of 65: AED 5,000 on all categories

The second category is divided into levels, depending on the ratio of skilled and unskilled workers that the company has.

In most cases, it is your employer who is in charge of covering the UAE work permit costs.

How Long Does it Take to Get a UAE Work Permit?

Upon the complete submission of documents, it usually takes about 5 working days for the Ministry to issue the work permit.

How long is a UAE Work Permit Valid?

A work permit, when you first receive it is valid for 30 days, and can be extended for another 30. This gives you 60 days to remain in the country, during which time you and your employer have to arrange to get a Residence Visa, an Emirates ID, and your Labour Card.

It is the Residence Visa in addition to the Labour Card which allow you to live and work in the UAE legally. UAE Residence Visas are issued for 1, 2, or 3 years, depending on your purpose of travel and the discretion of the UAE authorities.

How Can I Get a UAE Work Visa?

After your work permit for the UAE is approved, it serves as an entry permit, allowing you to enter the UAE on the grounds of employment. This permit is valid for 30 days, and can be extended once, allowing you a maximum stay of 60 days during which time your employer has to arrange your Residence Visa. The UAE Employment Visa procedure starts only after you enter the country.

What is the UAE Employment Visa Procedure?

After you enter the UAE with the approval you received from the MoHRE, your employer has to apply for a Residence Visa for you from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the emirate where you are employed.

Once your application is approved, the GDRFA will affix an Employment Visa (Residence Visa for employment purposes) on your passport, and you will receive an Emirates ID, valid for the same duration as the visa. You will also receive a Labour Card, which informs the authorities you have authorization to work in the UAE.

Below are the websites of the GDRFA in each emirate:

Can You Renew a UAE Work Visa?

Yes, you can. All types of Residence Visas for the UAE are issued for 1-3 years and can be renewed. Your sponsor has to renew your UAE Work Visa within the 30 days before it is set to expire.

The UAE Work Visa renewal procedure is similar to when you first obtained your visa: your sponsor has to apply at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in the relevant emirate.

However, your sponsor may also renew your visa after it expires if it is within the UAE residence visa expiry grace period.

Getting a Work Visa for Dubai

Since Dubai is one of the seven emirates making up the UAE, the process for getting a Dubai Employment Visa is the same as in any other emirate. This includes:

  1. You find a job in Dubai (either while you are on a UAE Tourist Visa or through one of UAE’s online job portals and job fairs)
  2. While you are still in your home country, your employer applies for a Work Permit for you
  3. If approved, you use the work permit to enter Dubai
  4. Your employer arranges for you to undergo a medical exam and applies for a Residence Card for employment on your behalf at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai. They must do this within 60 days, which is how long the permit is valid.
  5. Your employer arranges for you to receive a Labour Card and Emirates ID Card

How much does an employment visa in Dubai cost?

The cost for a Dubai visa fee is the same as for other emirates in the UAE (detailed above). However, in most cases, it is usually the company that has hired you which pays all the visa fee, and work permit costs.

Employment visa renewal in Dubai

Your employer, who serves as your sponsor, can apply to renew your employment visa for you at the GDRFA in Dubai or an Amre center.


If an expatriates or a UAE nationals would like to legally work for another employer on part-time basis whilst being fully employed by one of the Companies in the UAE, then a temporary work permit can be applied. A temporary work permit is provided by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) to recruit a national or an expatriate workers residing in the UAE, to carry out a certain work within a period of not exceeding 6 months.

Here are the list of the required documents in applying a temporary work permit for MOHRE registered applicants:

From the employee: From the current employer From a company taking on the worker on part-time basis:

  • Passport – copy, and must be valid for at least 6 months
  • UAE resident visa – copy, and must be valid for at least 6 months
  • Labour Card – copy
  • Photo – clear colored copy with white background
  • Academic certificate – if required for the preferred job title. The education certificate must be attested from country of origin and further attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The certificate must be in English or Arabic.
  • A letter of approval issued by the competent authority (if applicable such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses and teachers etc.)
  • A copy of the contract a) Copy of valid trade license
  • No objection Certificate allowing the employee to work on a part-time basis.\
  • Copy of the valid trade license

Temporary work permit for non-MOHRE registered applicants:

An expatriate or UAE nationals who does not have a current MOL labour card or a non-registered worker with MOHRE, can also apply for temporary work permit within a period of not exceeding 6 months. These are applicants who are:

  • Employees who currently work in the government.
  • Students that are above 18 year-old, who hold a UAE resident visa under the sponsorship of the family members, schools or universities in the UAE, on the condition that the visa is categorized as ‘student’.
  • Female expatriates (from age 18 and above) who holds a UAE resident visa under the sponsorship of a relative or family members
  • Husbands of a UAE national female
  • Children of UAE national females

Here are the list of the required documents in applying a temporary work permit for non-registered worker with MOHRE:

From the non-registered worker of MOHRE Additional Documents:

  • Passport – copy, and must be valid for at least 6 months
  • UAE resident visa – copy, and must be valid for at least 6 months
  • Photo – clear colored copy with white background
  • Academic certificate – if required for the preferred job title. The education certificate must be attested from country of origin and further attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The certificate must be in English or Arabic. 
  • The visa of the worker and the relative who sponsors the visa of the worker must have a valid UAE resident visa, this is applicable for female expatriates who holds UAE resident visa under sponsorship of a relative or family members.
  • A no objection certificate from the school or university, this is applicable for students who hold UAE resident visa under the sponsorship of the school or university.
  • The guardian approval for Children of UAE female nationals.
  • Submitting approval of the profession related authority, if applicable such as Ministry of Affairs – Ministry of Health – Ministry of Education – Sports, Youth, Community Development Authority.

Temporary work permit for applicants in special cases:

There are some cases where the temporary work permit can be obtained from the Ministry, without satisfying the condition related to the former’s employer’s approval and the validity of the card and resident visa in the following special conditions or cases such as:

  • A labour complaint that is referred by the Ministry to a court of Law.
  • If there is a confirmation that the employer failed to pay wages for the period of exceeding two months according to the wages protection office report or the labour relation offices.

Finally, these are the general conditions from the Ministry in granting the temporary work permits. First, the trade license of the establishments must be valid. Second, the new labour profession of the applicant must be suitable with the activity of the establishment or entity who applies the temporary work permit and third, the applicant must be 18 year old and above.

If you need assistance with temporary work permit, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

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