Work Permits in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide


work permit UAE is a required document for all of the employees you are planning to hire. Running your business without having the proper documentation can make you a non-compliant company, and this can bring issues.

In this article, you are going to learn everything about the work permit UAE and its different types. In addition, you will see how to get work permit UAE and how to do the work permit UAE check.

Understanding Work Permits

work permit uae dubai

In the UAE, there are many regulations employers have to follow to ensure they are in compliance. For instance, you need to apply for a UAE residence visa so they can live in the Emirates. Likewise, they need a work permit UAE to be allowed to work.

Basically, a work permit is a legal document that every employee must have to be able to work in the UAE. However, it is important to understand the different types of work permits available. Thus, there are work permits for:

  • Overseas employees
  • Transfer employee to another employer
  • Dependents sponsored by family members
  • Temporary employees
  • Mission workers
  • Part-time employees
  • Juvenile employees
  • Students
  • UAE Nationals/GCC Citizens
  • Domestic workers
  • Golden Visa holders

In the case of a work permit for a foreign employee, the establishment first needs to apply for a work permit quota before hiring.

Once the employee gets the work permit, they are able to carry out their functions in the company that is sponsoring them. Thus, employers that want to establish a workforce in the UAE, must apply for a valid work permit for each employee.

Furthermore, the employee has to apply for this document at MOHRE, and once it is approved, the employee is able to enter the country and continue with the application process.

How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Work Permit in the UAE?

When you are starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner, you need to take into account the processing times as time is a valuable resource.

Regarding the work permit UAE, the processing time tends to be fast, as it is a process that employers can carry out online. It generally takes 2 working days from the date of submission.

However, the work permit UAE processing time can be affected for the following reasons:

  • There are many applications submitted and thus the processing time can be longer due to the workload.
  • Pending document revision
  • Mistakes on the application form
  • Administrative problems
  • Security clearance

Once the employee gets the work permit, it will be valid for two years. It is possible to renew it or, if the employee wants to change jobs, to request a work permit transfer to the new employer.

Navigating the Process of Obtaining a Work Permit in the UAE

The process to obtain a work permit UAE is pretty straightforward. You just have to follow simple steps. However, be sure to gather all the required documentation to ensure there are no delays in the process.

The following are the steps you have to follow:

  1. Obtain the employment quota approval: the employer has to apply through MOHRE by filling out the application form and submitting documentation such as a trade license and Taq’eem report.
  2. Apply for the work permit: through the official MOHRE portal, the employer has to submit the application for an overseas employee.
  3. Verification: the Ministry will review the application to ensure there is compliance with requirements and documents. If there is something missing from the application, the Ministry will notify the establishment to submit it.
  4. Payment: the employer has to pay the corresponding fees.
  5. Issuance: the Ministry will issue a pre-approval for the work permit and the employee can travel to the UAE to continue with the medical examination.
  6. Visa and Emirates ID: once the employee receives the work permit, they can apply for an employment visa and the Emirates ID.

Once your employees get their work permits, they can start joining a vibrant & world-class community of individuals who live a great life in the UAE.

Costs of Obtaining a UAE Work Permit?

The fees associated with obtaining a work permit UAE will vary depending on the type of document you are applying for. For instance, applying for an overseas employee is going to be more expensive than for a Golden Visa holder.

If you are a company looking to hire a foreign employee, the work permit UAE fees will be the following corresponding to the category:

  • Category 1: AED 250
  • Class 2: AED 1200
  • Category 3: AED 3450

In addition, you have to pay the following processing fees:

  • Work permit application: AED 50
  • Business Center Commission: AED 72

However, if the work permit is for a temporary employee or a Golden Visa holder, it would only be necessary to consider the processing fees. But they also have to add the tax and collection charges.

UAE Work Permit Financial Aspects

As an employer, if you are going to apply for a work permit UAE for a foreign employee you need to analyze the costs that you would incur.

The factors that will add up to the work permit UAE cost are the following:

  • Establishment card: To be able to form your workforce, you need to apply for an establishment card first. It costs an average of AED 500 plus tax and collection charges.
  • Work permit quota: for hiring a foreign employee, you must apply for a work permit quota. It also has an average cost of AED 500 plus tax and collection charges.
  • Work permit fee: hiring a foreign employee is costlier than hiring a UAE National. The fees are much higher than for an Emirati, considering the

Mission Workers in the UAE: Can They Obtain Work Permits?

A mission worker is an employee who is looking to travel to the UAE to work for a company for a short term. This generally happens when the establishment requires a specific professional for a particular project.

In this regard, even though the employee comes to the UAE to work for a short time, it is still required to apply for a work permit UAE. Thus, it will have a duration of 3 months and it is renewable for 3 months too.

The required documentation for a mission work permit UAE is the following:

  • Worker’s coloured photo must have a white background.
  • Worker’s passport copy. It should be valid for at least 6 months from the moment of application
  • Official job offer. Signed by the employer and employee and approved by the Ministry.
  • Academic certificates

Once the employer has gathered all the paperwork, the process to apply for a mission work permit is the following:

  • The employer has to access the MOHRE website using its credentials or UAE Pass.
  • Look for the service called “Issuance of a New Work Permit – Mission work permit”
  • Click on the green icon titled “Start Service” located at the right side of the screen
  • Fill out the required information
  • Wait for approval
  • Pay the fees
  • Receive the work permit

Obtaining a UAE work permit: Essential Criteria

The essential requirements and process for obtaining a work permit UAE vary depending on the type you are going to apply.

First of all, the employee has to meet the eligibility criteria, otherwise, the work permit will be rejected. In addition, the employer also has to meet certain conditions to start the service.

Thus, the work permit UAE requirements for the employee are the following:

  • Must be 18 years of age at minimum
  • If he or she holds a specialized profession, it is necessary to meet the requirements according to the applicable regulations.
  • Cannot have another work permit that is currently active
  • Pass the medical examination test
  • Must have the required certifications and qualifications for the job role

Regarding the employer, the requirements are the following:

  • Must have quota available
  • The job offer should meet the company’s business activities
  • Have a valid business license, without any violations registered previously
  • The authorized signatory of the company should be responsible for submitting the work permit application.
  • The company must have a private status

Lastly, the employer has to gather the following documentation for the application:

  • Employee’s passport copy
  • Copy of the establishment’s business license
  • Employee’s photographs
  • Employee’s certificates and qualifications (if applicable)

How to Verify the Status of Your Work Permit in the UAE?

One of the advantages of the documentation provided by the UAE Authorities is that during the application process, you can check its status. Similarly to how you would check the Emirates ID status, you can also check your work permit UAE status.

You can easily check your work permit and even print it by just accessing the MOHRE portal. Thus, it is important to know how to check it in case you are not sure about its expiry date.

Go through the following steps to print your work permit:

  1. Enter the MOHRE official portal
  2. Under the “Services” tab on the main menu, select “New Enquiry Services”.
  3. On the search bar, write down “work permit” so you can see all the services you can check.
  4. If you want to print your document, select “Print electronic work permit” and provide the required information such as work permit number, person code, date of birth, etc.
  5. After that, you can print your permit by clicking on the respective icon.

Steps to Take If Your Work Permit Application is Denied in the UAE

A rejected work permit UAE is also a possibility once you submit your application. There are several reasons why this may happen, and some of them are the following:

  • The establishment did not apply for quota approval.
  • There are errors or incomplete fields in the application form
  • The documentation submitted is incorrect or missing
  • There are typos on your name, passport number, or any other essential information
  • The candidate has a criminal record in the UAE
  • The candidate has a current work permit with another employer

Keep in mind that to be able to apply for a work visa, and thus, a work permit for your employees, you should have an UAE Establishment Card.

Is a No Objection Certificate Required for a Work Permit in the UAE?

The NOC letter in Dubai is a document that is requested in some applications. For some work permits, it may not be necessary to prepare an NOC, while for others is an essential requirement.

The following were the cases in which you will need an NOC for work permit UAE:

  • Those who are under a family visa.
  • Employees who wish to transfer or switch jobs.
  • Employees who are going to take on a second job.

UAE Work Permit Application Status Checks

work permit uae

Once the employer has applied for the work permit UAE, it may take longer than 2 days to receive the approval confirmation. In this case, it may be helpful to check the status of your application to see if there are delays, or if it has been rejected.

The best part is that you can monitor your application status whenever you want, either by using the MOHRE website or the official App.

To check the status of your work permit application using the website, follow the next steps:

  • Enter the MOHRE official portal.
  • Look for “New Enquiry Services” to check the status, it is under “Services” in the main menu.
  • Look for “Pre approval for work permit receipt”.
  • Enter your work permit number and click on the search button.
  • After that, you will see the information about your current status.

As a company looking to expand to the UAE, you need to follow the proper procedures to start your business, including obtaining the required work permits for your employees. Contact us now to help you establish your business in the UAE and help you with documentation.

Sanjyam Dhingra

Avatar photoSanjyam DhingraShe is an esteemed Compliance Officer with extensive experience in ensuring corporate adherence to regulatory standards. Her expertise spans a wide range of compliance functions, including regulatory analysis, risk management, and the implementation of compliance programs. She excels in identifying potential compliance issues and developing strategic solutions to mitigate risks.

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