How to change your visa status to residency

There is good news for various visa holders in UAE. There have been recent changes in visa policies. The government has facilitated the transfer of visas into a residency one.

Previously, if a short-term visa holder found a job while staying in the country, he would have to leave the country and then return with the proper documentation. This was a time-consuming and expensive process. In order to save resources and encourage work opportunities, new regulations are being implemented.


Since this new rule has come into effect, visa holders can stay within UAE and modify their visa to become a resident. However, it is important that the application be filed before the expiry of the current valid visa. Otherwise, penalties for overstaying will be incurred. After completing the requirements, and paying the fees in lieu of leaving, the next step is to register the application through an online procedure. You may also approach an immigration office or port of entry in UAE for these services. Once the application is submitted, it can be checked via electronic tracking.


There is a different fee for each type of visa. Every applicant needs to pay the visa application processing fee according to the visa category that he is applying for. It is important to note that fees vary in each emirate and fluctuate from time to time.

Processing times

The processing time is usually two to three business days. However, the time varies depending upon which type of visa that was applied for. The good news is that the service can be expedited for an additional 100 dirhams.

Residency renewal

For those people who are already residing in UAE, they can renew their permits the same way. They must renew it before the visa expires. However, if for some reason, you are not able to complete the paperwork before the expiry date, there is a 30-day grace period to either adjust the status and get another residence visa or leave the country. The hefty overstay fines do not apply during the grace period, but once it is over, you will be fined 125 dirhams the initial day and 25 for each following one. The penalty continues to escalate, and after 6 months, it will increase to 50 dirhams a day. But after a year, it will increase to 100 a day.

For spouses

This regulation is applicable for spouses of residents as well. A male resident who works in a profession that permits him to sponsor his family can apply for their sponsorship after meeting the minimum salary requirement and proof of accommodation. Once the family enters UAE, the resident has 60 days to amend their status and file for residency. The validity of the visa depends upon the working contract of the sponsoring member. It is important to note that UAE laws do not allow sponsorship of males over the age of 18 unless he is a student at a local university. However, this does not apply to females. They are allowed residency until marriage.

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