How to Sponsor A Family: Residence Visa in the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi)

For OFWs based in the UAE who want to bring their family to the country so they can live with them (whether in Dubai or Abu Dhabi or the other emirate states), here we share the procedure on how you can apply for a family sponsorship visa. Please take note that only those who are based in the UAE (and have a valid residence visa) can apply for another residence visa for their dependents (spouse, children, parents). Be advised on the process below:

Every worker has his or her own burden to bear. For the migrant Filipino workers, it is usually the distance between them and their loved ones that hit the hardest. However, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the UAE can now smile as the government has made the process of sponsoring for a family residence visa so much easier.

Here is a complete step-by-step guide to getting a UAE family residency visa request under way:

Before everything else, it is necessary to secure an entry permit for the family you wish to secure the resident visa for.

Documentary requirements for an entry permit

  • completed entry permit application
  • a certified copy of the passport(s) of those to be sponsored, with at least six months’ validity
  • a passport-sized photo for each dependent
  • if sponsoring your spouse:
    • a marriage certificate (original and copy, certified and legally translated for non-Arab nationalities)
    • a bank guarantee of 5,000 AED if you have a second wife
  • if sponsoring your children:
    • a birth certificate (original and copy, both duly certified)
    • for daughters over 18 years of age: a written statement testifying that they are unmarried
    • an attested salary certificate and employment contract (original) Teachers, imams, and bus drivers for educational institutions are exempted from this requirement.
    • bank statements for the past three months
    • your original, authenticated rental contract
    • your most recent water and electricity bills
    • fees: 250 AED for each application (an extra 100 AED for urgent applications)

Once these are satisfied, you can secure the following additional requirement for a residence visa application:

Documentary requirements for a family residence visa:

  • a completed application form, signed by you, the sponsor
  • the original passports of the sponsor and family member(s) as well as copies
  • three passport-sized photos for each family member
  • entry permit(s)
  • a medical fitness certificate for each family member above 15 years of age
  • proof of health insurance for your spouse and children
  • your residence visa (original and copy)
  • your Emirates ID card and labor card (original and copy)
  • fees: 370 AED (an extra 100 AED for urgent applications)

Additional note: Spouse and the children who are over 18 years of age will also need to undergo a medical check-up and pass the screening for two communicable diseases: HIV and pulmonary tuberculosis (active or dormant). If they were detected to have either of these, no residence visa will be issued.

Additional considerations when applying for a residence visa:

  • Expats, either an employer or an employee, who holds a residency permit is now allowed to sponsor their families in the UAE.
  • Employed men of any profession in the UAE can sponsor their wives and children,  provided that conditions are met.
    • For married men who wish to sponsor his wife, an existing marital relationship must be proven with an authenticated marriage certificate in Arabic or duly translated into Arabic by a certified translator.
    • For a Muslim resident who wish to sponsor two wives, he has to meet certain terms and conditions set by the respective General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  • Wives can also sponsor their husbands, although there are some extra requirements:
    • a residence permit that shows her profession as either is an engineer, a teacher, a doctor, a nurse or any other profession related to the medical sector
    • a monthly salary of not less than AED 10,000 or AED 8,000 plus accommodation
    • if she did not meet the professional criteria, but her monthly salary is over AED 10,000, she may be allowed a family residence visa with a special permission from the  Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD) (only in Dubai)
  • For parents who are sponsoring their childen, the following conditions must be met:
    • The sponsoring parent is a single mother.
    • If the child is a daughter, she can only be sponsored if she is unmarried.
    • If the child is a son, he can be sponsored only up to the age of 18. If he is studying abroad, he can be sponsored until the age of 21 upon providing the proof that he is studying. However, he has to enter the UAE at least once every six months for the visa to remain valid. It is also renewable every year, until he graduates.
    • For an expatriate resident to sponsor his stepchildren, a deposit for each child along with a written no-objection certificate from the biological parent is required.
  • If the expat wishes to sponsor his/her parent, he/she must:
    • Pay a deposit as a guarantee for each parent.
    • Sponsor both parents together and provide proof that he is their sole support.
    • Official documents as proof of death or divorce if sponsoring only one parent.
    • Must earn a minimum salary of AED 20,000 or a monthly pay of AED 19,000 plus a two-bedroom accommodation
    • A medical insurance policy for both parents with the minimum coverage stipulated for each, to be renewed each year.


  • A resident sponsor has a maximum of 60 days to apply for his dependents’ residence visa upon entry to the UAE and modify their status from an entry permit holder to a resident visa holder.
  • Family members are issued visas for one, two, or three years depending on the nature of the work and labor contract of the sponsor as well as his capacity as an employee or employer.
  • In general, expat employees are issued residency visa for one year or two years based on their labor contract, while expatriate employers are issued a residency visa for three years.
  • Sponsored residents except adult males who are continuing their education and sponsored parents can enjoy the same visa duration as their sponsors. For adult males and parents, the residence visa is granted on a yearly basis regardless of the sponsor’s visa duration.
  • The dependents, like the sponsoring expats, are granted a 30-day grace period from the date of expiry or cancellation of their visa to obtain a new residence permit. If the employee fails to renew or cancel the visa of his dependents, the dependents would be deemed illegal residents and could be liable to pay a fine.

The conditions are subject to change from time to time. Kindly check with GDRFA of the respective emirate.

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