How to Apply for Spouse Visa in UAE (2024)

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    How to Apply for Spouse Visa in UAE

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular international destination for expatriates seeking career opportunities and a better quality of life. However, moving to another country comes with responsibilities like obtaining the necessary visas and residency permits.

    If you are married to a UAE national or resident and wish to live with your spouse in the UAE, you will need to apply for a spouse visa. In this article, we will walk you through each step of the spouse visa application process in the UAE to help you understand the requirements and successfully obtain your visa.

    Understanding the Spouse Visa Category

    The spouse visa, also commonly referred to as a family visa, allows a married non-UAE citizen to legally reside in the country with their spouse who is a UAE national or holds a valid residency visa. It falls under the family sponsorship (kafala) system practiced in the UAE.

    Under this system, your spouse will act as your sponsor or kafeel and be responsible for your actions and well-being as long as you hold the visa.

    There are two main categories of spouse visas in the UAE:

    Joining Family Visa: This visa allows you to join your spouse who is already residing in the UAE on an employment, investor, or any other type of long-term residency visa. It has an initial validity of 2 years.

    Family Visit Visa: If your spouse is a UAE citizen, you can obtain a family visit visa which has a maximum validity of 3 months. It cannot be renewed within the UAE and you will need to exit and re-enter every 3 months to maintain legal status.

    One crucial point to note is that only legally married spouses are eligible to sponsor each other. If you are in a long-term relationship or common-law marriage, you will not qualify for a spouse visa until legally marrying your partner.

    Eligibility Criteria for a Spouse Visa

    In order to be eligible for a spouse visa in the UAE, the sponsor and applicant must fulfill certain criteria:

    • The sponsor (your spouse) must be a valid UAE national or resident visa holder. Visit, tourist, or any temporary residence visas are not eligible to sponsor family members.
    • You must provide a valid marriage certificate translated to Arabic attested by the UAE embassy in the country of issue.
    • The marriage must be legally registered and recognized in the UAE. Polygamous or unregistered/common-law marriages are not valid.
    • Age requirements may apply depending on the specific Emirate. For example, in Dubai both applicant and sponsor must be over 21 years old.
    • Sponsor must meet financial requirements like a minimum salary as mandated by the Emirates. E.g. in Abu Dhabi the monthly salary should be over AED4,000.
    • A valid passport with a minimum 6 months validity remaining at the time of application.
    • Medical fitness certificate attesting you have no contagious diseases.
    • Good conduct/no criminal record certificate from your home country.
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    Meeting all the criteria does not guarantee visa approval. Authorities review applications on a case-by-case basis.

    Gathering Required Documents

    Before starting the online or physical application process, you need to prepare certified copies of the necessary documents meeting the file requirements of the specific Emirate where you are applying:

    • Passport: Color photocopies of all pages including personal details and visa stamps.
    • Marriage Certificate: Recently issued (within 3 months) and legally attested original copy with Arabic translation.
    • Educational Certificates: Certified true copies if sponsor is changing your profession.
    • Residence Visa: Valid copies of your sponsor’s passport, Emirates ID, and residency visa pages.
    • Labor Contract: Recent copy of sponsor’s work contract and salary certificate from Ministry of Human Resources.
    • Valid Health & Safety Insurance: Copy of your valid medical insurance for initial and renewal visas.
    • Tenancy Contract/Utility Bills: As proof of sponsor meeting accommodation requirements.
    • No Objection Certificate: Some require letter from home country clearing visa issue.
    • Photos: Recent passport size photos of applicant and sponsor per specifications.

    Thoroughly checking requirements and ensuring your documents meet strict format standards saves time during processing.

    Initiating the Online Application

    With all documents prepped, you are ready to start the online spouse visa application on the official e-channels of the relevant Emirate. For Dubai, login to the website or smart-app of the Immigration & Visa authorities. Create an account using sponsor’s Emirates ID details and start the join family process.

    The application form will collect applicant and sponsor personal details along with marriage, passport, and dependent information. Upload scanned documents and pay the visa and medical test fees through online payment options.

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    You will be notified of the application status via SMS. If additional documents are requested, submit promptly to avoid delays. Once approved, print out the visa entry permit stamped by authorities. These electronic permits now serve as 30-day visit/processing visas.

    Medical Fitness Test Requirements

    An important step during processing is undergoing a mandatory medical test to obtain the residence visa stamp. Tests are conducted at authorized clinics under supervision of the Dubai Health Authority. Appointments for Dubai residents can be easily booked through the clinic portal.

    Tests usually screen for communicable diseases and basic health parameters. You may need to provide blood and urine samples for testing. Pregnant ladies require OB-GYN clearance. Test reports deemed unsatisfactory can lead to visa rejections. Ensure being cleared on all parameters within validity of your entry permit.

    Residence Visa Issuance & Stamping

    Upon medical clearance, you will receive SMS prompting for visa submission to the respective immigration authority. Pack your original passport, printed entry permit, test reports and payment receipt for verification. Staff will thoroughly cross-check your documents and details before approving the file.

    If approved, they’ll affix the coveted Dubai residence visa foil/sticker on the passport information page valid for 2 years for joining family visas. Complete stamping within 30 days validity of your entry permit to legalize your residency status in the UAE. This marks successful completion of the entire spouse visa process!

    Visa Renewal & Changes

    Once you receive the initial residence visa, subsequent renewals are required every 2 years by the expiry date to maintain continuous residency. Renewals involve re-initiating an online application, medical tests, and visa stamping. However requirements are simpler compared to new applications.

    Any changes like visa cancellation/transfer due to divorce, loss of sponsor eligibility, or new job/employer also necessitate cancelling the current visa and re-applying under fresh sponsorship. Maintain your visa validity at all times and promptly report status changes to authorities to avoid fines or bans.

    I hope this detailed guidance helps break down the complex UAE spouse visa process into easy steps. While handling paperwork, remember patience, organization and abiding visa terms are crucial. Sponsor cooperation is vital for smooth approvals. Resolving queries from authorities quickly through online platforms avoids delays. Most importantly, enjoy this opportunity to build your life alongside your partner in the UAE!

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    Handling Rejection & Appeal Process

    Despite your best efforts, there is a possibility of visa rejection due to insufficient documents or ineligibility. Common reasons include failure to qualify set salary/accommodation criteria, unrecognized sponsor status, or unfavorable medical test results.

    Authorities aim to promptly communicate rejection causes through SMS or their website dashboard. Within 30 days, you may submit a reconsideration request including documents addressing shortcomings. A nominal appeal fee applies.

    Typical appeals involve clarifying marriage validity, sponsor’s financial capability increase, or submitting erring medical test for review. Keep correspondence respectful in tone while defending legitimacy of your relationship and residency need. Authorities review appeals case-by-case without guarantee of favorable results. If rejected, consider remedial steps before reapplying afresh.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    This section aims to address common queries readers may have pertaining to UAE family visa applications:

    Do I need an Emirates ID?
    Yes, the resident ID card or Emirates ID is mandatory to receive services within the UAE once you obtain the residence visa. You can apply for it simultaneously during medical tests or after visa stamping.

    What is the maximum age difference allowed between sponsor and applicant?
    Most Emirates permit age gaps up to 25 years. However, people under 21 years require guardian consent besides parents being the legal sponsors.

    Is police clearance required from all countries lived in?
    Some authorities may require clearance specifically from the home country. But recent long term residence countries may also need verifications based on individual circumstances.

    What happens if the sponsor leaves the UAE?
    Your residence visa validity stops and you have 60 days grace to arrange an alternative sponsorship through an authorized establishment, relative or yourself. Failure to regularize status leads to overstay fines and bans.

    Do I need to exit the UAE during visa transfers?
    Transferring from one sponsor to another within the UAE is possible without exiting now through Ministry of Human Resource & Emiratization online platforms. But new entry permits may necessitate a short trip.

    Also Read: How to Apply for a Spouse Visa in Ireland

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