Bringing Your Family to Dubai: The Essential Guide to Dependent Visas

19 Jun 2024

Bringing Your Family to Dubai: The Essential Guide to Dependent Visas

Dubai, known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, ultramodern infrastructure, and tax-free earnings, attracts countless expatriates each year. When it comes to relocating to Dubai with your family, understanding the intricacies of the family visa to Dubai process is crucial. This comprehensive guide delves into every aspect of obtaining a family visa in Dubai, ensuring a smooth transition for you and your loved ones.


Unveiling Dubai’s Family Visa Landscape: Who Qualifies?


Dubai, like other prominent global hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong, offers a structured and well-defined process for family visas. Dependent visas allow expatriates to sponsor their immediate family members, including spouses, children, and parents. This framework ensures that families can stay together and enjoy the vibrant life Dubai has to offer.


Eligibility Requirements for Family Visa to Dubai


Age and Marital Status:


  • Spouse Visa: The sponsor must provide a valid marriage certificate.
  • Children Visa: Male children can be sponsored up to the age of 18, extendable to 21 if they are students. Female children can be sponsored regardless of age, provided they are unmarried.
  • Parent Visa: Sponsors must meet specific salary requirements and provide proof of accommodation.


Financial Situation:


Sponsors must have a minimum monthly salary of AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus accommodation to be eligible to sponsor their family members. This financial threshold ensures the sponsor can adequately support their dependents.


Demystifying Family Visa Categories


Spouse Visa


To sponsor a spouse, the expatriate must present a legally attested marriage certificate. The process involves submitting the necessary documentation, undergoing medical tests, and fulfilling financial requirements.


Child Visa


Sponsoring children involves providing birth certificates, educational enrollment proof (if applicable), and undergoing medical tests. Male children over 18 must be enrolled in full-time education to qualify.


Parent Visa


Sponsoring parents requires the sponsor to have a minimum monthly salary of AED 20,000, along with a tenancy contract for at least a two-bedroom apartment. Proof of medical insurance and a solvency certificate are also needed.


Navigating the Family Visa Process in Dubai (Step-by-Step)


Securing a family visa to Dubai can be straightforward if you follow these well-defined steps:


Sponsorship Requirements and Financial Considerations


  • Minimum Salary Requirements: To sponsor a spouse and children, the sponsor needs a minimum salary of AED 4,000 or AED
    3,000 plus accommodation. Sponsoring parents requires a minimum salary of AED 20,000.
  • Potential Costs: The visa process includes various fees, such as application fees, medical tests, Emirates ID fees, and typing centre charges.


Gathering Required Documents


Checklist for Required Documents:


  • Passports: Valid passports of all family members.
  • Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Marriage Certificate: Attested and translated marriage certificate for spouse visa.
  • Birth Certificates: Attested and translated birth certificates for children.
  • Tenancy Contract: Proof of accommodation in Dubai.
  • Employment Contract: Proof of the sponsor’s employment and salary.


Submitting Your Application and Processing Timelines


Application Process:


  • Online Submission: The family visa to Dubai process can be completed online through the General Directorate of Residency and
    Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) portal.
  • Typing Centers: Alternatively, applications can be processed at authorised typing centres throughout Dubai.


Processing Times: Typically, the processing time for family visas ranges from 2 to 10 working days. Delays can occur due to incomplete documentation or peak application periods.


Ensuring a Smooth Transition: Essential Pre-Arrival Preparation


Finding Your Ideal Home in Dubai


Dubai offers a range of family-friendly accommodations, from villas to apartments. Online property portals like Property Finder and Bayut can help you find the perfect home. Consider factors such as proximity to schools, workplace, and amenities when choosing a location.


Schooling Options for Your Children


Dubai’s education system includes public, private, and international schools. Private and international schools follow various curricula, such as British, American, IB, and Indian. KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) provides ratings and reviews to help parents choose the best school for their children.


Setting Up Bank Accounts and Utilities


Opening a bank account in Dubai is a straightforward process. Most banks require your passport, residency visa, and a salary certificate. For utilities, contact DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) to set up your electricity and water services. Internet and TV services can be arranged through providers like Du and Etisalat.


Beyond the Application: Family Visa Renewal Considerations


Streamlining the Renewal Process


Family visas in Dubai are typically valid for 1-3 years and can be renewed. The family visa renewal in Dubai involves submitting updated documentation, undergoing medical tests, and paying renewal fees. The family visa to Dubai renewal charges may vary based on the visa type and duration.


Maintaining Eligibility for Renewal


Maintaining eligibility for renewal requires the sponsor to remain employed and meet the minimum salary requirements. Changes in employment status or income levels can impact visa renewals.


Frequently Asked Questions About Family Visa to Dubai


Can I work on a family visa?


Family visa holders are not automatically granted the right to work. They need a work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).


What happens to my family’s visa if I lose my job?


If the sponsor loses their job, they must find new employment within a grace period, or the family visa to Dubai may be cancelled. It’s crucial to maintain continuous employment to avoid visa issues.


Life in Dubai with Your Family: A Thriving Community Awaits


Safety, Security, and Quality of Life


Dubai is renowned for its low crime rates and secure environment. The city’s infrastructure, healthcare, and recreational facilities make it an ideal place for families.


A Multicultural Hub and Diverse Experiences


Dubai’s multicultural environment offers a rich blend of cultural experiences, cuisines, and events. Families can enjoy various activities, from theme parks to cultural festivals.


Building a Support Network


Joining expat communities and social groups can help families settle in and build a support network. Platforms like ExpatWoman and social media groups are excellent resources for connecting with other expats.


Embracing the Dubai Lifestyle: Tips for Expat Families


 Healthcare in Dubai


Dubai boasts a world-class healthcare system with numerous hospitals and clinics offering high-quality medical services. Expatriates must have health insurance, as mandated by the UAE government. Some of the top hospitals include Dubai Healthcare City, American Hospital Dubai, and Mediclinic City Hospital. It’s advisable to choose a health insurance plan that covers both public and private healthcare facilities to ensure comprehensive care.


Transportation and Commuting


Dubai’s public transportation system is efficient and user-friendly, comprising the Dubai Metro, buses, taxis, and trams. For families, owning a car can provide added convenience, especially for school runs and weekend outings. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) offers a straightforward process for obtaining a driving license if you hold a valid license from your home country.


Shopping and Groceries


Dubai is a shopper’s paradise with an array of malls like The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, and Ibn Battuta Mall. These malls offer more than just shopping; they provide entertainment options such as cinemas, ice rinks, and theme parks. For daily groceries, supermarkets like Carrefour, Spinneys, and Waitrose offer a wide range of international products. Local markets, or souks, are great for fresh produce, spices, and unique local goods.


Cultural Adaptation and Social Etiquette


Living in Dubai means adapting to a rich cultural heritage and respecting local customs. Here are a few key points:


  • Dress Modestly: Especially in public places and government offices.
  • Respect Local Laws: Dubai has strict laws regarding public behavior, alcohol consumption, and driving.
  • Embrace Multiculturalism: With over 200 nationalities residing in Dubai, being open to diverse cultures enriches your living experience.


Enhancing Your Family’s Dubai Experience


Engaging in Leisure Activities


Dubai offers a plethora of leisure activities for families:


  • Outdoor Adventures: Explore the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for a thrilling desert safari or visit Hatta for hiking and kayaking.
  • Theme Parks: Enjoy family fun at Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure, and Legoland Dubai.
  • Beaches and Parks: Relax at family-friendly beaches like Jumeirah Beach or visit Safa Park and Zabeel Park for picnics and play areas.


Dining Out with Family


Dubai’s culinary scene is diverse, offering everything from high-end dining to casual eateries. Family-friendly restaurants are abundant, catering to all tastes:


  • Local Cuisine: Experience traditional Emirati dishes at Al Fanar.
  • International Flavors: Indulge in global cuisines at venues like Eataly (Italian), Din Tai Fung (Asian), and Texas Roadhouse (American).


Building a Community Connection


Connecting with other expat families can greatly enhance your living experience in Dubai. Consider joining clubs and organisations such as:


  • Dubai Expat Community Groups: Available on social media platforms like Facebook and Meetup.
  • Sports and Recreation Clubs: Enrol your children in activities like soccer, swimming, and dance at places like Dubai Sports City and Dubai Marina Yacht Club.
  • Cultural and Arts Centers: Participate in events and classes at Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC) or Alserkal Avenue.


Long-Term Considerations: Planning for the Future


Financial Planning and Savings


Living in Dubai can be financially rewarding, especially with its tax-free income policy. However, it’s important to plan for the future:


  • Savings and Investments: Consider setting up savings plans and exploring investment opportunities in Dubai’s robust financial sector.
  • Retirement Planning: Though Dubai does not offer retirement visas yet, many expats choose to invest in properties or businesses as part of their retirement strategy.


Legal Considerations and Will Preparation


Expats should be aware of the legal requirements in Dubai, including the importance of having a will:


  • Writing a Will: Ensure that your assets are protected and your wishes are followed by registering a will with the DIFC Wills &
    Probate Registry.
  • Legal Advice: Seek legal advice to understand property laws, inheritance issues, and any other legal matters pertinent to living in Dubai.


Conclusion: A New Beginning in Dubai


Moving to Dubai with your family is an exciting venture filled with opportunities and new experiences. By understanding the family visa to Dubai requirements, preparing adequately for your arrival, and embracing the lifestyle, you can make Dubai your home away from home. The city’s dynamic environment, coupled with its high standards of living and cultural richness, makes it an ideal place for families to thrive and grow.


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