Glossary: UAE Employment Law - Part 1

Published on 03.07.2023

As in any area of law, local peculiarities also apply to labour regulations prevailing in the United Arab Emirates ("UAE"). With our glossary of UAE employment law, we make terms frequently used in employment relationships in the UAE understandable. Today, we will provide you with an overview of identification documents typically issued for employment in the UAE from a residency and employment perspective.

Entry Permit

By applying for an Entry Permit, a new file is opened for a future employee with the UAE immigration department and the process of obtaining a Residence Visa through the sponsorship of the employer is initiated.

An Entry Permit has to be obtained for both future employees who are outside the UAE at the time of application and those who are already inside the country.

Once issued, the Entry Permit is valid for 60 days. Within this period, either entry into the UAE must take place by using the Entry Permit or the so-called Status Change for future employees already in the country has to be applied for.

Status Change

This application initiates the change of the current visa status of the future employee with the immigration department.

Residence Visa

Foreigners who wish to live (and work) in the UAE for an extended period of time require an appropriate residence permit, known as Residence Visa.

Depending on the reason for issuance, a Residence Visa is valid for one, two, five or ten years and can be extended as often as desired, provided the application requirements continue to be met. If the Residence Visa is issued on the basis of an employee position, it currently has a maximum validity of two years.

The Residence Visa is only issued digitally and no longer affixed to the passport.

Emirates ID Card

The Emirates ID Card is an identity card that is applied for together with the Residence Visa and has the same period of validity. The ID number issued with the card is assigned to the applicant once and remains unchangeable.

When applying for an Emirates ID Card for the first time, biometric data through fingerprints must be provided.

It is a legal requirement that all UAE residents possess an Emirates ID Card and carry it with them at all times.

The Emirates ID Card is the primary identification document and is required by a variety of government authorities as proof of identity or to obtain certain services.

After receiving the Emirates ID Card, the holder is entitled to, among other things, open a bank account in the UAE, obtain a driving license or have it transcribed and register a vehicle in his name.

Work Permit

In order to work legally in the UAE, employees need a Work Permit. This also applies in the event that an employee already has a Residence Visa, for example, sponsored through the spouse or another employer.

Depending on the issuing authority, the Work Permit is called Work Permit, Labour Card or Employment Card.

The period of validity of the Work Permit is linked to the validity of the Residence Visa, provided the employer also acts as the sponsor of the Residence Visa.

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Glossary: UAE Employment Law - Part 1