How to transfer UAE visa sponsorship for children

benjamin-visa 2

Like hundreds of thousands of expatriates in Dubai, we all require a visa to work and live here. Mine and my husband’s employment visas are sponsored by our respective employers. Either of us but usually the husband (“head of the family”) can then sponsor our children and our house help.

When we first came to Dubai in 2007 because of my work, I sponsored my husband and our daughter because my husband did not have any work that time. Sponsoring husband and children in the UAE is allowed but can sometimes become a tedious job that requires extra paper work. Not all women are allowed to become family sponsors due to the fact that this is a Muslim country and the immigration department insists that the child’s sponsor be the father in all circumstances. However, in case the husband (Father) has lost job and got his visa cancelled, it will be necessary for wife (mother) to sponsor the visa, if the mother works in UAE. 

Our son, Benjamin is under his father’s sponsorship but due to changes in his employment situation, we needed to transfer the visa under my sponsorship. Pristine had been under my sponsorship since 2007.

I receive a lot of inquiries via my private email regarding this so this blog post. Hope this helps.

* Please note that when the wife becomes the sponsor, the immigration officers deal with this in a case to case basis so additional documents may be needed other than the ones listed below.

1. Original passport of child/children to be sponsored

2. Original passport of sponsor

3. No objection letter (should be typewritten as handwritten is not accepted). It should state that the current sponsor (in our case, my husband) has no objection/accepts that the visa sponsorship is transferred to the new sponsor (in our case, mine). In some cases, the immigration officer might ask for this letter in Arabic so better prepare both in English and Arabic. We were lucky they accepted ours in English.

4. Labor contract of new sponsor – The sponsor’s monthly salary shall be Dhs3,000 + accommodation or a total of Dhs4,000 as per the employment contract approved by the Ministry of Labour. The Contract to be attested from Immigration Department on payment of Dhs120.

5. Proof that husband cannot sponsor – we presented the end of contract letter from his company.

6. Birth certificate of child

7. Marriage certificate

8. Tenancy contract (accommodation rental agreement). It has to be attested through Ejari online system of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).  The Tenancy contract should be under the sponsor’s name. Our tenancy contract is under my husband’s name so we attached his passport copy and explained that we are living together.

9. Electricity bill (I think this is used as proof of address)

10. 1 photograph of the child in white background

1. Go to the immigration office (the main is in Jaffliya but you can also apply at the municipality office, we went to the one in Al Twar near where we live).

2. With all the required documents, approach an authorized typing center (there is a typing center in all immigration branches). Tell them whether the child is in the country or outside the country. You pay the visa fees at the typing center.

3. Once  the typing is done for the new Entry permit, approach the immigration department and present your application.

4. This is where you will be asked to see the supervisor who will assess this as a “humanitarian case”, check all your documents and HOPEFULLY sign the entry permit form. You may be asked questions as to why there is a need to transfer the visa (where is the father? What is his visa status?)

5. Once you receive the Entry Permit, if the child is inside UAE, you need to get the status changed by again approaching typing center and typing the form.

6. When that is done, approach the immigration desk again to stamp the visa.

*Medical is not required for children below the age of 18 years.

We paid Dhs 830 at the typing center. This includes Residence visa fee, transfer fee and Emirates ID.


Main Branch
Bur Dubai, Karama, Opposite Jafiliya Metro Station
Working Time: 7:30am – 8pm (Sun-Thu)
Immigration Call Centre 800 5111

Dubai International Airport (Terminal 3)
Gate No.2, Departures area
Phone: 04-707 5388
Timing: Around the clock, seven days a week (including holidays)
Services: All visa related services (including e-gate card)
NOTE: Urgent service only for new visa stamping and renewal (Courier service not available)

DNATA Emirates Building
Near Clock Tower, Deira
Phone: 04-707 5946
(Dh25 extra service charge for each transaction)
Timing: 7:30 to 2:30pm

A’amal Center – Hyatt Regency
Hyatt Regency Hotel-Deira
Business Centre, First Floor
Phone: 04-707 5922
(Dh30 extra service charge for each transaction)
Timing: 8am to 2:30pm

Municipality Service Centre
Al Towar, Qusais, Opposite Al Towar Mall
Phone: 04-707 5162
Timing: 7:30 to 8pm

Bin Souqat Centre
Al Rashidiya
Phone: 04-707 5939
Timing: 7:30 to 8pm

Arabian Centre
Mirdif / Al Mizhar
Phone: 04-707 5181
Timing: 7:30am – 8pm

Getting our UAE visas in 2007

Sponsoring husband and children in the UAE

The usual expat family scenario is this: the husband gets a job assignment in Dubai and the wife (“trailing spouse”) and children join the husband to start their new life in Dubai. The husband’s visa will be sponsored by his employer and in turn, he will sponsor the visa of his family members.

However, some cases are different – like ours.

We came here because of the job offer I received. In some expat families, the spouse with the employment permit arrives in Dubai first and make the necessary arrangements to settle (find a house, car, school etc) before calling in the other family members.

I didn’t want to come here alone. (More like, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing my small child is miles and miles away)

My husband and then 3-year old daughter came together with me as tourists. I had an employment permit. I worked, my husband was the “trailing spouse” who stayed at home to reconnect with his daughter and made lovely bentos for me everyday.

Getting our UAE visas in 2007

This was taken in 2007, right after we got our UAE visas 

In cases like this, the husband could look for a job immediately before his tourist visa expires 30 days after arrival and extendable for another 30 days but it wasn’t an option for us that time: we have yet to find a school for our daughter as well as someone to take care of her after school hours. He can’t go around looking for a job with a three year old child in tow. We didn’t have much time so I had to sponsor him first (and our daughter).

I get asked for questions like this: How do you go about sponsoring your husband in the UAE?

The thing is – being a Muslim country where it’s regarded that the men should be the ‘head of the family’, not the women, not all women can stand as a sponsor for their family members, the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs requires that “the wife shall be an engineer, or doctor or a teacher”.  If the woman works in other than the above listed professions, she needs to make a petition to the department to be exempted from this requirement, and the immigration department will decide on this request and pass its resolution of acceptance or rejection. In case of acceptance, the basic salary in this case shall be Dhs 10,000 or Dhs 9,000 plus accommodation. (Reference)

We got our UAE visas – mine first at the end of February 2007. Though I had an employment permit, I need to undergo medical tests (as all workers here do) before my passport gets stamped with residence (not to be confused with permanent residence visas in other countries as “Residence” status in the UAE is tied with your job. You lose your job and you only have 30 days either to find another or exit the country.). I needed to get my residence status first before I can sponsor family members.

Time was running out of their tourist visa.

I was so scared they’d have to fly out of the country and come back again with a new tourist visa (Japan passport holders get automatic tourist visas on arrival). That time, my husband knows very little English and Pristine (then 3) wasn’t very comfortable without me.

Luckily, we got their visas at the nick of time.

*The husband got his ‘wife’s visa’ replaced with his own residence (employment) visa after my mom came to stay with us and he finally went out and got a job, 4 months after we arrived.

Do you have any UAE visa questions? I’ll do my best to answer them, shoot me a comment below if you have.

Canadians now need visa to enter the UAE

canadian passport

UAE’s two major airlines Emirates and Etihad asked to Canada to expand landing rights to Ottawa and was refused. The result?

Canadians traveling to the UAE on visit or business will be charged hefty visa fees from January 2, 2011.

Previously, Canadians didn’t need to apply for visit/tourist visas to come to the UAE just like citizens from 33 countries but now, UAE visas must be paid and applied for in writing to the UAE Embassy in Ottawa two weeks in advance of entering the UAE. The following are the cost of the visas:

  • Short term visa (30 days) – CAD 250
  • Long term visa (90 days) – CAD 500
  • Six months multiple entry visa – CAD 1000

What a sad sour turn for two countries who used to have strong ties. UAE Ambassador Abdullah Al Gafi said,

The UAE was Canada’s largest trading partner in the Middle East with bilateral trade figures of over $1.5 billion, of which 95 per cent is Canadian exports.

I feel sorry for the individual Canadians who need to shell out cash to visit or do business in the UAE just because the Canadian and UAE government couldn’t discuss the matter in a more sensible and mature way. In this scenario, Canadian travelers to the UAE look like kids suffering because two bickering (divorcing) parents!

News source: Gulf News

New rule for Filipinos traveling to Dubai

I would like to thank the Philippine Consulate in Dubai for giving me something to write today. Sadly, it won’t be anything but a rant.

So a cousin who lives in the Philippines want to come visit me in Dubai. I got her visa and plane tickets but was informed through hearsay* (there has been no official circular whatsoever) that there is a new policy for Filipinos traveling to Dubai on Tourist/Visit Visas: a document called “Affidavit of Support and Guarantee” containing the personal details of the sponsoring family member here in Dubai and declarations like “I guarantee that the subject (visitor) shall not be in any way or manner whatsoever a public burden in the UAE”, etc has to be notarized at the Philippine Consulate as this is a requirement at the Phillipine Immigration counters at the airport prior to departure.

Simply put, the new rule means: No notarization? (Even with an official visa issued by the UAE Immigration + plane tickets) Your butt stays put in the Philippines.

Unless maybe you agree to some “under the table” transaction which is a regular scene there.

The number of days to get that notarization: Ten working days, with a fee of 100 dhs (US$27). The amount won’t hurt much but the nuissance of going to the embassy and waiting for that ten working days is not a joke. I arrived at the consulate at 6:30 am because I was told people practically “camp” out there at the crack of dawn. I was already the 10th in the queue. There were countless others who have lined up for passport renewal, etc. The embassy does NOT open until 8:30 am but if you come at 8:30, expect to spend the rest of your day there until they close at 3 pm.

When I was finally called in after two hours of standing in the line, my documents were rejected because the first line in the Affidavit of Support and Guarantee, says “I, _____, of legal age, Filipino citizen…”

I am not a Filipino citizen anymore after acquiring Japanese citizenship through naturalization in 2003. I asked them to just cross out the “Filipino” part and just accept the document because regardless of the citizenship I am holding, I am a legal sponsor but was told, “This is not your embassy anymore. You have to go to the Japanese consulate to authenticate your signature and to ask for a document that certifies your nationality. Then you come back to us.”

What serious bullshit. They mean to say that non-Filipinos who want to sponsor relatives or friends living in the Philippines to come to Dubai need to go through an extra round of paper work that will cost them their time, money and sanity – the Japanese embassy doesn’t have a clue what the Philippine embassy requires, neither do they understand the need for it. Just for the record, the said document or the notarization is NOT required by the UAE goverment.

As a common sense and I bet in any international law, once a visa to the country of destination is issued, the traveller is cleared of all the requirement and has passed eligibility for entry. What the hell is the notarization hullabaloo of the “Affidavit of Support and Guarantee” for!? Oh, I get it, additional income stream for the Philippine government. Then just take the money and spare the people suffering outside your embassy gates hours before you even open. In the desert heat!

Please let’s not start with the debate that it’s with a good intention – to curb “human trafficking” that’s why the visa sponsor has to make a personal appearance at the consulate office. If the Philippine government is serious in preventing entry of would be unfortunate victims of human trafficking, I suggest they start cracking down on employment agencies shrouded with lies – sending women abroad, promising them good jobs while they end up as slaves in the Middle East, some going back home in wooden boxes. Totally heartbreaking.

AND? In all this circus, I heard there’s this miracle person called “THE FIXER”. He/she charges triple the amount at 300 dhs (US$81) but guarantees that you won’t have to be absent from your work, queue outside the embassy at dawn to submit your documents and queue again to get it after ten working days. Smooth operator, huh.

So what if a real human trafficker hires the efficient service of THE FIXER? Then so much for that “good intention”.

You can download the PDF version of the Affidavit of Support and Guarantee here.

* This new rule was reported in one of the UAE newspapers, Khaleej Times last September 20, 1010.


UPDATE: Unjustified offloading of Filipino travelers to Dubai have been getting attention in the UAE lately, as posted in UAE newspaper Gulf News. Please read my recent blog post about this as there is information as to where to file your complaints if you have been victimized by corrupt airport officials.