By Bevan Berning
There are millions of expats in the UAE today. Most of them are based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Although the majority of the expats here are employed, some of them have managed to bring their families, even their parents, to start a new life in this country.
Reuniting With Your Family
A more permanent solution for Dubai expats who want to be reunited with their parents or, at the very least, to spend a longer period of time with them (and not just for a few weeks) is to sponsor them to get a legal entry visa.
Recently, the UAE government rolled out new regulations that aim to make it easy for expatriates to sponsor a resident visa for their parents, making the option of reuniting with family more realistic for many.
Bevan Berning, director of visa consultancy and immigration firm Pathway Visas, recently offered tips for expats thinking of having their parents join them in the UAE. Pathway Visas is one of the most trusted immigration services company in the GCC, and while it focuses on visa services from Dubai to other countries such as Canada and Australia, Berning draws from his immigration expertise and experience to provide the following recommendations.
Select the best type of entry visa for your parents.
Expats can get their parents to enter the UAE via a visit visa or residence visa. For a more streamlined process and to avoid costly mistakes and delays, it’s recommended that petitioners get help from trusted visa agencies in Dubai.
Parents of expats can apply for a visit visa which will allow them to stay in the country short-term (30 days) or long-term (up to 90 days). In general, this is an easier, faster, and less expensive route for them to take. The required salary for the sponsors is only DH 3,000 plus accommodation, or DH 4,000 and above if this is not included in the package. The visa fees are more affordable as well. Single entry visas valid for 30 days cost DH 330. A long-term (90 days), single entry tourist visa costs DH 800. Multiple entry tourist visas cost more. The only drawback to this type of visa is that it is non-extendable.
“If you want your parents to stay with you in Dubai permanently, you will have to sponsor them to get a residence visa; the rules and process, though, are stricter for this type of visa,” Berning said.
For parents to qualify for a residence visa, sponsors need to have a valid resident visa and have a monthly minimum income of Dh20,000 or Dh19,000 plus a two-bedroom accommodation. Also, both parents have to apply for and go to the UAE. Once they are in Dubai, they will need to apply for their residence visa which is valid for one year and renewable.
Berning added, “Your decision about which visa would be best for your parents will depend greatly on your monthly salary. If it is below the required minimum, you will have to look into sponsoring your parents for a visit or tourist visa.”
Prepare all required documents.
Once a decision has been made regarding the type of visa that best suits the sponsor’s status, the next stage would be preparing all the documents and other requirements that have to be submitted to support the parent’s application.
Sponsors can seek a reputable online immigration consultant to make sure all documents for visit and residence visa will be completed and filed correctly and on time. These may include the appropriate application forms, valid passports for sponsors and applicants, proof of relationship, copy of employment contract or certificate (stating the sponsor’s salary) issued by the sponsor’s employer, and proof of ready accommodation for the applicants (such as a tenancy agreement) are the usual required documents.
There are also visa-specific requirements such as a round-trip ticket for tourist visa applicants and proof that your parents are dependent on you if they are applying for a residence visa.
Berning advised: “Keep in mind that parents will need to apply for an entry visa first to legally enter the UAE if they are applying for a residence visa. Once they’re in, you and your parents will undergo another process of applying for the residence visa. You will have to do this within 60 days of your parents’ entry.”
Berning detailed the following steps as Pathway Visa’s quick guide for expats who want to apply for residence visas for their parents:
1. Collect all requirements. These include proof of employment, salary, and relationship, tenancy agreement, parent’s passports, and medical cards.
2. Submit all the documents and application form at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai for visa processing and issuance.
3. Pay the refundable deposit, visa typing, and courier fees.
4. The passports with visas will be couriered to the applicant.
5. Upon receipt of the passport, sponsors will need to get medical insurance for their parents, with coverage of at least DH 600 annually.
When in doubt, get experts to help you.
“Whether you want your parents to stay temporarily or permanently in Dubai with you, the whole immigration process can be difficult, complicated, tiring, and time-consuming,” said Berning.
“Our years of experience at Pathway Visas show that collating all the requirements and correctly and completely answering all the forms is essential for the successful approval of your parent’s visa application.
One missing document or an incorrect answer on the application form can lead to a refusal – a waste of all your time, money, and effort. You will have to go through the whole process and pay the same set of fees as well until they get their approved visas,” he said.
Trusted visa consultancy and immigration firms can assist expats and their parents with the whole application process from start to finish. With their help, the chances of making costly mistakes and guesswork will be minimized.
Bevan Berning is an Immigration professional and owner of Pathway Visas, an Immigration Agency dealing mostly with skilled immigration to Canada and Australia. Bevan’s enthusiasm for the industry has kept him in the Immigration field for the past seven years. Bevan is South African by birth and has been residing in Dubai for the past eight years.