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Work Permits in the UAE: Everything You Need to Know

A work permit UAE is necessary for foreigners who wish to work in the country. In addition, you must meet the requirements regarding qualifications and certifications appropriate for the position applied for. Likewise, the employer must comply with all the requirements demanded by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization.

In this article, let us show you details about this permit, such as the cost and application procedure. In the same way, you will learn about the mission work permit for specific and short-term tasks.

What is a work permit in the UAE and how does it work?

work permit uae

A work permit UAE is a document that allows the holder to live and work in the country under the sponsorship of an employer. In this case, the worker can carry out their work for between 2 and 3 years with the possibility of renewing the permit. However, it is the decision of the employer whether to renew or cancel the work permit of the employee.

Although there are various work visa options, the standard one is the most commonly used by foreigners. To obtain the permit, the worker must have a signed contract and approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE). Furthermore, before being able to enter the country, the foreigner needs to obtain a job offer and an entry permit.

This is because you first need authorization to enter the UAE to begin the procedures. Thus, once in the country, the employer must begin with the application for a work and residence visa.

What is the processing time for obtaining a work permit in the UAE?

The entire permit process is easy to do and requires little time for approval or denial. However, you should consider that you need all the documentation required by MOHRE to consider the application. After that, the work permit UAE processing time is a maximum of 5 business days.

Step-by-step guide: How to obtain a work permit in the UAE?

Applying for a work permit involves well-defined stages and a very simple process. Next, we will show you how to get work permit UAE in just a few steps:

Work permit UAE Fee approval application

To begin, the hiring company must apply to MOHRE for approval of the work visa fee. The permit fees an employer can obtain depend on the office space of the company. For example, if an employer does business in Dubai, the fee is one permit per 9m² of office space.

This also applies to companies in Free Zones, which have a restriction depending on where they are located. Thus, if the employer has already reached the quota, they must move to a larger office or request a quota improvement.

Presentation of a signed employment contract

The next step to obtain a work permit UAE, after the quota approval, is to present the contract signed by both parties. In this case, the government body that approves or does not approve the contract, which must follow local regulations, is the MOHRE. Additionally, the contract must be in Arabic, English, and the language of the employee if it is not one of the above.

Work permit UAE application

The company that wishes to hire the foreigner must submit the work permit application to the MOHRE. In this way, the entity confirms the entity of the company and whether a national can occupy the position requested by the foreigner. After this approval, the employer may request an entry visa for the worker to legally enter the country.

The worker receives the entry visa

After approval of the work permit UAE, MOHRE will issue an entry visa to the worker. In this case, the visa is valid for 60 days and the employee may stay for 30 days, extendable to complete the procedures. In this way, the worker must carry out the application process for a residence visa, following a standard procedure.

For its part, the employer must carry out other procedures to formalize the work permit for the employee. For the worker to apply for a residence visa, he or she must apply for an Emirates ID and pass a medical checkup.

Applying for a UAE ID

Foreigners intending to work in the UAE must obtain an Emirates ID to continue the procedures. This is an essential requirement to request a medical examination that is within the work permit UAE requirements. This identification will be linked to your residence visa and you must have it with you at all times.

To apply for identification, go to an Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) center, bringing your passport. You must also bring your entry visa, and a photograph, and register your biometric data (fingerprints).

Undergo a medical checkup

Without distinction, all work visa applicants must undergo a medical examination at an authorized clinic. You must pass this exam to continue with the work permit application process.

Presentation of the employment contract

The formalization of the work permit UAE requires the employer to upload the employment contract to the MOHRE website. Additionally, they must do so within 14 days of the results of the medical examination.

Get health insurance

All foreigners working in the UAE must take out health insurance that covers their entire stay. However, in certain Emirates, such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, companies must provide this insurance to their employees and their families. This requirement is essential both for the issuance of a work visa and for its renewal.

Obtaining a work visa

After completing the entire previous process, you will have to wait about 5 business days to receive the work visa. In this way, the worker will be able to start working at the company and will only need to receive a residence visa.

Receive a residence visa

The employee must collect all the necessary documents to apply for the residence visa and receive the Emirates ID. The residence visa is valid for 2 years but you can renew it for the same period. In addition, the residence visa allows the foreigner to carry out various procedures in the country, including:

What are the fees associated with getting a work permit in the UAE?

To obtain the document, the applicant must pay the work permit UAE fees, which are as follows:

  • The initial application for an electronic work permit regardless of category or level is AED 200.
  • The approval of the work permit depends on the categories as follows:
    • Category 1 costs AED 300
    • Category 2, depending on the level, has a cost of AED 600 Level A, AED 1500 Level B, and AED 2000 Level C
    • The category 3 costs AED 5000

In the same way, the work permit for those over 65 years of age costs the same as for category 3. As for levels A, B, and C, these have to do with the proportion of qualified and unskilled workers in the business. Nevertheless, you should know that the employer, in most cases, is the one who pays all the fees for the procedure.

Understanding the costs involved in acquiring a work permit in the UAE

We have already discussed the work permit UAE cost in terms of applying for and issuing the same. However, some of the documents and requirements for this permit also have a cost. Below you can see some additional costs to obtain a work permit in the country:

  • The offer letter has an average cost of AED 279
  • Emirates ID, AED 370
  • Basic health insurance, AED 700
  • Visa Stamping AED 493

Can mission workers obtain a work permit in the UAE?

The mission work permit UAE is for foreign workers who will undertake short-term project work. Therefore, according to labor law, these employees are considered to be on probation in the company. Additionally, as an essential requirement, the worker must be outside the country to request the permit and leave after it expires.

However, the employer can apply for a new mission permit after the employee has left the UAE. Moreover, the employer must cancel the work card of the employee before making the new request. Nevertheless, in contrast to the work permit UAE, the mission permit can take up to 4 weeks to obtain.

Steps to obtain a mission work permit UAE

Commonly, it is the PRO of the company requesting the service of the worker who makes the request. To apply for a mission work visa in the country, you must follow the steps that we will indicate below:

  1. The company must request the mission visa fee and the application requirements.
  2. After approval of the quota, apply for the mission visa at MOHRE, which is valid for 60 days.
  3. The employee must sign the application.
  4. After the authorities approve the application, you must apply for a mission entry permit.
  5. The employee will then be able to enter the country after receiving the entry permit and will receive UAE visa insurance.
  6. Once in the country, the employee must send a copy of the mission visa to the hiring company.
  7. The employee must then apply for an employment contract and sign it.
  8. Finally, they must submit the contract to MOHRE to obtain approval and a UAE employment card.

What are the requirements you need to present for getting a work permit in the UAE?

The work permit UAE requirements include the documents that we will detail below:

  • Original passport of the worker along with a copy of it.
  • Photograph of the same measurements as those of the passport.
  • Emirates ID.
  • MOHRE entry permit.
  • Medical certificate issued by an authorized health center.
  • Copy of the academic qualifications of the applicant, certified by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They must also certify them at a UAE Embassy in the home country of the employee.
  • Business license and company card of the contracting employer.

Furthermore, the employer is responsible for making the work permit UAE application for the worker. However, the latter is solely responsible for presenting the documentation and requesting the residence permit.

How can I check my work permit approval in UAE?

You can do the work permit UAE check in a few simple steps on the MOHRE website. Next, we will detail the steps you must follow for a quick verification:

  1. Enter on the MOHRE website or application.
  2. Next, you will need to select the work permit status approval service.
  3. Enter your permit number.
  4. Click Search and the system will show you the requested information.

What should I do if my work permit application is rejected in the UAE?

The authorities can deny the worker a permit for different reasons, such as the lack of a document. Therefore, if you get a rejected work permit UAE, you must require the information about the rejection. Below you can see a list of common reasons for the denial of a work permit:

  • I did not properly complete the application
  • Does not comply with the requirements of the authorities
  • The worker has some problems with justice
  • Does not have the necessary qualifications
  • You do not have a valid job offer

However, if the reasons have a feasible solution, you can make a new application for the permit. For these cases, it is advisable to seek help from experts in issuing visas or other types of permits in the UAE.

Do I need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for a work permit in the UAE?

In short, you do not need an NOC for work permit UAE, just the documents mentioned above. In the country, in matters related to work, you only need a No Objection Letter from your employer in the following cases:

  • When you are going to change jobs
  • When you require a change of sponsor
  • If you need to apply for a visa to travel to another country if you have a UAE residence visa

How can I check the status of my work permit application in the UAE?

To check the work permit UAE status, the MOHRE has a website with a very simple interface. Therefore, to carry out the verification you only have to follow the steps that we will detail below:

  1. Go to the MOHRE website (
  2. Select the menu that indicates the status of the work permit.
  3. Next, you will need to enter the permit or transaction number.
  4. Work permit UAE

Why Permit to Work is Required?

Simply put, the work permit system documents risks that pose harm to safety and health. Specifically, workers, assets, and the environment.

The PTW system complements the internal risk assessment process. Additionally, managers can identify specific tasks that require work permission. On the other hand, workers can request a valid permit and specific instructions regarding the nature of the work.

It is common knowledge that the workflow involves managers issuing documented permissions. All these permits can be on paper or digitalized, to competent workers. Thus, they can perform non-trivial tasks that generally carry greater risk.

After the workers proceed to sign the form, they are authorized to carry out the work. Furthermore, the system is essential for several reasons listed below:

  • Improves safety: Thanks to the issuance of permits to work on dangerous tasks workers are aware of the risks. In addition, being able to have the necessary equipment to carry out the work safely.

The idea is to protect employers from the hefty fines and costs they may incur. Specifically, due to poor training management.

  • Greater responsibility: As this is a documented process, all parties, especially employees and contractors, are aware of the responsibilities and their risks. If an unexpected situation occurs, the document makes it easier for management to identify exactly who is responsible.
  • Improved business processes: The company can use the recorded information to formulate better security procedures. In addition, being able to mitigate security risks by investing in better security equipment and providing training to employees.

Types of Permit to Work

Depending on the nature of the work, different types of permits are usually used. Currently, there are seven widely used permits in the Permit to Work system:

Hot Work Permit

A hot permit, you can also find them as hot work permits. They are most commonly used to review, authorize, and approve any type of work that involves fires. Generally, hot permits are for tasks that include an ignition source, such as welding or flame cutting.

On the other hand, there are also cold permits that are broadly for all other work activities that have nothing to do with fires. However, you have to know that they are activities that continue to be a risk for workers.

Common examples of activities that require a cold permit are the use of solvents or chemicals for maintenance or cleaning. In addition, handling resins, corrosive materials, installing scaffolding, or any work that involves heavy physical labor.

Confined Space Entry Permit

A confined space entry permit is required before workers have to perform tasks that require entering or investigating confined spaces. That is ships, conduits, tanks, or even trenches.

The permit must include a description of the processes to prepare the confined space to be entered. In addition, plans for safe worker entry and any restoration work in these particular spaces.

Electrical Work Permit

Any business that involves contractors or employees coming into contact with live electrical conductors requires an electrical work permit. For instance, maintenance teams working on telecommunications or electrical equipment have to obtain permission before starting their duties.

Within the content of the permits is the area where the work will be carried out, and the personnel involved. In addition, the safety processes and the supervisors who supervise the work.

Excavation Permit

Generally, you need an excavation permit for work that involves digging below a certain depth. A common case is 30cm, as digging below the surface can expose workers to specific risks. For example, falling debris, landslides, and gas or electrical lines.

The main reasons why an excavation permit is needed are the following:

  • Safety: Excavation work can be dangerous for employees. Thanks to the permit process you have a guarantee that they are implementing the corresponding security measures. As a result, the risk of accidents in the process is reduced. That is explosions, exposure to harmful substances in the air, and others.
  • Utility Identification: Underground utility lines, such as water, gas, sewer, and power lines, are typically underground.
  • Quality Control: Reporting requirements and inspections are often part of the permit process. Thanks to these steps you have a guarantee that the excavation work is according to the corresponding standard. As a result, the possibility of mediocre work is reduced.

Height Work Permit

Work at height usually requires work at height permits. It is essential to provide safety to employees who will work in elevated positions in general. Especially working at heights greater than 1.8 m or 6 feet where there is a risk of falling. That is to say,

  • Scaffolding: Use, assembly, and disassembly of scaffolding for maintenance or construction work.
  • Tower work: Work on transmission or telecommunications towers, that is, repair, installation, and maintenance.
  • Elevator maintenance and installation: Work on escalators or elevators that often involves work at height when servicing or installing elevator systems.
  • Industrial maintenance: These are special maintenance tasks for machinery, equipment, or industrial structures at height, for example, manufacturing plants.

Chemical Handling Permit

A work permit for handling chemicals is an essential document in particular industries. For instance, pharmaceutical, chemical manufacturing, petrochemical, and research laboratories. That is, where dangerous chemicals are stored, handled, or processed.

Generally, the chemical handling permit aims to keep employees safe when handling chemicals that may be hazardous.

Radiation Work Permit

Initially, you need to know that isolation and restoration are essential safety measures if a person is exposed to a radioactive source. For example, radiography, which is a non-destructive testing method that uses ionizing radiation. The idea of ​​this is to inspect the integrity of materials, such as pipes, welds, and other structural components.

All of this, especially to guarantee the safety of personnel and the environment, must have the radiation permit to work. Below, you will see a list of all the reasons why this work system is essential:

  • Radiation safety: The main and most important reason for issuing radiation permits is to ensure the safety of people. Especially those who work with ionizing radiation or those who are exposed to it.

The permit must describe the safety measures and procedures that must be followed to minimize the risk of radiation exposure. Especially because of all the harmful effects on health.

  • Radiation Dose Limits: The idea of ​​these permits is to establish and enforce dose limits for the public and workers. Thanks to these limits, people can be protected from excessive exposure to radiation, which can have health effects.
  • Equipment Safety: Radiation permits typically require regular maintenance and calibration of radiation-emitting equipment. Specifically, to ensure its proper functioning and production of accurate results without excessive radiation exposure.

Permit to Work Systems

Overview of PTW Systems

It is important that you know a permit to work definition to better understand how these systems work. Therefore, this is special authorization documentation that ensures that the appropriate risk has been accessed for the process.

Additionally, a level of control is established to reduce the severity, probability, and potential for an incident to occur. This can be regulatory requirements, general best practices, or company policies.

Therefore, a permit to work (PTW) system is a process for keeping employees safe in hazardous operations. In this way, risks must be evaluated, and an adequate security protocol and adequate communication must be established throughout the process.

A PTW system is designed to mitigate health, environmental, sustainability, and safety risks in certain operations. Therefore, they must adapt to changes that may arise.

This way, employees can earn money in the UAE for their families and not suffer any accidents in the process.

Digital vs Paper-Based Systems

  • Systems that are paper-based are very prone to errors due to manual entry of all data. However, with a digital system, this data is entered and validated automatically, reducing the risk of any errors.
  • It provides better visibility into the entire permitting process, making it easier to identify security hazards and mitigate risks. Additionally, the digital system may include alarms and security controls that are automated and mandatory.
  • The digital system creates an audit trail of all activities. This way, it can be tracked and audited at any time without data extraction; including who created, reviewed, approved, and closed the corresponding permission.
  • Digital systems allow for real-time communication between all people involved in the permit process. This can improve collaboration and reduce any delays.
  • A digitalized system helps streamline and automate the permit process, reducing the time and effort necessary to issue permits. Therefore, this offers a cost reduction for the company.

Integration with Safety Management Systems

A PTW system is not independent. In addition, it can be integrated with much broader security management systems in companies. Therefore, this integration allows for consistency in security practices, aligning the PTW process with other security protocols.

Thanks to the synergy of these systems, a better comprehensive security culture is promoted, emphasizing proactive risk management and continuous improvement.

It is essential that security professionals understand the nuances of the PTW system and its integration with security protocols. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the PTW system will depend on careful planning and risk assessment.

In this way, companies not only meet regulatory requirements but also foster a safety-first culture.

Real-Time Monitoring and Reporting

A digital system offers you great visibility in real-time of the status and progress of activities related to these permits. This way, through simple dashboards, notifications, and the ability to generate reports, they can track these permissions from start to finish.

Additionally, you can very accurately track the workers involved in the permitted work. This way, you can ensure that tasks are assigned to trained and authorized people.

Thanks to this, a culture of responsibility and safety awareness is fostered.

Benefits of Implementing Permit to Work Systems

PTW systems provide you with a structured and documented approach. This way, you can manage workplace activities that can be very dangerous. Additionally, it serves as a fundamental part of achieving a safe workplace.

Thus, like the new visa rules, these systems offer a wide range of benefits. For this reason, so that you understand more about the good things about PTW systems, we will explain the best benefits.

Enhanced Safety Culture

A PTW system is a process that helps keep all employees safe during all risky and non-standard operations. Therefore, you must evaluate the risks, establish proper communication during the process, and establish a good security protocol.

For this reason, a PTW system is designed so that all health, environmental, safety, and sustainability risks are mitigated in specific operations. In this way, a better safety culture is created in the work environment.

Prevention of Accidents and Incidents

Thanks to PTW systems, companies can ensure that employers, employees, and contractors are always protected when performing high-risk tasks. All this over a period of time and with specific precautions.

Additionally, it allows the process of taking necessary precautions to be done before performing tasks. These tasks include hot and cold work, work in confined spaces, electrical work, etc.

Among the features are:

  • Ensure that working conditions are the safest for employees. This way, security leaders can control and coordinate the work.
  • Facilitate collaboration between multiple teams and enable the generation of composite PTWs where multiple high-risk tasks may need to be completed at the same time.
  • Maintain and manage all forms to generate the PTW. Additionally, it allows safety leaders to verify the skill levels of any worker and ensure any work can be completed on time.

Legal Compliance and Regulatory Alignment

When you create a centralized platform to manage permissions and security-related data, you gain many benefits. Therefore, it can ensure better decision-making and better compliance.

Thanks to this, the chances of accidents or any legal problems are reduced. Additionally, they can reduce the risks posed by manual data entry; greatly improving the accuracy of the information within the permits.

Therefore, you can avoid any financial sanctions or fines towards your company if you fail to comply with this system. Plus, it saves you from having to do extra paperwork by manually filling out all this information.

Improved Communication and Coordination

Thanks to these systems, real-time communication is allowed between all the parties that are involved in this process. Additionally, this allows for huge improvements and reduced delays.

Therefore, a permit process that is driven by this system helps avoid miscommunication and any misunderstandings. In this way, much smoother and faster processing times are obtained.

In addition, this guarantees that everyone has access to information in real time. This is why these PTW systems improve the work environment in companies.

Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity

PTW systems greatly reduce the time spent completing and processing paperwork. Approvals can therefore be granted in a shorter time and work can begin sooner.

Additionally, thanks to the improvement in communication between teams, everyone has instant access to information. In this way, a work environment is created that is more effective and productive.

On the other hand, having permits on time and the entire process following established safety standards allows employees to perform much better. In this way, by having security control over security processes, you can work more productively in less time.

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