Housemaid sponsorship and residence visa in the UAE
19 November 2009 update: Expat deposit for maids has been reduced from AED 5000 to AED 2000 but is not refundable until after the domestic worker leaves the UAE, according to a report in the Gulf News, which quoted a senior unnamed UAE Ministry of Interior official as saying "The deposit has been lowered by Dh3,000 to only Dh2,000"
Families living in Dubai UAE can sponsor a maid or nanny. Bachelors cannot. There are criteria and restrictions that apply. Note that this information is for Dubai but should be similar for Abu Dhabi and other UAE emirates. Check with the UAE immigration department of the emirate in which you live for the latest rules and procedure. In Dubai, visit the Dubai Naturalization and Residence Department (DNRD).
- Minimum salary requirement for the sponsor (usually the male head of the family) must be AED 6000 per month, or AED 5000 per month if accommodation is supplied by the company, for them to sponsor a housemaid (there was a proposal by the FNC to increase the minimum salary requirement to AED 15,000 reported in December 2008).
- Bachelors are not able to sponsor a maid. Women with children who don't have a husband in the UAE might be able to sponsor a maid or nanny.
- The maid must be a national of one of these countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka. It is possible that nannies (rather than maids) of other nationalities can be employed in the UAE but the process of obtaining a visa for them is not clear. There are nanny agencies based in the UAE and other countries that might be able to help, however, at present we don't have enough information about them to make any recommendations with confidence. Majestic Nannies or Nannies Incorporated might be worth trying (both have offices in UK and UAE). Or try reading through some of the expat forums such as Abu Dhabi Woman and Expat Women to get more information. But do make sure you are confident that any visa arrangements are legally acceptable in the UAE.
- Each country may have certain restrictions on employing their nationals as maids, for example minimum salary, minimum or maximum age. You will need to check with the embassy or consulate of that country for the details. Most minimum salary requirements are over AED 1000 per month.
- If you live, work, and have a residence visa in different emirates, go to the immigration department that issued you your residence visa. If you live in a different emirate, you could try the immigration department of that emirate.
- There is a standardized or unified labour contract ("employment agreement") for maids and other domestic workers, and their sponsors as of 01 April 2007, which is issued by the immigration or residence department at the time of visa application. This contract specifies vacation time, airline tickets, and other details of employment.
- Maids that are the same nationality as the sponsor need special approval from the DNRD in Dubai, and you will need a document from your embassy/consulate to prove that the maid is not related to you.
- More than one maid per family is possible but will depend on salary and size of family. Approval is at the whim ... er discretion of the immigration department.
To sponsor a house maid, you will need to have a UAE residency visa (this is not the same as an employment visa or work permit). Once you arrive for the first time in the UAE, allow at least a month before your own residence visa is issued. That varies substantially and depends mostly on how efficient your company is at processing the paperwork. Some companies delay the process by several months.
Arranging maid sponsorship is a two step procedure. First you need to obtain an entry permit / employment visa so she can enter the UAE. Then you need to apply for a UAE residence visa for the maid. The DNRD will issue a residence visa, labour card, and labour contract for the maid.
A similar procedure applies for sponsorship of other domestic helpers, workers, and servants e.g. a houseboy / house boy.
Documents required for UAE maid residence visa
Not all of these documents will be needed for the entry visa but bring them just in case
- Your own salary certificate and labour contract.
- Your tenancy agreement.
- Your passport (and a copy).
- Copy of the maid's passport (and original passport with entry permit after arrival in the UAE).
- Passport photos of the maid (4 should be enough but bring a few extra).
- If you (the sponsor) and the maid are the same nationality, then you will need an affadavit from your embassy or consulate to certify you are not related to the maid.
- AED 5000 deposit for entry visa. Changed to AED 2000 for expat sponsors according to a Gulf News report 19 November 2009 (unconfirmed). Deposit of AED 2000 required from Emirati sponsors remains unchanged.
- AED 5100 for residence visa (annual cost).
- AED 300-400 for health card (annual cost).
- AED 500 for other fees (approximately). Add AED 100 here and there for urgent processing.
UAE entry visa application for maid or nanny
- Go to the DNRD in Dubai (near the Trade Center roundabout), or immigration department of the emirate which issued you your residence visa, and find an authorized typist to fill in the application form. Allow about AED 150 dhs for form and typing fees, add 100 dhs if you want to make an urgent application.
- Submit the documents at the immigration department along with a deposit of AED 5000. If you've paid the urgent fee, the entry visa should be processed while you wait, otherwise it may take a few days.
- Send the visa or a copy to the maid so she can present it at the departure airport (if she doesn't, the airline may not allow her to board the flight).
- If you send the copy, then you need to leave the original at Dubai airport (or Abu Dhabi airport or other arrival airport) at least a couple of hours before she arrives. She will need it to clear immigration procedures. In Dubai, there is a DNATA visa desk at the airport. You may also be able to leave it at the DNRD or one of the other DNATA offices (Sheikh Zayed Road near Safa Park interchange, or Deira).
UAE residence visa procedure for maid or nanny
- Once your maid arrives in the UAE, she will have a 30 day visa within which time you will need to obtain her residence visa and labour card / work permit.
- Go to a typist at the immigration department (DNRD in Dubai), pay fees, take the typed form to the relevant counter at the immigration department (the typist will tell you where to go) to get a stamp.
- Go to a government hospital with your maid and documents for a medical test and health card application. You can also do this at the Iranian Hospital on Al Wasl Road in Dubai. Results of test and issue of card will take a few days (quicker and more expensive at the Iranian Hospital).
- Go back to the DNRD or immigration department with health card, medical test results, and other documents. Don't forget the maid's original passport with entry permit. Bring the maid too.
- The DNRD should ask you what salary you are going to pay your maid, the amount will be entered by them into a labour contract, copies of which need to be signed by you and the maid (which is why you should bring her).
- Go round in circles a few time to buy stickers, get documents stamped, and stand in queues.
- Eventually you should end up back at a counter where everything is "halas" (finished). The maid's passport will get a residence visa stamped in it, you and her will get copies of the labour contract, she will get a labour card, and you can go home and rest while she cooks dinner. You may not get all documents immediately in which case you'll have to return for collection (this is where payment of an urgent processing fee should have made a difference).
- Collect your AED 5000 deposit at the "Deposit Refund" counter (ask the immigration official where to go). Deposit not refunded not until maid leaves the UAE according to 19 November 2009 Gulf News report.
Renewal of UAE maid visa (needs to be done annually)
- Go to an official typist at the DNRD or UAE immigration department.
- Pay renewal fees of about AED 5100 and receive renewal application form and medical forum. Add AED 100 if you want urgent processing.
- Go to government hospital (or Iranian Hospital) for medical tests. Pay fees of about AED 300-400 dhs. Test results should take a day or two.
- Go back to DNRD or immigration department with maid and all relevant documents. Sign new labour contract and receive new visa and labour card (while you wait if you paid urgent processing fees, after a few days if not, or it will be sent to you).
Cancel maid visa in Dubai / UAE
- Go to DNRD / immigration department typist and ask for visa cancellation form to be filled out. You will need a copy of maid's passport (or original), and a one way ticket for the maid back to her home country. Bring your own passport and copy, and maid's labour card also.
- Take maid, her passport and labour card, your passport, and visa cancellation form to airport on departure day (arrive at least 3 hours before departure time, or more if check in counter opens more than 3 hours before departure - for Emirates flights you can check in 8 hours before flight departure)
- Check in maid and obtain boarding pass.
- Go to the airport immigration counter with maid, boarding pass, labour card, and passport to cancel visa. They will keep labour card and may want to see your passport.
- Say goodbye to maid, then go home and wash your own dishes until you find a new housemaid.
Last update Monday 08-Aug-2011