Ras al-Khaimah: Labour Regulation
Visas and Permits
A visit visa applies to tourists who wish to spend more than 14 days in the UAE, whether it is to visit relatives or for business purposes. Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia) do not need a visa. AGCC expatriate residents may obtain a non-renewable 30-day visa on arrival.
Residents of the UK with the right to abide in the United Kingdom may obtain a free visa on arrival, which is valid for 60 days and can be renewed for an additional 30 days
Citizens of France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, United States (US), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong can only obtain a one-month non-renewable visit visa on arrival.
Citizens of other countries require the sponsorship of a UAE resident (relative or friend), hotel, travel agency, or company, in order to obtain a visit visa. This type of visit visa is also known as the tourist visa. Sponsors must, however, meet a monthly income requirement and hold a valid residence visa themselves.
Citizens of Israel and travellers with Israeli stamps on their passports, will not be permitted entry into the UAE.
The 14-day visa, also known as an Entry Service Permit must be sponsored by a UAE company or hotel and will take 2 weeks to issue. There is also a Multiple Entry Visa, which is useful for individuals who are continuously visiting the UAE.
Individuals planning to live in the UAE must obtain a residence visa, which are normally issued by the Immigration department of the emirate of residence and provided by a sponsor (normally a person’s employer). Those entering the UAE with family members must obtain a family visa, which is subject to a minimum monthly income requirement.
Residence visas are normally issued for three years and in order for it to be processed, a medical test must be taken and a health card obtained, which should be renewed yearly. The Health Card can be issued by at Ministry of Health or else at a recognised private hospital. A penalty charge is imposed on visitors who overstay.
There are no restrictions on the employment of foreign nationals in Ras Al Kaimah. The easiest and fastest way to set up a new business in the UAE is through a free trade zone. Otherwise, it is a mandatory requirement to register a new company’s name with the Immigration Department and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Since most companies recruit their employees from abroad, they need to register a file at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Immigration Department once they have received their trade licence.
Without registering with both of these departments a business cannot employ its staff. Upon registering, the company shall be issued an ‘Establishment/Labour Card’ by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. An ‘Establishment/Immigration Card’ can be issued by the Immigration Department.
A contract with the new employer and/or sponsor has to be signed before the application for a work/residency visa is submitted to the relevant authority.
RAK Free Trade Zone provides visa sponsorship to licensed clients so they can operate a business in the UAE. The number of visas that can be issued to a company is dependent on the scale of operation, type and size of facility, type of licence and activity undertaken. Commercial and Consultancy Licences can apply for up to four visas. For Industrial Licences, the number of visas is to be decided as per project requirements. There are different types of visas for which RAK FTZ clients can apply, depending upon their individual requirements and eligibility criteria.
See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for details of the types of visas that are available in the Ras al-Khaimah Free Trade Zone.