UAE Student Visa

UAE Student Visa

Any non-GCC foreign national aspiring to study in the UAE is required to secure a UAE Student Visa. To initiate this process, they must first gain admission to a higher education institution in the UAE, as it is the educational institution that manages the visa application procedure.

UAE Student Visa

Which documents are necessary for a UAE Student Visa application?

When applying for a UAE Student Visa, you must satisfy various requirements and furnish supporting documents, which typically include:

  1. Your passport, along with multiple copies of your passport.
  2. Several passport-sized photographs, often as many as 12.
  3. A letter of acceptance from the UAE university or college.
  4. Evidence of financial capability to cover tuition fees and living expenses.
  5. A medical certificate obtained from a government-approved health center in the UAE. For applicants aged 18 and above, medical examinations are mandatory, covering HIV, TB, Hepatitis B and C, Leprosy, and Syphilis.
  6. Proof of accommodation, such as student housing or tenancy documentation.
  7. If applying for a post-graduate program, include proof of certification from your previous university or college.

It’s important to note that visa application requirements can vary between emirates and universities. Your educational institution will provide you with the comprehensive list of necessary documents for your specific case.

How to Obtain a UAE Student Visa?

If you’ve been admitted to a higher education institution in the UAE, your school will coordinate the acquisition of your UAE Student Visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). It’s important to note that the college or university must hold accreditation to facilitate this process.

Since the UAE Student Visa falls under the category of residence visas, it can only be obtained once you are in the country. Therefore, you must first obtain an entry permit for study purposes.

To apply for the Entry Permit, the school sponsoring your visa can do so through various channels, depending on your country of origin:

  1. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
  2. The ICA’s eChanel portal
  3. Mobile applications available for Apple and Android devices
  4. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), either online (refer to the specified websites) or in-person. In cases of in-person applications, your host must visit one of the licensed typing centers of the GDRFA in each Emirate or one of the Amer centers in Dubai.

Upon your entry into the UAE, your school is responsible for arranging your Student Visa, also referred to as a Student Residence Visa.

To apply for a UAE Student Visa, your college or university will submit the application at the relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) office in the Emirate where you will be residing. If your application is approved, the GDRFA will stamp a Residence Visa on your passport, and you will be issued an Emirates ID card, valid for the same duration as the visa.

Below are the websites for the GDRFA offices in each Emirate:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai (You can also explore Amer, a platform for Dubai citizens and residents for family reunion applications and visitor visa extensions)
  • Sharjah
  • Ajman
  • Ras Al Khaimah
  • Fujairah

It’s important to note that acceptance into a higher education institution in the UAE does not guarantee the issuance of a visa. The decision is ultimately made by the UAE immigration authorities, not your school.

What is the duration of validity for a UAE Student Visa?

Typically, a student visa is granted for a one-year period, with the option to renew it on an annual basis throughout the duration of your studies. To renew a Student Visa, you are required to provide confirmation from your school indicating your continued enrollment.

However, in 2018, the UAE government introduced a new category of Long-Term Residence Visa specifically designed for exceptional and outstanding students. This particular visa is valid for a period of five years.

Who qualifies for a 5-year UAE Student Visa?

If you excel academically with a high GPA, you meet the eligibility requirements for a UAE Student Visa valid for five years. The criteria are as follows:

For secondary education graduates: You must have attained a minimum grade of 95% from a public or private secondary school. For university graduates: You must hold a GPA of at least 3.75 from a university within or outside the UAE. Furthermore, this particular UAE visa category also permits the visa holder to sponsor dependents.

UAE Student Visa

Is it possible to be employed in the UAE while holding a Student Visa?

To be employed in the UAE while holding a Student Visa, you must also secure a UAE Work Permit. However, there are restrictions on the type of work you can engage in: you are permitted to work for a maximum of four consecutive hours.

This represents a recent change, as previously, foreign students were generally not allowed to work except in specific internship programs authorized by their educational institution.

Is a Student Visa required if I'm currently in the UAE under a Family Visa?

Yes, you do require a Student Visa. If you are a male aged 18 or older and wish to pursue higher education at a UAE college or university, obtaining a Student Visa is necessary. This is because, once you reach the age of 18, male individuals cannot remain under their parents’ visa sponsorship.

However, in 2018, the UAE government introduced a new regulation for dependent sons of UAE visa holders. Under this rule, upon completing secondary education or upon reaching the age of 18, whichever occurs first, you become eligible for a 1-year UAE Residence Visa, which can subsequently be renewed for an additional year.

For daughters, sponsorship by their father is possible regardless of age, as long as they remain unmarried.