Prohibition to work with a tourist visa in Dubai

Prohibition to work with a tourist visa in Dubai

Don’t risk working on a tourist visa in the UAE

Dubai attracts thousands of visitors every year, whether for vacation or for work. For many, working and living in Dubai means prestige and success.

Unfortunately, many of them are blinded by attractive job offers without knowing that they could get into big trouble.

It is important to note that it is strictly forbidden to work in the UAE on a tourist visa. Working conditions in the UAE are strict and regulated by the Emirati authorities.


Working in the United Arab Emirates

            Without a work permit: flee!

In order to work legally in the UAE, foreigners (non-Emiratis) must obtain a work permit and a residence visa.

If you are planning to work in the UAE without a work contract and while on a tourist visa, then we advise you to flee.

Job seekers are warned against false promises by some UAE-based companies that abuse the tourist visa status of visitors to Dubai to get a job.

The law is very clear on the status of tourists. No one in the country on a tourist visa is allowed to work there.

Unfortunately, every year many visitors find themselves in this situation. The most common case is the company that promises a work and residence visa to the employee on a tourist visa and once the tourist visa expires, tells the employee that they will not be able to provide a work visa.

The major problem is that while the visitor may go to the police station and the employer will be penalized, it is also taking the risk for the illegal employee to be expelled from the country.

This is why this type of practice, although prohibited, remains widespread because it goes unpunished.

Article 11 of Federal Law No. 6 of 1973 states that “a foreigner who obtains a visitor’s visa may not work anywhere in the country, with or without remuneration or on his own account.

It is unequivocal that a tourist visa is not suitable for working in the UAE.

Illegal workers will not go unpunished

            What companies risk: heavy fines

Serious penalties are incurred by those who do not comply with the laws.

Federal Decree No. 7 of 2007 states: “A fine of AED 50,000 per worker has been prescribed, in case the MoHRE finds that an employer employs a person with a visitor’s visa.

This decree states that a company that employs an employee with a tourist visa faces a fine of AED 50,000 per employee. If the company repeats the violation then the fine will be doubled to AED 100,000.

            What visitors risk: a lifetime ban from the UAE!

No one present in the country on a tourist visa is allowed to work. If some people violate the law and get caught, they are immediately deported and banned from entering the Emirates for life, and this concerns all seven Emirates.

As for the Emiratis, they face a sentence of six months in prison.

The normal recruitment process

In the public sector as well as in the private sector, there is a precise hiring process defined by the laws. The employee will receive a letter of employment to be signed by both parties (employer and employee), then the employment contract will be signed, and finally the employer will take care of obtaining the work permit and the work visa.

            1- Job Offer Letter

The job offer letter is the initial step in the recruitment process. This document includes all the basic elements of your hiring conditions.

Once signed, no changes can be made unless both parties agree to the changes.

            2- Validation by the Ministry

This letter of employment must be approved by the MOHRE to be valid.

To be valid, the employer must ensure that the employee has correctly read and understood all the elements mentioned in the offer of employment. If it is found that a worker did not have access to the annexes before signing the employment contract, the employer is fined AED 20,000 for sharing incorrect information with MOHRE.

            3- Employment contract in the United Arab Emirates

The employment contract is signed by both parties. It certifies that the employee agrees to work under the direction of his employer in return for remuneration. The employment contract includes the elements mentioned on the job offer letter.

            4- Work permit/residence permit

Your employer will then provide you with a work permit and a residence visa.

Keep in mind that for some positions, you will need to have your diplomas legalized and certified at the UAE embassy in your country of origin. You will then have to go to the MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) of the Emirates for the final certification of your diplomas.

            5- Keep your passport!

You must have heard many stories about employers who keep their employees’ passports and control their every move.

It is your right to keep your passport in your possession. Holding a passport against the will of the holder is illegal in the UAE. Your future employer cannot ask you to hand over your passport to keep it in his custody. They can only keep it if there is a written consent from the employee.


As a PRO, our team will take care of the procedures for obtaining residence visas for you and your employees.
Our firm will assist you in setting up a company in the UAE, and our partner Merritt Legal Consultants will assist you with all your labor and business law issues.

Merritt Legal Consultants works in collaboration with a local law firm for all litigation procedures and will be able to assist you in your endeavors.

Do not hesitate to contact our lawyer Josephine D’Angelo by phone at +971 56 953 7401 or by email at