Red tape for ESL teachers in the United Arab Emirates

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which consists of seven emirates, became a fully-fledged nation in 1971. It is a millionaires’ destination, but that doesn’t stop it from also being an attractive destination for ESL teachers: especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Here is a brief guide about how to deal with the red tape if you are applying to work in UAE.

You are strongly advised to secure an ESL teaching position before travelling to the UAE: the reason for this is that you have to be sponsored by a school before you can get a work permit (employment visa). It is possible to travel to the UAE and seek work instead of applying from your home country; however, if you are unsuccessful – you will have to leave the country at the end of sixty days: UK, Irish, and American citizens are permitted to enter and remain in the UAE for up to sixty days on a visitor’s visa. Once you qualify for a work permit, you can get your residence visa: this visa will allow you to live and work in the UAE for up to two years. On completion of this period, you may make an application for renewal.

Your employer will make an application on your behalf for a work permit (which is issued within the UAE), and this will be sent to you: your employer is permitted to send you it either as an email attachment or as a hard copy by post. On your arrival in the UAE, you will have to present your work permit to the UAE immigration authorities in order to prove that you have already secured employment. Having entered the UAE and proved that you have secured employment:  your employer will help you in applying for a residence visa.

To obtain your residence visa, you will usually have to provide your employer with the following documents: (1) passport size photos; (2) your passport; (3) TEFL qualifications; (4) marriage and birth certificates; (5) a medical report (the medical is usually carried out in the UAE); and (6) a completed application form. On receipt of these documents, your employer will submit them for you to the relevant authorities.

Lastly, as a UAE resident, you will also have to carry an ID card (at all times): don’t worry – your employer will take care of the application process.

Red tape in the UAE is minimal: it’s a simple five-stage process:

1) Accept a job offer.
2) Your employer issues you with a work permit.
3) Travel to the UAE and present your work permit to the immigration authorities.
4) Your employer assists you to obtain a residence permit.

5) Obtain an ID card.

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