Things to know about: Labour Card in UAE

Any individual seeking a job in the UAE must be aware of the requirements for a work visa. It is the responsibility of the employer to obtain a work permit or Labour Card in UAE for his employees. However, applying for a labor card in the UAE and getting a work permit usually involves multiples steps in the procedure.

A labor card or a work permit identifies an employee and where they work. Certainly, if the employee is traveling to UAE for work purposes, the individual must obtain the permit within 2 months from the date of arrival in the country. The labor card is a mandatory document, if a delay would happen, the employer must bear the penalties.

In this article, you will learn everything you should know about the Labour Card in UAE and its purpose. Therefore, here you will find relevant information about the process in the UAE. On the other hand, make sure to learn how crucial the UAE labor card is for the hiring process of your company. Let’s observe:

What is labor card in UAE?

Labour Card in UAEThe Labor Card in the UAE is a card issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to foreign workers as proof of legal employment in the country. The card is issued after completion of the employee’s medical check-up and submission of other required documents. It also contains the worker’s basic information, such as name, nationality, passport number, and labour contract details.

Labour card validity in UAE

The labour card validity in UAE is for three years and must be renewed when it expires.

Who is eligible for the labour card UAE?

In the UAE, any foreign national who has a valid work permit and residence visa can be eligible for a labour card. The card is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. To apply for the card, the employer must submit an application along with the required documents, such as a copy of the employee’s passport, labour contract, labour permit and residence visa. Once the application is approved, the card will be issued.

UAE labour card processing time

The processing time for a Labour Card UAE can vary depending on the employer and the situation. 

Is labour card mandatory in Dubai?

Yes, all foreign workers must have a valid residence visa and MOHRE labour card in order to work in UAE. Employers are responsible for obtaining a valid labour card for their employees.

Documents required for labour card in UAE

Any foreigner who is not from the UAE must have a valid residency visa in order to live and work in the country. Therefore, once the foreigner has a residency visa, he/she could apply for the Labour Card in UAE which is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

Not all work permits and labor cards are in the same category and these depend on the duration and the type of employment, however, the work permit is normally issued for 2 years. The work permit, Emirates ID, and residency visa are valid for 2 years only. And it is always the responsibility of the employer to get the renewals done in time on behalf of the employee.”

The employer can normally apply for the work permit once it acquires the employee’s residency visa. The list below contains all the necessary documents for a work permit:

  • Sponsoring company’s trade license (valid and active)
  • Individual’s photographs
  • Residency visa
  • Valid passport (requires validity of six-month minimum)
  • Health certificate (valid and active)
  • Three copies of the employee’s contract. One belongs to the employer, one to the employee, and the other to the Ministry of Labour.
  • Education certificates and other certifications of professional qualifications.

How to Obtain a new Labor Card in UAE

Step 1 :

Visa Quota Approval:

The first step to get the Visa (and work permit) is to get visa quota approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE), and then the employer will apply on behalf of the employee. The quota approval needs guaranteeing before the employee arrives in the country especially if the application is in any of the UAE free zones.

All the Free Zone companies have a restriction on work visas quotas; therefore, this restriction stipulates one foreign worker for each 12.5² meters office space. In addition, for all companies with more than 100 employees, this quota is only for some positions. The company can apply for a quota upgrade as long as it reaches the quota, but approval is not always guaranteed.

Process time: normally this process takes three working days to get approval.

Job Offer Contract and Signature:

The next step is sending the job contract in order to get the employee’s signature, and having them return it to the employer. This job contract must be in the employee’s native language as well as Arabic and English (if it is different).  This serves as confirmation that the employee is arriving in the country for a valid work position, then the offer letter will be reviewed by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation.

Process time:  the applicant can complete this process digitally is the ministry issues it in two working days.

Step 2:

Work Permit: Approval of Application:

The Ministry must approve the work permit application before the applicant issues the entry visa application. Throughout this approval process, the Ministry of Labour (MOHRE) bases its decision on whether if there are national UAE citizens who could perform the job at the time, and that the company sponsor is a registered UAE corporate entity. The approval is granted if the applicant completes this information.

Process time: from 3 to 5 working days.

Employment Entry Visa:

The Ministry of Human Resources issues an Employment Entry Visa when there’s approval for the work permit. This allows applicants to legally enter the UAE. From the date of issue, this permit is valid for two months and it allows the applicant to legally stay in the UAE for a 30 days period, it is extendable as long as the formal work permit is waiting for approval.

Process time: 3 working days.

New Entry Permit/Visa Change of Status:

There are two ways to enter the UAE and start the work permit process.  If the Entry Visa is ready prior to the employee’s arrival, then the employee can pick it up at the airport.  If the employee was already staying in the UAE on another visa, they have to apply for a visa called ‘Change of Status) after the entry visa process is done.

However, once the employee arrives in the country, they have two months to complete all the processes required to obtain the residence visa and the work permit. The MoHRE advises to get these procedures done as soon as possible in case any adversity happens.

Step 3:

Medical Screening:

It is mandatory to all foreigners who enter the UAE to go through a medical screening prior to the approval of the work permit.

Process time: 1 Day.

Emirates ID Application/Biometrics:

After the employee finishes the medical tests, they need to go the get the relevant form typed up at any typing center at any Emirates ID service. Also, in order to apply for an ID and have the biometrics done the employee must have an original valid passport and an employment entry permit.

Process time:  1 Day.

Medical Screening Result:

The employee must include the medical screening test in the application.

Process time: 1 Day.

Labour Contract Signature:

The work permit application must include a signed labor contract. There is a new mandatory deadline for new contracts, and they must be sent to the Ministry within 2 weeks days following the issuance of medical results.  Therefore, the labor contract can be uploaded to the ministry website.

Receipt of Labour Card/Work Permit

Once the employee receives the work permit, the payroll can officially be uploaded to the official UAE system.

Process time: 5 Days

Step 4:

Medical Health Insurance Card Application:

Health Insurance is now mandatory in UAE; therefore, all companies must provide coverage for all their workers (or they would have to buy it by themselves). Without a valid insurance card, the work permit cannot be issued or renewed.

Process time: 5 Days.

Residence Visa Stamping in Passport

In order to live in the UAE, foreign workers and all their family members must have a valid residence visa.  This Visa is always required to open bank accounts, register cars, and open a PO Box.

Process time: 3 Days.

Emirates ID Collection:

In addition, when the employee receives the work permit, they will also receive an Emirates ID card, this is very useful in his everyday life for identification purposes.

Process time: 10 Days after the Residence Visa is stamped in the passport.

Labour card renewal process

Labour Card in UAEProcedure:

All documents involving the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) need scanning and the applications need to be printed. Therefore, the applications will be transferred to the ministry’s database for verification purposes. They will make sure whether all the required documents and conditions are correctly fulfilled.

The applicant can check and follow up on the employment contract and the permit overall process using the ministry’s inquiry services on the application status.

If one of the documents are missing the applicant is must visit the service center to fulfill the missing requirements.

The documents are on the list below:

  1. A colorized photo.
  2. A valid and active copy of the trade license.
  3. A copy of the new and old contract.
  4. The academic certificate.
  5. Approval letter from competent authorities (if the employee needs it).


The payment range totally depends on the labor card category and it usually ranges from AED 290 to AED 4800.

The employees can renew their labor cards only till the age of 65 years old. If the Labor card is renewed for a person who is +65, at the time of the renewal the company must pay a special fee of DH5000.

Read More About : Salary Certificate in UAE: Everything You Need to Know

Lost/Damaged Labor Card


The companies who participate in the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) online forms will send the printed documents in order to complete the applications.

However, the applicant must send all the scanned documents to the ministry’s database for their proper scan. Therefore, before sending all the important archives, the applicant must verify and make sure that all the necessary documents and proper conditions are properly fulfilled.

Subsequently, if all the conditions are met then the application would begin processing all the information, and then the ministry sends the labor card through a P.O Box.

The applicant will receive a notification if there are any missing documents.

Documents Required:

  1. A single copy of passport.
  2. A colorized photo.
  3. Damaged original labor.
  4. Police certificate that certified by the labor inspection department at the Ministry of Labour (in case of losing the labor card)


The cost is AED 200.

Types of Labor Card Cancellation

Normally there are 6 types of labor card cancellations:

  • Normal cancellation
  • Used work permit cancellation
  • Unused work permit cancellation
  • Sick cancellation
  • Outside country cancellation
  • Death cancellation

In order to cancel your labor card, you have to submit the necessary documents. You can cancel a labor card at the Ministry of Labour (MOL). Only the employer can cancel the labor card.

Cancellation Procedure:

The employer must approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) with the proper application format to cancel the labor card with the employee’s signature

Then the employer must apply to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in order to cancel the employee’s visa.

The company must also cancel the labor card/work permit altogether. Also, the ministry requires a signed letter that stipulates that the employee received the wages specified in his/her contract.

In conclusion, another way the employer has to cancel the labor card is using the e-services provided by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

How to check labour card fees?

The most straightforward way to find out labour card fees in the UAE is to consult the UAE MOHRE website. The website has a dedicated section that provides up-to-date information on labour card fees. Such as the fee amount and its duration.

Alternatively, people can visit the local MOHRE office to enquire about the labour card fees and get help in calculating the applicable fee. Additionally, the MOHRE mobile app can also be used to check labour card fees in the UAE. The app contains all the relevant information about the fees, such as the amount and the duration.

Labour card in UAE: Benefits

The labor card is an important requirement for any individual looking to work in the UAE. This document is a must-have in order to access benefits related to employment. Information from the card should be included when inputting into payroll systems, which can also be used when applying for health insurance.

Having the correct data in the system makes it simpler to monitor accurate hours worked, sick day payments and holiday leave. Without the labor card, it is not possible to set up employee benefit systems. It is therefore essential to resolve any problems with the labor card promptly.

The labor card ensures compliance with the relevant UAE labor laws. These include limits on working hours:

  • No more than 48 hours per week and 8 hours per day.
  • With overtime limited to two hours for most industries.

Compensation for hours and overtime must be equitable. Employers must also guarantee a safe work environment, with necessary safety measures in place and no discrimination on the basis of religion, sex, or disability.

At first, the labor card system may appear to require a lot of paperwork and the UAE labour card processing time may seem long. However, once you understand the necessities of the process, the mandatory parts will not be difficult to manage. The employer is responsible for applying for the card, but employees can assist by organizing all the relevant documents beforehand. Once the paperwork is organized, the labor card will make sure the employee is paid correctly and is able to access all the necessary benefits.

How can ConnectHR help you obtain a labor card in UAE?  

Now you are totally aware of everything you need to know about the Labour Card in UAE, their requirements, how to obtain them, and how to cancel them.

ConnectHR specializes in bringing your company the best services, you can easily acquire any type of service for yourself or if you are an employer for one of the members of your staff and start taking advantage of all the previously mentioned benefits.

You should definitely check other services that will ensure to benefit your company’s growth. Therefore, in case you want to improve your HR department, you can request HR consultancy, insurance, or our attendance.

Our services include HR management systems, to payroll and WPS. We also have the best payroll software in the market.

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With more than 20 years of experience and our main goal is to help your company grow by providing you with the most efficient business services and solutions.

logo connect hrWould you like to contact ConnectHR to obtain tips and more useful information about Labor Cards? If you have any inquiries, call us on +971 43 316 688 and you will talk to one of our representatives who will kindly answer all of your questions.

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