Master the UAE Labor Card System for Hassle-Free Employment

by Nick Ndirangu

Introduction to the UAE Labor Card

One of the fundamental documents for citizens and expatriates in the rapidly changing environment of the United Arab Emirates is the UAE Labor Card. Secure and official employment is a critical need in the UAE. As a result, comprehension of how the document renewal process operates is required to maintain one’s job permanently and legally.

In this blog, we cover

  1. What is the UAE labour card 
  2. What is the use of the UAE labour card
  3. Who is eligible for the UAE Labor Card
  4. Validity and renewal process
  5. how to get a labour card copy online
  6. UAE Labour Card Fees, Expiry, and Fines
  7. how to check labour card number online
  8. How To Download Your UAE Labor Card

What is the labour card number in the UAE?

  1. What It Is: A UAE labor card is a mandatory ID for employees in the UAE, issued by MoHRE or the relevant free zone.
  2. Purpose: It serves as official identification and should always be carried by workers.
  3. Information Included:
    • Employee's Name
    • Occupation
    • Employer's Name
    • Nationality
    • Expiry Date
    • Personal ID Number
    • Work Permit Number UAE
    • Labor Card Number

What is the use of labour cards in UAE

A UAE Labor Card is vital for employees. It ensures legal work status and access to numerous benefits under UAE law. It also serves as a crucial ID for various official and employment-related procedures.

  • Legal Employment: Ensures that the employment is legal and recognized by the UAE government.
  • Access to Benefits: The key to accessing employee benefits and rights stipulated by UAE labor laws is
  • Proof of Identity: Acts as a reliable form of identification in the workplace and for official transactions.
  • Work Permit Number UAE Validation: This confirms that the holder has a valid work permit for employment in the UAE.
  • Ease of Transactions: Simplifies governmental and administrative transactions related to employment.
  • Protection under Law: Guarantees protection under UAE labor laws, including dispute resolution.
  • Payroll Processing: Essential for setting up and managing payroll ensuring timely and accurate wage payments.
  • Renewal and Cancellation: Facilitates the easy renewal, cancellation, and modification of work permits and employment details.

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Who is eligible for the UAE Labor Card

The legal framework surrounding the UAE Labor Card, officially known as the Work Permit number UAE, is primarily governed by Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regarding the regulation of labour relations (commonly referred to as the UAE Labor Law).

It's important to note that specific regulations can also vary by emirate and free zone. Below is an exhaustive list of eligibility criteria:

  • Job Contract: You need a job offer and a signed contract with a company in the UAE (outside the free zones).
  • Age Range: You should be between 18 and 65 years old.
  • Health Check: You must pass a health test to show you don't have any communicable diseases.
  • Residency Visa: You need a valid residency visa in the UAE, usually provided by your employer.
  • Qualifications: You'll need to show your educational and professional certificates for some jobs.
  • Clean Slate: You shouldn't have any labor or immigration bans or a criminal record that would stop you from working in the UAE.
  • Skill Level: The UAE issues Labor Cards to workers of all skill levels, from skilled to unskilled.
  • No Company Ownership: If you own part of the company, you need extra paperwork to get a Labor Card.
  • Previous Labor Cards: If you've had a Labor Card before, ensure it was cancelled correctly before applying for a new one.
  • Non-Free Zone: This is for jobs outside the free zones, as those areas have work permits.
  • Government Approval: Your job and Labor Card application must be approved by the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).
  • Follow the Rules: You and your employer must follow UAE labour laws to get and keep your Labor Card.

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Validity and Renewal of the UAE labour card

Keeping your UAE Labor Card current is vital for legal employment. It requires timely renewal by your employer, typically every two years. Ensure you meet the renewal deadline to avoid penalties. Free Zone workers should note that renewal procedures may differ. Stay informed to maintain your legal working status in the UAE.

  • Card Validity: Your Labor Card is usually valid for two years from its date.
  • Renewal Timeline: Start the renewal process before your card expires, as your employer needs to apply for renewal.
  • Medical Check-Up (if required): You might need a new medical fitness test for some renewals, especially in specific jobs.
  • Employment Status: Your job with the employer on your Labor Card should still be active to renew your card.
  • Documents for Renewal: You’ll need your Passport, photos, current Labor Card, and possibly your medical test results.
  • Late Renewal Penalties: Try to renew on time. Late renewals can lead to fines for you or your employer.
  • Cancellation Before Expiry: If you leave your job, your Labor Card must be cancelled before you can get a new one with a different employer.
  • Free Zone Cards: If you work in a free zone, the renewal process might differ, and the Free Zone Authority handles it.

Labour card in Free Zones:

Free Zones in the UAE have their own set of rules and regulations, including those related to employment and work permits. The term "Labor Card" is commonly used for work permits issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) for employment outside of Free Zones, in Free Zones, work permits, or the respective Free Zone Authority issues employment cards. Here’s a simplified overview regarding work permits in Free Zones:

  • Separate Regulatory Bodies: Each Free Zone is regulated by its own Free Zone Authority, which issues work permits and oversees employment laws within the zone.
  • Application Process: To work in a Free Zone, your work permit application will typically be processed by your employer through the Free Zone Authority rather than MoHRE.
  • Validity and Renewal: Like MoHRE-issued Labor Cards, Free Zone work permits have validity periods and renewal processes that can vary between zones.
  • Benefits: Working in a Free Zone may come with certain benefits, such as 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and customs duty benefits, depending on the specific Free Zone.
  • Eligibility: The essential eligibility criteria for obtaining a work permit in a Free Zone are similar to those outside Free Zones, including a valid employment offer, health fitness, and legal residency status in the UAE.
  • No Labor Ban Concerns: Moving between Free Zones or between a Free Zone and a non-Free Zone employer is generally smoother, with no labor ban implications, but specific conditions can apply.
  • Required Documents: You'll need a range of documents for your work permit application, including passport copies, photos, educational certificates, and sometimes a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your previous employer.
  • Working Outside Free Zones: A work permit from a Free Zone Authority is not valid for employment outside that Free Zone. To work outside, you would need a Labor Card issued by MoHRE.

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How to get a labour card copy online

Applying for a UAE Labor Card is straightforward when you know what steps to take and pitfalls to avoid. Preparing all the necessary documents and information ahead of time can make the process smoother and more efficient.

Step-by-Step Application Process on how to get labour card number

  1. Employment Offer Acceptance: Accept a formal job offer from a UAE employer.
  2. Work Permit Approval: Your employer applies for initial approval for your work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).
  3. Entry Permit: Obtain an entry permit (if you're outside the UAE) to enter the country for employment.
  4. Medical Screening: Undergo a medical screening test in the UAE for infectious diseases.
  5. Emirates ID Registration: Apply for your Emirates ID at an authorized typing centre.
  6. Labor Contract Signing: Sign your official labor contract, which should match your job offer.
  7. Residency Visa: Your employer will now process your residency visa.
  8. Labor Card Issuance: Once the residency visa is stamped on your Passport, your employer will finalize the Labor Card application through MoHRE.

Required Documents for UAE labour card

To ensure a smooth application process, have the following documents ready:

  • Valid Passport with a minimum of six months' validity.
  • Passport-sized photographs with a white background.
  • Copies of your educational and professional qualifications are duly attested.
  • Medical clearance certificate from a UAE-approved health center.
  • Employment offer letter or contract, signed.
  • Entry permit (for applicants outside the UAE).

Common Mistakes to Avoid During the Application Process

  • Incomplete Documentation: Ensure all documents are complete, attested where necessary, and translated into Arabic if required.
  • Mismatched Information: The information on your application form must match the details on your Passport and other official documents.
  • Ignoring Application Deadlines: Be aware of and adhere to all application deadlines to avoid delays or rejections.
  • Neglecting Health Screening: The medical test is mandatory; failing to complete it or testing positive for prohibited conditions will result in application denial.
  • Overlooking Legalization and Attestation Requirements: Foreign documents typically need attestation from the UAE embassy in your home country and further attestation in the UAE.

UAE Labour Card Fees, Expiry, and Fines

The UAE Labor Card is an essential document for expatriates working in the UAE, signifying legal employment status. Understanding the fees, expiry details, and fines associated with the Labor Card is crucial for employers and employees to ensure compliance with UAE labor laws.

Labour Card Fees

  • Issuance and Renewal Fees: The cost of issuing or renewing a Labor Card can vary depending on the company's category (A to C), the worker's skill level, and the type of contract. Generally, fees range from AED 200 to AED 5,000.
  • Medical Test Fees: Applicants must also pay for a mandatory medical screening, which can cost approximately AED 300 to AED 500, depending on the emirate and the urgency of the results.

Labor Card Expiry

  • Validity Period: Labor Cards are typically valid for two years from the date of issuance.
  • Renewal: It's advisable to initiate the renewal process 60 days before the expiry date to avoid disruptions in employment status.

Fines for Late Renewal or Non-compliance

  • Late Renewal Fines: Employers face fines for failing to renew Labor Cards on time. Fines can accrue up to a maximum limit daily, potentially reaching thousands of dirhams.
  • Working Without a Valid Labor Card: Employees found working without a valid Labor Card or during the grace period for renewal may be subject to fines, deportation, and a ban on future employment in the UAE.
  • Overstay Fines: Expatriates who stay in the UAE after their Labor Card has expired without initiating renewal procedures may face overstay fines for their residency visa linked to their employment status. 

How to check labour card number online

To check the status of a UAE Labor Card, including its validity, renewal dates, and any other related details, both employees and employers can utilize online services provided by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). Here's how you can perform a UAE Labor Card check:

Online through the MoHRE website:

  1. Visit MoHRE's Official Website: Access the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) website.
  2. Service & Support Section: Navigate to the website's 'Service & Support' or 'eServices' section.
  3. Public Services: Look for an option labelled 'Public Services' or a similar term.
  4. Labor Card Information: Select the service that allows you to check Labor Card information. This might be labelled as "Labor Card Information", "Work Permit Status", or similar.
  5. Enter Required Details: You will likely need to enter the Labor Card number, Passport number, or other personal identification details.
  6. Submit & View Status: After submitting the required information, you should be able to view the Labor Card's current status, validity, and other relevant details.

via Mobile App:

MoHRE also offers a mobile application for iOS and Android devices, where you can check your Labor Card status, among other services. After downloading the app:

  1. Log In/Register: If you haven’t used the app before, you might need to register using your details.
  2. Navigate to Labor Card Services: Find the Labor Card or work permit inquiries section.
  3. Enter Details and Check Status: As with the website, enter the necessary information to view your Labor Card details.

Customer Service:

If you're having trouble finding the information you need online or through the app, you can also contact MoHRE directly:

  • Call the MoHRE Hotline: Dial 800 60 60 for assistance within the UAE.
  • Visit a MoHRE Office: You can visit the nearest MoHRE office or Tas'heel service centre for personal assistance.

How To Download Your UAE Labor Card

  1. Visit the MOHRE Website: Go to www.mohre.gov.ae, the official site of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
  2. Find 'E-Services': Look for the 'E-Services' section on the website. This is where online services are available.
  3. Click on 'My Transactions': Under 'E-Services,' click 'My Transactions' or a similar option.
  4. Log in: Log in to your MOHRE account. If you don't have one, you should sign up.
  5. Go to 'Labor Card Services': Once logged in, find 'Labor Card Services' or a related category.
  6. Choose 'Download Labor Card': Select the option to download your Labor Card and select it.
  7. Confirm and Download: Review your details and then download your Labor Card.
  8. Save and Print (Optional): Save the downloaded file on your device. You can also print a copy if necessary.
  9. Keep it Safe: Store your Labor Card securely, treating it like any other important document.

Closing comments

Working with the UAE Labor Card system is an essential and valuable skill for legal employment and law compliance. Whether you are applying for the card or renewing it, knowing the process stages, necessary fees, and possible fines is beneficial and time-saving. Be well-prepared and proactive while working in the UAE.


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