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Having a baby in the UAE

From passports to visas, so much documentation comes with giving birth in the UAE, that at first it’s just plain confusing. Here’s your paperwork action plan...

Janine Mackenzie
27 Sep 2016 | 02:27 pm
  • Source:Shutterstock

1 When you’re first pregnant

Congratulations, you’re expecting! One of the first things to think about is that you’ll need to ensure your marriage certificate is attested if you got married anywhere other than the UAE. To be unmarried and pregnant is a criminal offence in the UAE, and when you go to open a maternity file at the hospital here, you will be asked for the original and a copy of your marriage certificate. For around Dh1,000 you can outsource getting your docs attested, which takes about two weeks. See Indexdubai.com, www.vitalcertificates.ae and www.blairconsular.com.

2 Opening a maternity file at the hospital

If you’re planning to deliver your baby in one of the emirates, you’ll need to have a maternity file opened at your preferred hospital. To do this in Dubai, you’ll need:

  • A valid Dubai Health Authority Card if you plan to deliver in a public hospital such a Latifa – you can get a card at Latifa or at Al Barsha Clinic. This is a cheaper option for anyone without maternity insurance (although as of June 30 this year all employers are required to offer medical insurance for their staff, and the minimum requirement includes maternity insurance). It is not necessary to have the health card if you’re going to deliver at a private hospital.
  • Marriage certificate (original and copy, attested if you were married overseas)
  • Passports and copies of them (for both husband and wife)
  • Residency visas and copies (for both husband and wife)

3 Registering your baby’s birth

So you’re a mummy now! Enjoy the first few magical days, but bear in mind that you have 30 days in which to get a birth certificate. The hospital your baby is delivered in will automatically issue a ‘notification of birth’ in Arabic. This is not the same as the birth certificate, which you will need to get in Arabic first and then have it translated if necessary. Some public hospitals including Dubai Hospital (04 707 5805), Rashid Hospital (04 337 1111) and Latifa Hospital (formerly Al Wasl Hospital, 04 324 1111) have a counter that will issue the Arabic birth certificate. (You can also apply for a temporary health card for your newborn, and you will receive a health book/immunisation book, which you can then use to get free immunisation injections from a Dubai government health clinic.) Go the counter at one of the hospitals and hand over the documents and receive the Arabic birth certificate immediately. Documents required:

  • Original and copies of parents’ passports with residence permits
  • Copy of attested marriage certificate
  • Discharge summary from hospital for mother and child
  • Notification of birth (from the hospital)

For a British birth certificate, go to the Preventive Medicine Department at Al Baraha Hospital (04 271 0000). You’ll need to get both the Arabic and English certificates attested by the Ministry of Health (at Al Baraha Hospital) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See www.government.ae/en/web/guest/having-a-new-baby-in-the-uae for more.

4 Getting your baby’s documents

You have 120 days from the child’s birth to organise his or her passport, residency visa and Emirates ID, after which you could face fines of up to Dh100 per day

a) Passport

As soon as possible, check with your respective embassy or Home Office website on what the procedure is for overseas passport applications. This, along with the fee, varies from country to country. You should allow up to 10 weeks for this process. You will need passport photos of your newborn – you can get these at photo studios around Dubai (we tried Fotofun at Mall of the Emirates). Requirements vary depending on your home country, but in order to get a UAE visa, you will need photos of your baby with his or her eyes open.

b) The visa

All newborns living in Dubai will need to have a residency visa. You must first get an application form at a Tasheel office, whereupon the typist will complete it for you. If you are applying for the newborn’s visa yourself, take the completed application and the following documents to GDRFA (General Directorate Residency Foreign Affairs – which is also known as Ministry of Immigration):

  • Sponsor’s original passport (father)
  • Mother’s passport copy with visa page (coloured copy – high resolution)
  • Baby’s passport (eye’s open and white background)
  • Typing of the Emirates ID for baby
  • Baby’s Arabic and English original birth certificates
  • Two photos of baby (eyes open and white background)
  • Tenancy contract registered with EJARI (www.ejari.ae).
  • Both parents’ original Emirates IDs
  • Original marriage certificate attested in MOFA UAE
  • Salary certificate from the company
  • Labour contract (Dubai visa/Non-Free Zone visa)
  • Salary certificate (From the Free Zone Authority if you work in one)
  • For more information on the visa process visit www.dubai.ae/en/Lists/HowToGuide

c) The Emirates id

Visit your nearest Emirates ID Authority and open an application for your newborn. You will require

  • 1 baby’s photo (eyes open and white background)
  • Baby’s original passport
  • Father’s original passport 
Colour copy of mother’s passport with visa page and original
  • Baby’s original birth certificates

No time to do it all yourself?

Dubai-based company Baby Steps (www.babystepsdubai.com) will apply for your baby’s birth certificate and residency visa for you. Its birth certificate service starts from Dh570 and takes two to three working days. Its visa application service starts from Dh1,750 and takes five to 10 working days. You will need to apply for your baby’s passport yourself, but Baby Steps will deliver the relevant paperwork to you – free of charge – with your birth certificate.

Janine Mackenzie

Janine Mackenzie