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Medical Exam for UAE Residency Visa

We are now a few steps closer to moving to Dubai with my husband having his UAE residency permit, driver’s license and liquor license (very important).

My residency is under-way. This morning a Move One immigration coordinator came and picked me up at our serviced apartment at 8:30am for my Medical Fitness tests. The medical examination is one of the first steps of the immigration application and it is a screening service for infectious diseases (HIV, HBV, TB, and syphilis). I was a bit unsure about what to expect so for all of you future UAE residents, this is what it entailed.

With all my documents already organised by the very organised Move One coordinator, I needed absolutely nothing. She had all applications filled out and my passport in hand so all I had to think about was myself (and my Costa coffee).

The air conditioned car was waiting at my front door to take the two of us to the VIP section of the immigration state medical centre. We had no set appointment but she did specify that if we got to the clinic before 9am then we would get our results the same day – as quickly as 4 hours later.

Upon arrival, I was pleased to see a clean, comfortable clinic with a nice VIP (it literally had a sign stating ‘VIP’) waiting room where I spent very little time as they were quick. The first step was my blood work.  I am one of those unlucky people with very small, hard to find veins. While the laboratory technician prepared the vial and needle for my blood work, we chatted. She told me that she sees about 60 patients a day so finding my vein will not be a challenge. Fortunately, her experience saved me from having the usual 3 – 5 jabs before the mission was a success. It was extremely quick and relatively painless – considering a needle was involved.

After my blood work, I spent another 2 ½ minutes back in the waiting room. I was pleased but also surprised. I had come prepared with my Blackberry – I needed some email catch up time – and my new book that I’ve been trying to find the time to start. The Move One coordinator kept the process moving quickly and very professionally announced, “They are now ready for your x-ray”.

Now, x-rays are something I’ve had quite a bit of experience with. Recently I had an accident and had to get my shoulder x-rayed. In Budapest, I was asked to remove my bra and top and was given no gown. There were two very kind female x-ray technicians but I still felt ridiculous standing there in the cold room while they manoeuvred me around into the x-ray positions. When I walked into the x-ray room in Dubai, there was a very quiet male doctor. I was pleased to be given a private changing room (with a door rather than a curtain that doesn’t actually close) and a gown. I’m not a large woman at all but I was happy the gown was HUGE and did not require any squeezing into!

The one interesting part of the x-ray procedure was his one and only question, “Are you married or single?” Initially, I had no idea what reference this had to do with anything. After I answered yes, I was given a form to sign asking for my last menstrual cycle and a confirmation that I was not pregnant.  I would imagine this wouldn’t have been something a ‘single’ woman would have to sign. As some of you may, or may not know, women living in the UAE (and probably the rest of the UAE) have very little rights. Getting pregnant out of wedlock is definitely forbidden!

The chest x-ray to determine if I had Tuberculosis was quick and easy. I had to stand with my back to the x-ray machine and hold my breath. 1, 2, 3 and done! Thanks to all the pre-planning (including a visit earlier that morning – before my 8:30am pick up!) by my dedicated immigration expert, I was able to get in and out of there in 30 minutes. Definitely a record!

Time goes quick in Dubai so don’t forget to put a reminder in your diary/phone for when your next visa renewal is due! the Residency visa expires after 3 years in a free-zone (& government) and 2 years outside these areas.

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