If you are looking to move to the UAE or are looking for new residency options, the UAE has announced several visa options in recent years and many of these options involves the purchase of a property. With these new changes, students, entrepreneurs, working professionals or retirees can get a residence visa and sponsor their families as well.
Here is a look at all the visa options available to those looking to reside in the UAE.
Option 1: Retirement Visa (5-Year)
Five-year renewable retirement residency visa is available to those above 55 years of age and who meet the eligibility criteria. The visa is available to you, your spouse and your children.
You must be at least 55 years of age.
You must have valid medical insurance covering the UAE.
The applicant must meet one of the following financial criteria:
1. Property Value: To own a property in the country that is not mortgaged and is worth no less than Dh1 million
2. Cash Savings: To have a bank deposit in the UAE of no less than Dh1 million
3. Minimum income: To provide a proof that you have a monthly income of no less than Dh20,000 or of an equivalent other currency
4. Combination of Property Value and Savings: To combine points 1 and 2 so that the sum of the bank deposit and market price of the property value is no less than Dh2 million.
Depending on the eligibility route you wish to use, ensure that you have the required supporting documentary evidence.
Take for example, if you wish to apply using the ‘Property Value’ route, you must attach a copy of your property title deed.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to apply based on your cash savings, then a letter from the bank stating the value of the deposit is required.
In the case of the third option – minimum income – a bank statement for the past six months and evidence of source of income is required as proof.
If you wish to use the fourth option – Combination of Property value and Savings – then a combination of proofs mentioned above to a minimum sum of Dh2 million is needed.
How to apply?
When your documents are ready, you would need to email them on RetireInDubai@dubaitourism.ae with the following documents:
1. Passport copy of applicant, spouse and children (if applicable)
2. Marriage certificate copy (if sponsoring the spouse)
3. Current copy of visa (If applicant is a resident of UAE)
4. Copy of Emirates IDs of applicant (if applicant is a current resident in UAE)
5. Eligibility evidence copy (as explained above).
6. Copy of a valid Health Insurance policy covering UAE (policies for spouse and children if applicable)
7. Current home address (Building number, street number, area, city, country)
8. Mobile number and email address on which you wish to be contacted on.
The application will then be routed to the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) for processing.
When can I expect a response?
According to Visit Dubai, once the application is sent, the individual would receive a confirmation on their application status within three working days.
Option 2: Long Term Golden Visas (3-Year, 5-Year and 10-Year)
Eligibility for a three-year visa
Property investors are entitled to apply for a three-year residence visa in the UAE as long as they meet the following conditions:
a. The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than Dh750,000.
b. The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis i.e. the property must be fully paid up.
With this visa, you will be considered as eligible to be a UAE resident and can avail the related benefits such as Emirates ID, driving license and family sponsorship. The cost of this visa range between AED 13,000 and AED 15,000 and has a validity of 3 years. However, visa holders are not permitted to stay outside the country for a consecutive period of more than 6 months.
Long Term Visas Announced
In 2019, the UAE implemented a new system for long-term residence visas. The new system enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland. These visas will be issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.
Cabinet Resolution No. 56 of 2018 Regarding the Organisation of Residence Permits for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Professional Talent regulates granting golden visas to:
3. specialized talents and researchers in various fields of science and knowledge
4. bright students with promising scientific capabilities
Eligibility for a five-year visa
The following categories are entitled to apply for a five-year residence visa in the UAE:
Category 1: Investors in a property in the UAE
Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:
a. The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than Dh5 million.
b. The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis.
c. The property must be retained for at least three years.
The benefit is that the visa holder can also sponsor his family and dependents, which is a highly attractive benefit.
Category 2: Entrepreneurs
This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of Dh500,000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.
The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.
Category 3: Outstanding Students
1. outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 per cent in public and private secondary schools
2. university students within and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.
Long-term visa includes families of the outstanding students
Eligibility for a ten-year visa
The following categories are entitled to apply for a 10-year residence visa in the UAE.
Category 1: Investors in public investments worth at least Dh10 million.
The investment may take many forms such as:
1. A deposit of at least Dh10 million in an investment fund inside the country
2. Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than Dh10 million
3. Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than Dh10 million
4. Having a total investment of not less than Dh10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 per cent of the total investment.
Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:
1. The amount invested must not be loaned.
2. The investment should be retained for at least three years.
3. There should be a financial solvency (the ability of a person, business or organization to pay their debts and have cash to pay for future needs) up to Dh10 million.
Visa can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes Dh10 million.
The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.
Category 2: Persons with specialized talents
This includes specialized talents and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, as well as creative individuals in the field of culture and art. The visa advantage extends to the spouse and children. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialized field of a priority in the UAE.
Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:
1. Scientists must be accredited by Emirates Scientists Council or holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
2. Creative individuals in culture and art must be accredited by Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
3. Inventors must obtain a patent of value, which adds to the UAE’s economy. Patents must be approved by Ministry of Economy.
4. Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or a scientific research published in a world-class journal.
5. Executives must be owners of a leading and internationally recognized company or holders of a high academic achievement and position.
Doctors and specialists must meet at least two of the following conditions:
1. a Ph. D. degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world.
2. an award or certificates of appreciation in the field of the applicant’s work
3. contribution to a major scientific research in the respective field of work
4. published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the respective field of work
5. membership in an organization related to the field
6. a Ph. D. degree, in addition to 10-year professional experience in their field
7. specialization in areas of priority to the UAE.
*NEW* Student and Virtual Work Program Visas
As an added bonus, there are 2 more options that allow you to have a residency visa in Dubai. Although a property purchase is not required, having a permanent home in the country of residence should be considered especially if you have decided to relocate to UAE.
The latest announcement made by UAE authorities was on Sunday, January 24, 2021, during a UAE Cabinet meeting. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, revealed that the council of ministers had approved new changes to the visa and residency rules where expat students will be able to bring and sponsor their families, if they are financially capable.
Virtual Working Program – live in Dubai, even when your office is outside the UAE
Under the Virtual Working Program, you may relocate to Dubai (from outside the UAE) and continue working for the organization you are already working for, remotely.
Who is the Virtual Working Program for?
It is for people who live and work outside the UAE, start-ups and entrepreneurs who meet the eligibility criteria. If your application to live in Dubai is approved by the UAE’s authorities, you can also bring your family along.
Duration of the virtual working program
The program is valid for one year, renewable upon re-application.
How to apply for this program
Applicants would need to submit the following documents to start the process:
• Passport copy, where the passport is valid for at least six months
• Health insurance with UAE coverage
• Proof of Employment from current employer with a one-year contract validity, a minimum of US$5,000 (Dh18,365) monthly salary, last month’s pay slip and three preceding months’ bank statements.
• For entrepreneurs – proof of ownership of company for one year or more, with average monthly income of US$5,000 (Dh18,365) and last three months’ bank statements.
Email these documents to email@example.com.
According to the Visit Dubai website, once the documents are received, a department representative will contact the applicant to take the process further.
Cost – $287 (Dh1,054) per person, along with medical insurance and processing fees.
- For the 3-year visa, the value of the property should be AED 1,000,000 or more and value means purchase price, not the current market value.
- The property should be freehold and ready to use. Examples include, residential apartments, serviced apartments, hotel apartments, villas & townhouses, offices and warehouses etc. Properties not acceptable for visa includes off plan, leasehold, loaned and disputed properties and land-plots.
- Even if the property is mortgaged, you can apply for visa but the minimum investment should be AED 1 million and a NOC from bank should also be submitted along with the application file.
- If the investment is in multiple properties (up to 3) with a total value of AED 1 million, the investor is still eligible to apply for visa. However, an investor visa does not permit the investor or give the right to work anywhere in the UAE.
- In case the investment in property is made as a joint venture with your spouse (husband or wife), you can still qualify to apply for investor visa. An attested marriage certificate should be attached along with the application.
- The monthly income should be AED 10,000 (or equivalent currency) or more and a proof of income is also required to be provided. It doesn’t matter whether income is earned from within the country or outside UAE but proof of income is a must.
- Title deed(s) of the property
- Passport copy of the applicant(s)
- Current visa status/copy of the applicant(s)
- 6 passport size photos
- Certificate of Good Conduct from Dubai Police
- Bank Statements
- Latest Utility Bill
- Health/Medical insurance
- First, the property owner has to approach the Dubai Land Department along with original passport, original title deed and a copy of the current visa page. Also, a request for a reference letter must be submitted to the Dubai Police.
- Once a letter has been issued by the Dubai Land Department, then approach the Dubai Police with a request to issue a certificate of good conduct.
- Visit the Dubai Economic Department along with the appropriate documents to apply for a trade license.
- Once the DED issues an investor license, you can then approach the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) to apply for the residence visa in the UAE along with the required documents.
- Once your residence visa is issued, you can then simultaneously apply for residence visa for your family under your sponsorship.
Fees & Expenses
The property investor visa total costs range between AED 13,000 and AED 15,000 (subject to change)
Police Clearance Letter charges – AED 220
Administration Fees – AED 420
Application Cost – AED 3,000
Typing & Entry Permit – AED 1,100.
Cost of DED License Issuance – AED 8,400
Stamping/Emirates ID/Medical – AED 2,490
Additional charges for renewing/sponsoring spouse and dependents – AED 5,000 – 6,000 each.
Among all these types of investor visa, 6-month residency visa is the cheapest, however you will have to renew this visa every 6 months which will cost AED 1,100 every time. In addition, sponsorship of family and renewals will be subject to a fee of AED 250 each.
All information provided is meant to be a guide only. Readers are advised to consult an immigration, legal and/or tax professional. Information sources are from government.ae and Gulf News.