New rules for obtaining visas and residence permits in the UAE, which simplify immigration

According to the Emirates News Agency of the United Arab Emirates dated April 18, changes were made to the decree on the rules for the entry of foreigners into the country and their stay on the territory of the state. According to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the country, the new rules are designed to make it easier for expats to obtain a residence permit, to attract and retain professionals and talented scientists, and to positively influence the development of tourism.

UAE Golden Visa

The concept of “Golden Visa”, or a residence permit for 10 years, has existed in the country for a long time. But this spring, the number of categories of persons eligible for this document has been expanded. Now the full list of possible beneficiaries is as follows:

  1. Investors:
    • public investment;
    • investment in real estate.
  2. Entrepreneurs:
    • owners of registered successful startups;
    • those who have an approved idea for the implementation of a startup;
    • Founders of a successful startup that was sold in the UAE or abroad.
  3. Exceptional talents in the following areas:
    • Culture and art;
    • Inventions
    • sport;
    • digital technologies;
    • other vital areas.
  4. Scientists and professionals:
    • scientists;
    • leaders and high-ranking officials;
    • specialists in the field of science;
    • employees of the engineering sector;
    • healthcare professionals;
    • professionals in the field of education;
    • Specialists in the field of business and administration;
    • professionals in the field of information technology;
    • Professionals in the field of law, social sphere and culture.
  5. Outstanding students and alumni:
    • The best high school students
    • the best graduates of UAE universities;
    • graduates of the 100 best universities in the world.
  6. Pioneers in the Humanitarian Sphere:
    • distinguished members of international and regional humanitarian organizations;
    • eminent members of associations dedicated to the defense of the public interest;
    • laureates of awards for achievements in the humanitarian field;
    • Outstanding volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian activities.
  7. Frontline Heroes:
    • Workers who have shown outstanding efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other innovations include the abolition of limits on stay outside the Emirates. Now, no matter how long the beneficiary plans to stay in other states, his visa will not be cancelled. Holders of a ten-year residence permit will now be able to sponsor their family members (spouses and children) and even service personnel. At the time of registration of the document, the applicant will be issued an electronic visa for a period of six months, allowing him to live in the UAE. In the event of the death of the visa holder, his family members will be allowed to remain in the country until the validity of the document expires.

Below we will analyze in more detail the most relevant categories of applicants.

New rules for property buyers

One of the most welcome changes is a new home purchase threshold that allows investors to apply for a Golden Visa. So, the lower limit of the cost is now 2 million AED (544 thousand $, 3.62 million ¥). Thanks to amendments to the legislation, the purchase of real estate in Dubai or any other city in the country in order to obtain a residence permit for a period of 10 years can now be carried out with borrowed funds from certain local banks. In addition, this amount can be achieved through the purchase of several objects, including off-plan from developers approved by the Government of the country.

New rules for entrepreneur

According to the new conditions, in order to obtain a visa for 10 years as an entrepreneur, a foreign citizen must be the owner of a start-up registered in the UAE or a partner in it. An enterprise registered as a small or medium-sized enterprise must have an annual income of at least AED 1 million ($272,000, ¥1.81 million). In addition, there is the possibility of obtaining a visa thanks to a startup that does not yet exist: for this, the idea of ​​​​creating it must be approved by the Ministry of Economy of the country or an official business incubator. This document can also be issued to those who have already created and subsequently sold one or more projects with a total value of at least AED 7 million ($1.9 million, ¥12.6 million).

New rules for specialists, scientists and talents

Scholars, professionals in a particular field, or the most distinguished and talented individuals in various industries may also qualify for a ten-year residence permit in the Emirates.

The first category includes those who were recommended by the Academic Council of the country for a visa. The requirements for the candidate are as follows: have a PhD or, for example, a master’s degree in biomedical sciences, engineering or technology from one of the best universities in the world, and also prove the infallibility of their achievements in the field of scientific research and influence in the profession.

A specialist visa is issued to those who have a valid employment contract in the country, a monthly salary of at least 30 thousand AED (8.1 thousand $, 54.3 thousand ¥) and are at the first or second level of professional qualification according to the International Classification Standard occupations (International Standard Classification of Occupations, ISCO) of the International Labor Organization (International Labor Organization). Among the industries that can qualify for the Golden Visa are medicine, natural sciences, IT, engineering, business and administration, law, education, social and cultural areas. The level of education of such a specialist must be at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in another state.

“Exceptional talents” refers to those who, regardless of education, age, earnings or employment, have unique abilities in various fields. So, on this basis, people with talent in the field of art, sports, IT and other related industries, or those who are engaged in inventions, can apply for a ten-year visa. The talented applicant must be nominated or approved by local regulators.

New rules for students and schoolchildren

This type of residence permit is provided for those who graduated with honors from high school and university in the country, as well as graduates of the top 100 universities in the world. In this case, the year of graduation, the rating of the educational institution and the performance of the applicant will be taken into account.

New types of residence permit

In addition to the expanded grounds for issuing visas for 10 years, the UAE has defined new residence permits for a period of five years. This document is intended primarily for talented professionals, businessmen, investors and those who work on a freelance basis. This type of residence permit implies more flexible rules for family members, and also increases the time spent in the country up to six months after the expiration of the visa.

Applicants can apply for a residence permit for spouses and children, while the age of daughters is not limited if they are not married, and the age limit for sons has been increased from 18 to 25 years. For children with disabilities, regardless of gender, age restrictions do not apply.

Residence permit for freelancers and self-employed persons without a sponsor

A major innovation is the five-year visa for self-employed persons and freelancers. At the same time, they do not need to have an employer or sponsor in the Emirates. An applicant for a visa must have a permit for a similar type of activity, which is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, as well as a bachelor’s degree or a specialized diploma. In addition, you must either receive an income from your work of at least 360 thousand AED (98 thousand $, 654.1 thousand ¥) per year, or prove your financial stability for the entire duration of your stay in the country.

Residence permit for investors establishing a company or participating in its creation

The visa period for business investors has been extended from two to five years. This category includes the founders of enterprises or participants in commercial activities. For this residence permit, investment approval or confirmation is required. At the same time, there may be several business licenses – in this case, the competent authorities will take into account the total amount of investments.

Residence permit for qualified specialists

This program allows skilled workers who do not have an employer or sponsor in the Emirates to stay in the state for five years. They need to have a valid contract of employment and meet the first, second or third level of professionalism according to the ISCO system. The minimum payment threshold for applicants is 15 thousand AED (4.08 thousand $, 27.2 thousand ¥), in education – a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent.

Visa for job search

Now persons interested in employment in the Emirates and corresponding to the first, second or third level of professional qualifications can obtain the document required to visit the country. This category of applicants also includes recent graduates of the world’s top 500 universities with at least a bachelor’s degree that or its equivalent.

New entry visas

The updated rules for issuing entry visas expand the list of opportunities for entering the country. For example, for the first time the Government of the UAE allowed to issue visas to persons without a sponsor or host. The terms of validity of these permits have become longer, while the right to enter and stay in the Emirates can be extended once or multiple times for an identical period.

Business Entry Visa

This option is designed to attract investors and businessmen who may be interested in starting their own business or investing in existing businesses. A sponsor or host is not required to obtain a permit.

Multiple entry tourist visa

Now travelers wishing to visit the UAE will do so much more comfortably. So, tourists can get a visa for five years, allowing them to enter the country any number of times and stay in the Emirates for up to 90 days, with the possibility of extension for the same period. A sponsor is not required. There are only two conditions: staying on the territory of the state during the year cannot exceed 180 days a year, and in order to receive a document, it is necessary to confirm the presence on the bank account of an amount in any currency equivalent to 14.6 thousand AED (4 thousand $, 26, ¥7,000) within six months prior to the date of application.

Entry permit for visiting relatives or friends

Those with family members or friends living in the Emirates now have legal reasons to visit. At the same time, a close person, whether he is a citizen or a resident of the state, is not required to officially act either as a sponsor or as a host.

Entry permit for temporary work

This visa option can be useful for those who must come to the country for a specific work project, such as completing a specific assignment or completing a probationary period. To request such an entry permit, you must have a letter from the employer explaining the purpose of the employee’s visit and a temporary contract. Expenses, according to the documents, are borne by the employer.

Entry permit for the purpose of study

This document is intended for those who are doing an internship, training courses or participating in a professional development program in the UAE. The organization sponsoring the trip (this may be a university, research institute, public or private enterprise) must provide a letter stating the duration of the study and describing its details.

The staff of Ax Capital real estate agency in Dubai will help you through all the bureaucratic processes, guide you in the housing market of Dubai and the UAE as a whole, and also advise on starting a business. Contact our specialists at the phone number listed on the site.