On the path of making the UAE an attractive, quantifiable and sustainable environment for business and living, the UAE Government has announced new residence visa rules in effect from September 2022. This overall safeguards more flexibility for the visa holder and enhanced residence status thereto, aimed at longer tenures for the residence period, less costs for the applicants, comprehensive and appealing rules for visit visa holders and for investors in a broad variety of sectors.
Significant changes have been introduced to the Golden Visas regime, these being long-term 10-year residences granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes, doctors. For the Golden Visa holders, no restrictions apply as to the period of stay outside the UAE in order to maintain the residence status. As well, the new amendments allow sponsorship of family members and children regardless of age, as well as sponsorship of domestic workers irrespective of their number. In case of the demise of the visa holder, his sponsored family members can reside in UAE until the expiry of the visa term. As obvious, an applicant for a Golden Visa does not require a sponsor.
The salient points of the new Golden Visas are as follows:
New visa: Golden residence visa for scientists.
Features: long-term 10-year residence granted to scientists with significant achievements.
Important observations: the applicant should be the holder of a master’s or PhD degree from the best universities in the world.
New visa: Golden residence visa for professionals.
Features: long-term 10-year residence granted to applicants with a valid employment contract in the UAE, classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification in disciplines such as law, medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education etc.
Important observations: The minimum educational level is a bachelor’s degree, and the minimum salary for qualifying for this type of visa is 30,000 AED per month.
New visa: Golden residence visa for exceptional talents.
Features: long-term 10-year residence granted to applicants with exceptional talents in vital areas, as determined by the Federal and / or local Government.
Important observations: can be granted irrespective of any qualification, employment status, investments or employment status.
New visa: Golden residence visa for real estate investors.
Features: long-term 10-year residence granted to applicants purchasing a property of not less than AED 2 million.
Important observations: can be granted even if the property is financed by a bank in UAE or is off-plan.
New visa: Golden residence visa for investors and entrepreneurs.
Features: long-term 10-year residence granted to applicants that own or are shareholders in a UAE startup in the small and medium enterprises category and generates annual revenue of not less than AED 1 million.
Important observations: under approval from the Ministry of Economy, certain projects can be qualified as specific and can entail the founders to a Golden Visa, even if sold (on the condition that the selling price should be min. AED 7 million).
New visa: Golden residence visa for outstanding students and graduates.
Features: long-term 10-year residence granted to applicants that have graduated from universities in UAE or from top 100 universities worldwide.
Important observations: the qualification criteria are based on a cumulation of marks, university ranking, and year of graduation.
In furtherance, new and unprecedented types of residence visas have been adopted. In all cases, the applicant for such visas does not require a sponsor and the primary aim of these visas is to attract and maintain talent within the UAE. These visas are issued for a 5 years period and are categorized as Green Visas. Green Residences holders may sponsor their first-degree relatives, and in all cases, the residency of family members shall be the validity duration of the original residence holder. Other salient features of these visas are as follows:
New visa: Green residence visa for freelancers and self-employed professionals.
Features: 5-year residence granted to applicants that are self-employed or provide freelance work, subject to obtaining a license in this respect from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization.
Important observations: the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or a specialized degree; there is a financial threshold involved, as the applicant needs to prove the generation of income in UAE of min. AED 360,000 in the last 2 years prior to applying or proves in other acceptable ways their financial solvency;
these activities qualify the applicant to open bank accounts with the banks in UAE.
New visa: Green residence visa for investors and partners / shareholders.
Features: 5-year residence granted to applicants that qualify as investors in commercial enterprises in UAE.
Important observations: requires approval from the competent authority in each Emirate in order to qualify as an investor. Should the applicant invest in multiple enterprises, they will all be considered in order to issue a Green residence visa for that investor.
Further, the short term / visit and tourist visa regimes have been significantly enhanced, as follows. These visas do not require sponsors for the first application.
- all entry visas are available for single or multiple entries, can be renewed for similar periods and have a validity of 60 days from issuance;
- In this category, a job exploration visa can be granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the graduates of the best 500 universities worldwide (holders of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent at a minimum);
- Business persons that seek investment opportunities in UAE can benefit from these enhanced new entry rules;
- A 5 years tourist visa that allows the holder to stay within the UAE for 90 days periods, which can be extended up to 180 days; to qualify for such visa, the applicant must prove a bank balance of min. USD 4,000 in the last 6 months prior to application;
- Temporary visas issued to employees on probation or a temporary work assignment or to various students and professionals attending internships, training, and preparation stages in UAE.
Finally, all residence visa holders are granted the benefit of sponsoring their children’s residences up to the age of 25, which is an increment from the previous threshold of 18 years.
Should you require further information on the new visa rules in UAE, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.