New Visa Regulations in the UAE: Everything you need to know about the 10 types of visas and who can apply
The UAE Cabinet, led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, has approved executive regulations for the Federal Decree-Law on the Entry and Residence of Foreigners. The UAE is made up of seven kingdoms, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The new entry and residence system aims to attract and retain talented and skilled workers from around the world, increase the competitiveness and flexibility of the labor market, and foster a high sense of stability among UAE residents and families.
The new entry and residence scheme offers 10 types of entry visas with simplified requirements and greater benefits. The new visas do not require a host or sponsor, offer greater flexibility, multiple entry, validity of 60 days and a single platform for application.
Significant amendments have been made to the Golden Residency scheme, simplifying eligibility criteria and expanding beneficiary categories. This long-term 10-year residence permit is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and specialists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.
The amendments allow the Gold Residence holder to sponsor family members, including a spouse and children, regardless of their age, and to sponsor support workers (domestic servants) without limitation. In addition, there is no limit on the maximum length of stay outside the UAE for the continued validity of the Golden Residence Permit.
There are other benefits for family members that allow them to remain in the UAE in the event of the death of the original Gold residency permit holder before the expiration of their permit.
Golden Visa for Scholars
This residence permit is granted to scholars and researchers of high achievement and influence in their field based on the recommendation of the Emirates Academic Council.
The candidate must have a Ph.D. or M.S. degree in the disciplines of engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from the best universities in the world, as well as significant achievements in scientific research.
Gold visa for professionals
This category introduces a significant expansion to attract highly qualified workers with qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines, including medicine, science and engineering, information technology, business and management, education, law, culture and the social sciences.
Candidates must have a valid employment contract in the UAE and belong to the first or second professional level according to the classification of the Emirates Ministry of Human Resources and Economy, which corresponds to the International Standard Classification of Occupations ISCO of the International Labor Organization.
The minimum level of education must be a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and the monthly salary must not be less than AED 30,000.
Gold Visa for Outstanding Talent
This residency is granted to the best talent in vital areas. It is awarded only on the basis of talent, regardless of educational qualifications, employment status, monthly salary or professional level.
The residency requires a recommendation or approval from the federal or local government and includes talent in the fields of culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators, and other vital fields.
Gold Visa for Real Estate Investors
Real estate investors can get a Golden Residence when they buy a property worth at least AED 2 million.
Under the new amendments, investors are also eligible to obtain a Golden Residence when purchasing a property with a loan from certain local banks. Investors can also obtain the Golden Residency when purchasing one or more off-plan properties worth at least AED 2 million from approved local real estate companies.
Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs
The executive legislation establishes flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible for the Golden Visa; the entrepreneur must own or be a partner in a startup registered in the country in the category of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and earn an annual income of at least AED 1 million.
In addition, approval of a startup idea by an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy or competent local authorities is sufficient to obtain a Golden Visa in this category.
In addition, if the person is the founder (co-founder) of a previous entrepreneurial project(s) which has been sold for a total value of at least AED 7 million, he/she will be eligible for the Golden Residency. Projects or ideas require the approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities.
Golden Visa for outstanding students and graduates
This visa is for excellent students in UAE high schools and outstanding graduates of UAE universities and top 100 universities worldwide according to certain criteria including their academic performance (cumulative GPA), year of graduation and university classification.
New types of accommodations with unprecedented benefits
ajor improvements include the introduction of new 5-year residency types to attract talent, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. Additional benefits are offered to make it easier for family members to stay, as well as longer flexible grace periods of up to 6 months to stay after residency is revoked or expires, in addition to easing and simplifying requirements for all types of residency.
Green visa for skilled workers
This new program provides a 5-year residence permit for qualified workers, without a sponsor or employer. Applicants must have a valid employment contract and be in the first, second or third occupational level as required by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. The minimum level of education must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and the salary must not be less than AED 15,000.
Green residence permit for freelancers and self-employed
In keeping with the growing importance of flexible work models, this residence permit provides a 5-year residence permit for freelancers and self-employed individuals without the need for a sponsor or employer in the UAE. It requires a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, the minimum education level must be a Bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma, and the annual income from self-employment in the previous two years must be at least AED 360,000, or the applicant must prove financially sound for the duration of their stay in the country.
Green residence permit for investor or partner
This residence permit is introduced to encourage investment, providing a 5-year residence permit for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence permit, which was only valid for 2 years. Requirements include investment approval and proof of investment. If the investor (partner) holds more than one license, the total invested capital will be calculated. Approval by the competent local authorities is mandatory.
New benefits for family members
The new system provides more benefits for family members, allowing residents to easily apply for residency for their family members, including their spouse and children.
The age of children who can be sponsored has been increased to 25 (previously 18), with no age limit for unmarried daughters. Children are determined to be granted residency regardless of their age.
Green visa holders are allowed to issue residence permits to their first-degree relatives, and in all cases the duration of the residence permit for family members must be the same as that of the original residence permit holder.
The new entry visa system
The new system offers visitors to the UAE a variety of visa types for different purposes of visit. For the first time, new types of visas that do not require a host or sponsor have been introduced. Key improvements include simplifying entry requirements for all types of visas, offering flexible visa terms to suit visitors’ needs and purposes of visit. In addition, all entry visas are available for single or multiple entries, can be extended for a similar period(s) and are valid for 60 days from the date of issue.
Entry visa for seeking employment
.This visa was introduced to attract young talents and skilled professionals to explore employment opportunities in the country, it does not require a sponsor or host. It is granted to those who belong to the first, second or third level qualifications according to the requirements of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, as well as fresh graduates of the top 500 universities in the world, the minimum level of education must be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
Business Entry Visa.
This type makes it easy to enter the country without requiring a sponsor or host to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
In addition to the regular tourist visa, which is sponsored by a tourist institution in the UAE, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa has been introduced.
This type does not require a sponsor and allows a person to stay in the country for up to 90 continuous days, and can be extended for a similar period, as long as the entire period of stay does not exceed 180 days in one year.
This visa requires proof of a bank balance of US$4,000 or equivalent in foreign currency within the last six months prior to application.
Permission to enter to visit relatives or friends
Under the current changes, a visitor can apply for this entry permit if he or she is a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or resident. This does not require a sponsor or host party.
Temporary Work Mission Entry Permit
This type is for those who have a temporary work assignment, such as a probationary period or project assignment, and is sponsored by an employer. It requires a temporary work contract or letter from the employer explaining the purpose of the visit and proof of fitness for work.
Permit to enter for education and training
This type is for those attending education and training courses and/or participating in internship programs. The sponsor can be universities, educational or research institutions licensed in the country, public or private organizations. A letter from the organization detailing the education, training or internship program and its duration is required for approval.