What is the Golden Visa in UAE
The UAE Golden Visa is a long-term residence visa which is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, outstanding talents and students, and highly qualified professionals. The visa is usually issued for ten years.
This article concerns the UAE Golden Visa for investors.
UAE Golden Visa benefits
Business and tax climate. UAE residents don't pay income and corporate taxes. Property isn't taxed too. Here is VAT if your annual income exceeds AED 365,000 or around $99,373.
The UAE has Double Tax Avoidance Agreements with more than 100 countries. France, the UK, Canada, Russia, India, and China are on this list.
Healthcare. Residents have access to medical services and insurance. According to the World Bank, the UAE is one of the most popular medical tourism destinations.
Developed infrastructure for living and resting. The UAE is one of the most developed and still developing countries. Dubai ranks 74th out of 231 countries in the Mercer's Quality of Living Ranking 2019. The index summarises 39 factors such as economic environment, public services and transport, schools and education, etc.
Freedom of movement. Residents get the right, not duty, to live in the UAE. So, you have no necessity to stay in the country permanently.
Commercial benefits. Residents of the UAE get special discounts and offers on health care and insurance, property, cars and entertainment in Abu Dhabi.
Special offers on banking services. Banks of Abu Dhabi give suggestions for investors holding Golden Visa: reduced mortgage fixed-interest rates and unique rates on savings accounts.
Price and requirements of the UAE Golden Visa for investors
There are two types of Golden visas for investors. And the main difference is in the degree of investment risk.
Ten-year Golden Visa for investment in real estate. For this visa, you should buy a real estate property of a minimal value of AED 2,000,000 without a mortgage. Then you should maintain the investment for at least two years after issuing the Golden Visa.
If you buy a property worth more than AED 2,000,000, a mortgage is permitted for real estate property. But the value of your capital needs to be at least AED 2,000,000: if a property is worth AED 5,000,000, you should pay AED 2,000,000 of your own money, and the maximum amount of mortgage is AED 3,000,000.
Ten-year Golden Visa for investment in a business. To apply for this visa, you should invest at least AED 2,000,000 in the company, share in the company, or put it in a deposit. Additional conditions include maintaining the investment for at least two years after obtaining a Golden Visa. Additionally, you should prove that you paid taxes for AED 250,000 annually for the last two years.
As we can see, a significant part of the costs is the number of investments. In both cases, it should be no less than AED 2,000,000, or about $544,500. But here are the associated costs:
- $1,000+ per person — translation and notarisation of documents,
- $400+ per person — medical insurance,
- AED 750 per person or about $205 — medical test,
- AED 3860 per person or about $1,043 — administrative fee for visa and card of UAE resident.
If you choose to buy real estate, you should also pay a registration fee of AED 160,000 or about $21,800.
General requirements. In addition to fulfilment of programme conditions, an investor should meet these requirements:
- older than 18 years
- have no criminal records,
- have no socially dangerous sicknesses, such as HIV.
And also, an investor should have a legal income.
Where else you can get a Golden Visa
- Portugal Golden Visa - from €250,000
- Greece Golden Visa - from €250,000
- Italy Golden Visa - from €250,000
- Cyprus Golden Visa - from €300,000
- Spain Golden Visa - from €500,000
- Other countries’ Golden Visas
The UAE Golden Visa requirements for family members
Foreigners with a residence permit can fund family members to get Golden Visas. They can add family members to the application or make it after getting their Golden Visas.
You can add to the application:
- spouse, above 18 years old, without criminal records and socially dangerous sicknesses,
- sons up to 25 years old, principally dependent on the investor,
- daughters of any age,
- children with disabilities of any age.
Household helpers, such as sitters, housekeepers and butlers, can also be included. Requirements are similar: above 18 years old, without criminal records, pregnancy and socially dangerous sicknesses.
Requirements for other categories of applicants for the UAE Golden Visa
There are specific requirements for each category of applicants for the UAE Golden Visa.
Entrepreneurs can obtain a Golden Visa if they own or partner in a start-up registered as a small and medium enterprise in the UAE. The company generates annual revenues of not less than AED 1,000,000 or around $272,000.
Entrepreneurs also get the opportunity to obtain a Golden Visa if they receive approval for a start-up idea from an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy, or other competent local authorities.
CEOs of successful projects can also obtain a Golden Visa. In UAE, “successful” means “sold by the price not less than AED 7,000,000”.
Retirees. There is a unique program for applicants over 55 and proven retirees. Applicants should have an excellent financial status. It is expressed by a pension of no less than $4,100 per month, opening a bank deposit or buying a real estate in Dubai for no less than $275,000. The deposit and real estate can be mixed, but the total amount is the same. Participants of the Retiree program can add only a spouse and children under 18 years.
Exceptional talents, innovators and inventors should get a recommendation from a federal or local government entity. People working in culture, art, sports and digital technology fall under the category. There are no requirements about educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary or professional level.
Scientists in engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences should get a recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council. Here is a requirement about education: applicants should have a Master’s degree or PhD and have substantial research achievements.
Professionals in medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences can obtain a Golden Visa if they have an employment contract in the UAE with a salary of no less than AED 30,000 per month and have a Bachelor’s degree.
Best students and graduates from UAE’s universities, humanitarian pioneers, e.g. members of organisations and associations, and heroes who have shown themselves in crises can also claim the Golden Visa of UAE.
Applicants from 18 and above should pass a medical test and a Due Diligence check.
How to apply for the UAE Golden Visa
There are 6 steps to obtaining the UAE Golden Visa:
It is a provisional Due Diligence procedure. Anti Money Laundering Officer of Immigrant Invest checks information about investors and evaluates refusal risks. We need only a copy of your passport, and it is confidential.
A lawyer gives you a complete list of documents and helps prepare them: translate into English and notary certify.
Choose the category of the applicant and fulfil the conditions of the UAE Golden Visa program.
If you are an investor, you should purchase real estate.
If you are a retiree, you should, for example, open a bank deposit.
You get a visa for six months to visit the UAE.
The investor and his adult children pass fluorography and get a blood test in an accredited clinic. After the test, they get a health certificate.
The investor and his family submit biometrics and fill out an application in the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security or the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs. Here is the starting Due Diligence procedure. Usually, it takes five days. But they can request additional information about the investor; in this case, the procedure can take 30 days.
If you are purchasing real estate, you should personally visit the Dubai Land Department for an application.
You can fill out an application online or through an agent by a power of attorney.
After Due Diligence, you get a Golden Visa and card as a UAE resident. For the Golden Visa application, you collect:
- a passport;
- a photo;
- an entry permit;
- medical insurance.
Additional documents depend on the category of your program. It can be proof of investment — title deed for the property, certificates from the bank etc. If you apply with family or staff, you should submit the documents supporting your relations.
Prospects of obtaining UAE citizenship
As we already said, it is almost impossible to get UAE citizenship. The keyword is “almost” because there are some chances to obtain citizenship in the UAE.
The first case is marriage. Women married to Emirati, citizens of the UAE, can apply for a UAE passport in five years.
The second case is naturalisation. Foreigners who have lived in the UAE for 30 years, with excellent Arabic, perfect reputation and stable income, can qualify for citizenship. Getting a passport from the UAE suggests renunciation of another country's citizenship.
The third case is outstanding achievements. Scientists, artists, inventors and specialists nominated by government agencies of the UAE can obtain the passport. But the list of their accomplishments should be genuinely extraordinary, for example, with patents or international awards.
And the last one is investments. The Cabinet should approve an investor with real estate in the UAE of Ministries, Princes and the Executive Council of the Emirates.
Frequently asked questions
For applying for the Golden Visa UAE, you should choose your program, fulfil its conditions and fill out an application online, personally or through the agent by a power of attorney.
There are two ways: invest or become a demanded specialist. Investors should donate at least AED 2,000,000 to the company, share in the company, or put it in a deposit. Specialists should get a job offer with a high-level salary.
You can get a 10-year Golden Visa if you buy a property in Dubai. Another option to get a 10-year UAE Golden Visa is to invest in the company, share in the company, or put money in a deposit.
It depends on the type of program: investors pay from $545,000 for a 10-year Golden Visa or $204,000 for a 2-year residence visa.
The investor program’s requirements are simple: you should buy real estate or invest in a UAE company, pass a medical test and a Due Diligence check.
UAE Golden Visa gives you opportunities to do business because of its low taxes. It also gives access to the healthcare system, developing infrastructure of living and resting. And you have no necessity to stay in the country permanently.
You should fulfil the program conditions, such as investing at least AED 2,000,000, passing a medical test and Due Diligence, and applying for a visa.
If you apply for an investor Golden Visa, you should place at least AED 2,000,000 in the company, share in the company, or put it in a deposit.
You get a five-year Golden Visa if you buy a real estate property with a minimal value of AED 2,000,000 without a mortgage.