Advice
April 8, 2024
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UAE Golden Visa for programmers

The UAE Digital Economy Strategy, approved by the UAE Cabinet in 2022, aims to attract 100,000 coders to the country to empower the UAE’s digital workforce. The goal of this strategy is to increase non-oil GDP from 11,7% to 20% by 2031. This is the reason why the UAE has launched the Golden Visa program for IT specialists.

In this article, we focus on the Golden Visa for IT professionals: who can receive it, what documents are needed, pros and cons of this type of visa, and a step-by-step procedure for obtaining it.

Yulia Veremeva
Yulia Veremeva

Explained how programmers can obtain UAE Golden Visa

UAE Golden Visa for IT

UAE Golden Visa for programmers

What is the Golden Visa of the UAE for IT?

“Golden Visa” is a common term for a long-term residence visa that enables foreign talents to live and develop in the UAE.

It is valid for 5 or 10 years, allowing you to stay outside the UAE for more than 6 months and keeping the visa valid. You can get this type of visa without a sponsor, and at the same time, you can be a sponsor for your family members, a spouse and children, and domestic helpers.

The main alternative to the IT Golden Visa is the investor’s Golden Visa. You can get a residency visa if you invest at least AED 750,000 in the country’s economy. The visa is valid for 2 to 10 years.

12 benefits of Golden Visa for IT professionals

There are several reasons why the UAE is so attractive for IT specialists. Let’s consider why the UAE attracts IT professionals from all over the world — and what drawbacks this type of visa has.

1. The UAE works intensively on artificial intelligence. The UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence aims to bring the country to the leading position in AI in the world and looks like a roadmap with very detailed steps to take. The first step is “To Build a reputation as an AI destination”. So, to work on such a novel technology as AI and become a part of the future is not a bad prospect for a programmer.

The UAE is considered a perfect destination for specialists under 35 to accelerate their careers and boost their income by more than half.

2. Commonly-spoken English. Although Arabic is an official language in the UAE, in the country, whose population consists of 85% expats, English has become lingua franca — a language that is used by people of different nationalities to communicate.

3. Networking for the IT community. UAE is in first place in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, so it leads by such criteria as level of business development, financial infrastructure, government business support, and ease of starting a business. There is UAE PASS for citizens and residents of UAE, which gives access to online services in the country. There are offices of Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP, Meta, Google, Guardian Wealth Management, and Telegram in the UAE.

4. Creating a “safe haven”. A Golden Visa holder and his family seize the opportunity to move to the UAE, one of the most affluent countries in the world with a GDP of 503 billion dollars.

5. No sponsors are needed. To obtain a Golden Visa, one doesn’t need sponsors, which means that the residency is not tied to one’s employer and offers stability for those who want to stay in the UAE for a long time.

6. The resident is able to be a sponsor. A Golden Visa holder can sponsor their family members, including parents, and an unlimited number of domestic members. Thus, an applicant’s extended family can also obtain permanent residency in the UAE.

7. Business-friendly government policy and tax-free salaries. The UAE’s residents pay neither income taxes nor property taxes. Up until June 2023, there was not even corporate tax in the UAE. Even though the corporate tax was issued by the UAE’s Ministry of Finance, it is still lower than in many developed countries: 9% for those corporations whose annual income is more than AED 356,000, that equals to $ 102,000.

There is one more tax benefit that attracts IT specialists and people of other professions to the Emirates: the country has signed a double tax avoidance agreement with 142 states by June 2023 and is still negotiating about signing this agreement with more countries.

8. Opening a bank account. This bank account may be opened in any currency and is suitable for savings and international transactions.

9. Access to education and healthcare. The UAE is one of the most popular medical tourism destinations. Residency visa holders buy health insurance, which provides access to medical treatment in public and private clinics in the country. In the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, the UAE occupies 19th place. What’s more, the Emirates have done the best job to avoid COVID‑19 fatalities during the Pandemic.

Resident’s children can attend kindergartens, schools, and universities in the UAE. There are 11 UAE universities in the QS ratings. 3 of them are in Top‑500.

10. Esaad Privilege Card. If you have obtained a Golden Visa for 5 or 10 years, you will become a participant in a special program that provides exclusive bonuses and discounts up to 70% in shops, clinics, service companies, and other sectors. Exclusive offers are available at 7,237 brands in 92 countries.

11. A driver’s licence. To drive a car in the UAE, a resident has to take an exam, but for the citizens of some countries, driving licences are convertible. 5 GCC countries, 34 European countries, the USA and Canada, and some countries of Asia, Africa, and Oceania are among them.

12. An opportunity to get UAE citizenship. It is a well-known fact that it is difficult to obtain UAE citizenship. However, it is possible. Firstly, residents may apply for citizenship by naturalisation after living in the country for 30 years. Secondly, it is possible to be granted citizenship for exceptional services.

The UAE passport allows you to visit 176 countries visa-free, including the Schengen states, the UK, and Canada.

Disadvantages of Golden visa for IT specialists

Even though the benefits of the Golden visa outweigh the drawbacks, there are still two of them.

1. No freedom to travel. In contrast with the Golden Visa by investment, which gives its holder and his family freedom to come and leave the country any time they want to, the Golden Visa for IT specialists will be automatically nullified if its holder lives outside the UAE for more than 180 days.

2. The application is quite costly. The cost for an applicant for a Golden Visa for IT is about AED 4000 per capita, which is approximately $1,000. However, you have to pay this fee just once for ten years of permanent residence, which makes it not so expensive. Still, to this sum, one has to add up the price of a medical checkup, health insurance, and document translation, which will be around $1,500.

Which types of IT professionals can apply for the UAE Golden Visa?

Specialists in the following fields are eligible to apply for the IT Golden Visa in the UAE:

  • artificial intelligence;

  • big data;

  • computer engineering;

  • electronic engineering;

  • software engineering;

  • electrical engineering;

  • genetics and biotechnology engineering.

When you apply for this type of visa, you need to prove your degree — a Bachelor’s or Master’s one. There are different situations in different countries, but from 20% to 66% of professional programmers have no suitable college degree. There are also cases when people don’t want to be dependent on their employer.

If that is your case, you can use an alternative route and get a residency through the Investors Golden Visa.

Documents and fees needed for IT Golden Visa Application

If you apply for the Golden Visa as an IT specialist, you need to provide a copy of a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree certified by the Ministry of Education and a work contract.

The full list of documents for a coder visa in the UAE:

  • a copy of passport;

  • work contract valid in the country;

  • a salary certificate with a monthly salary not less than AED 30,000;

  • a licence to practise the profession, for professions that require this;

  • a certificate of educational attainment, not less than a bachelor’s degree;

  • a bank account statement showing bank salary transfers for the last 6 months.

The applicant for a Golden Visa also has to pay the following fees:

  • residence permit fee — AED 1,100;

  • knowledge dirham — AED 10;

  • innovation dirham — AED 10;

  • fees inside the country — AED 500;

  • delivery — AED 20.

Individual cost calculation of the UAE Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of the UAE Golden Visa

Step-by-step procedure of obtaining UAE IT Golden Visa

Firstly, the applicant must choose an emirate to apply for the golden residency. The application processes are different in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Dubai. There are several options to apply for the Golden Visa in Dubai: through digital channels, visiting the Customer Happiness Center, and in Amer Service Center.

If you prefer to apply at a Customer Happiness Service or Amer Service Center, you have to go to the nearest one, submit the application that fulfils all conditions and documents to the customer service employee, and pay fees.

Abu Dhabi. To apply for a Golden Visa in Abu Dhabi, you have to already be in the country after entering the UAE on an Entry or a Tourist Visa. There are 69 countries whose citizens don’t need to apply for an Entry or Tourist Visa before arriving and can get a visa on arrival.

In Abu Dhabi, before applying for a Golden Visa, you have to submit the request for Golden Visa nomination through the digital channel. It will take up to 7 days. The nomination request for the Golden Residence in Abu Dhabi is free of charge.

After approval, you will be guided to finalise your application with the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP).

To get the Golden Visa permit in Abu Dhabi as a talent for digital technology, you need a recommendation from the Emirates Council for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transactions or a local Competent Authority. To meet the requirements for skilled professionals, you have to hold a role classified by The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation at a level not lower than 2. The rest of the requirements are the same as those in Dubai.

If a person cannot fulfil the listed requirements, there is an alternative route to becoming a UAE resident and joining the IT-community there — the UAE Golden Visa by investment.

How to obtain a UAE Golden Visa by investment in real estate

Immigrant Invest develops individual solutions to remove visa restrictions for our clients and specialises in arranging residence permits by investment. If, for some reason, the Golden Visa for IT specialists is not suitable for you, the UAE Golden Visa for investment can be an option .

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Immigrant Invest conducts a preliminary check to prepare for the program’s Primary Due Diligence.

This check lets us find possible obstacles to obtaining the visa and minimise the chances of refusal.

The check is confidential. The investor’s documents are verified by a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Officer who is aware of the peculiarities of the Due Diligence conducted in the UAE.

2

5–7 weeks

Document preparation and getting a 6-month visa

The Immigrant Invest lawyers give you a list of documents for an application. Then you submit the original documents, which the lawyers translate, notarise, and conduct consular legalisation.

To have the opportunity to see the property to buy in person, pass a medical checkup, and apply for a Golden Visa in the UAE, you’ll receive a 6-month visa.

3

5–7 weeks simultaneously with the documents preparation

Property purchase

Immigrant Invest’s real estate professionals will offer you some options suitable for your goals and wishes. The lawyers will help to conclude the purchase and sale agreements and register ownership.

Buying property remotely without visiting the UAE is also available.

4

1–5 days

Medical checkup

The investor and their family members over 18 years old have a medical checkup in the UAE clinic. They are examined for dangerous infectious diseases and go for a chest X-ray to obtain a certificate of health status.

5

Up to 30 days

Due Diligence and getting the UAE residence visa

The investors and their family members enter the UAE to apply for the visa and to give biometrics to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

The application consideration usually takes five to seven days. If additional questions arise, the investor and their lawyers have 30 days to reply.

After the application’s approval, the investor and their family get visas.

UAE Golden visa for IT: key takeaways

  1. The UAE is a proper destination for IT specialists who want to boost their income and accelerate their careers.

  2. There is a specific list of specialists eligible to apply for an IT Golden visa. You have to present your bachelor’s or master’s degree in a suitable field to be considered.

  3. To maintain your Golden visa, you have to spend no less than 180 days a year in the UAE.

  4. Golden Visa for IT specialists is not the only option to obtain a residence permit in the UAE. The alternative to the Golden Visa for IT is the Golden Visa by Investment.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain the UAE Golden Visa?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain the UAE Golden Visa?

Frequently asked questions

  • What is Dubai Golden Visa for IT professionals?

    Dubai Golden Visa for IT professionals, or the UAE’s Golden Visa, is a long-term residence visa that enables IT specialists to live and work in the country.

  • Can software engineers get a Golden Visa in the UAE?

    Yes, they can. Software engineer is on the list of specialties that are included in the list appropriate for application for the UAE Golden Visa.

  • How do I apply for the UAE Golden Visa for IT professionals?

    You have to decide which emirate you want to live and work in. If you apply for a Dubai Golden Visa, you can apply for it online via the digital service of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). Also, you can apply for a Golden Visa in person by visiting a Customer Happiness Centre or Amer Service Centre.

    If you apply for a Golden Visa in Abu Dhabi, you have to submit the request for Golden Visa nomination through the digital channel first, and then you will be guided to finalise your application with the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP).

  • Is the UAE Golden Visa worth it?

    The UAE Golden Visa has certain advantages, such as creating a “safe haven”, the privilege of not having a sponsor, the possibility of being a sponsor for your family members and domestic helpers, and a lot more. However, the process of applying can be quite costly and time-consuming.

  • How much salary is eligible for the Golden Visa in the UAE?

    To apply for a Golden Visa in the UAE, the applicant must provide a salary certificate with a monthly salary not less than AED 30,000, which equals roughly $8,000.