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Case Studies 2023

UAE Golden Visa: how a British entrepreneur moved from Estonia to the Emirates and optimised taxes

In Estonia, I started to feel bored. My company brought a stable income that was enough to live and save. But I saw no prospects for the development or optimising taxes.

In Dubai, it’s different. I can pay virtually no taxes here. At first, it sounded like nonsense to me, but it was a reality. And here are many opportunities to find a collaboration that will result in something brand-new, something huge — I’m excited about it.

Dylan
Entrepreneur, IT company owner
Client's name and photo have been changed
UAE Golden Visa for tax optimisation

Why Dylan decided to move to the UAE

Dylan is a UK citizen living in Estonia. He has an IT services business. When Dylan noticed his company’s development stagnated, he realised he needed a change. 

After looking for solutions, the entrepreneur decided to relocate, especially since nothing bound him to Estonia any more. He had divorced his Estonian wife and had fewer rights and freedoms in the country after Brexit. 

The businessman did not want to get back to Britain. First, he would have to pay income tax at a higher rate there. Next, the UK was experiencing an energy crisis and was not the best destination for transferring an IT company, in Dylan’s opinion.

Dylan wanted to get a residence permit in a country with a fast-growing economy, vast opportunities for business expansion and tax incentives. And his choice fell on the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is recognised as the most supportive environment for entrepreneurship: the country is ranked 1st in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Index. The Emirates has multiple free economic zones with special tax regimes for companies, where VAT and taxes on profit, export and import are not levied. Moreover, there is no personal income tax in the country or taxes on capital gains, property ownership, gifts and inheritance. 

The entrepreneur counted that the relocation to Dubai, a thriving cosmopolitan business hub, would lead to the following:

  • he would significantly reduce his tax burden, both personal and corporate;
  • find more customers and partners;
  • and take the business to a new level: if everything was as planned, his company might go public.

Dylan did not plan to renew his Estonian residence permit valid until March 2023. He made up his mind to move at the end of November 2022, so he needed to obtain UAE residency within 3 months. With this goal in mind, Dylan contacted Immigrant Invest.

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Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is the UAE’s largest free economic zone. It serves as a commodities exchange that deals in four main sectors: precious commodities like gold and diamonds, energy, steel and metals and agricultural commodities

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Dubai Knowledge Park is a free zone aimed at talent development for private companies. It is home to human resource management, recruitment, consultancy, executive search, vocational training and professional development companies

Choosing real estate in the Emirates — for living and investing

As Dylan was short in time, we offered him the most straightforward and least time-consuming way of getting a UAE residence permit — real estate investment. By purchasing a property, investors can obtain residency for 2 or 10 years, depending on the real estate value.

Dylan wished to apply for a 10-year permit. For that, he needed to buy a residential property in one of the free economic zones in the Emirates for AED 2,000,000 ($545,000). The investment real estate may be completed or under construction.

As the entrepreneur planned to move, he decided to invest in such a property he could live in. The property under construction or in the design stage was unsuitable in Dylan’s situation. Considering this, our real estate experts selected several options for the investor.

Dylan opted for a two-bedroom apartment for $600,000 in a residential complex in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. He thought this zone would best suit for transferring his company to and intended to rent an office nearby the apartment.

Upon the purchase, Dylan paid another $24,000 as a 4% fee to register ownership.

UAE Golden Visa by real estate investment

Apartments in a complex with a swimming pool, gym, spa, health club, gardens, restaurants and shops. The complex is 12 km from the ocean and 25 km from the airport

UAE Golden Visa by real estate investment

Apartments in a complex with a swimming pool, gym, spa, health club, gardens, restaurants and shops. The complex is 12 km from the ocean and 25 km from the airport

UAE Golden Visa by real estate investment

Apartments in a complex with a swimming pool, gym, spa, health club, gardens, restaurants and shops. The complex is 12 km from the ocean and 25 km from the airport

How the investor obtained a UAE Golden Visa by spending $626,600 and 2 months

Dylan spent $624,000 on investing in property, and another $2,600 were additional expenses on state fees, a medical checkup, insurance and preparation of documents.

PT2M
December 10th, 2022
Preliminary Due Diligence
Preliminary Due Diligence

We conducted an internal check on Dylan and his business to ensure he was eligible for the UAE Golden Visa.

+ 6 weeks
Preparation of documents and purchase of the real estate
Preparation of documents and purchase of the real estate

Dylan provided the required documents for the lawyers to translate and notarise them. In parallel with document preparation, Dylan selected real estate and purchased it. The investor also took out an insurance policy and paid the state fees. Then he obtained a 6-month entry permit to the UAE so he could come to the country to apply for a Golden Visa.

+ 7 days
Medical checkup
Medical checkup

Dylan came to the Emirates to undergo a medical checkup and pass fluorography. He got a certificate of health status showing he had no dangerous infectious diseases.

+ 7 days
Main Due Diligence
Main Due Diligence

Accompanied by the Immigrant Invest lawyer, the investor went to the General Directory of Residency and Foreign Affairs and submitted a visa application in person. Dylan also provided his biometrics.

The authority considered the application for a week and issued the approval.

February 15th, 2023
Receiving the visa
Receiving the visa

Dylan received his UAE Golden Visa and the right to live in the country on time — two weeks before his Estonian residence permit expired.

How Dylan’s life has changed after relocation to Dubai

Dylan has moved from Estonia to the UAE with his cat. He is now collecting documents for registering his company in Dubai. The investor has tremendous plans on how to develop his business in the Emirates and internationally.

Half a year after relocation, Dylan will become a UAE tax resident. He will obtain a Taxation Residence Certificate to send to Estonia and stop paying income tax.

How Dylan’s tax burden will reduce:

  • 20% income tax in Estonia → 0% income tax in the UAE.
  • 20% VAT in Estonia → Exempt from VAT in the UAE free economic zone.
  • 20% corporate tax on the profit distribution → Exempt from tax on the company’s profit.

In 10 years, Dylan’s UAE Golden Visa will expire, but he is allowed to renew it as long as he owns the investment property.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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Let’s discuss the details

Schedule a meeting at one of the offices or online. A lawyer will analyze the situation, calculate the cost and help you find a solution based on your goals.

Evgeniya Morozova, head of the Legal
Department
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