80% of the UAE's population are foreigners, whom the government considers to be the backbone of the economy. To attract residents, the UAE periodically changes its visa policy: simplifying entry regulations, introducing new categories of foreign nationals who can obtain residence permits.
On 18 April 2022, the UAE Cabinet approved new provisions for the Entry and Residence of Foreigners Act. The changes will take effect in September 2022. We tell you about the main changes to the country's visa policy.
Changes in obtaining a UAE golden visa
UAE started issuing golden visas in 2019. Residence permits are valid for 5 or 10 years and are automatically renewed. A 5-year residence permit is sometimes called a Green Card.
Residence Permit for 10 years — Golden Visa — is granted to investors and entrepreneurs, qualified professionals and talented foreigners, scientists and volunteers, outstanding students and graduates as well as first line workers such as doctors from the COVID-19 red zone. The list of categories is supplemented from time to time
Residence Permit for 5 years — Green Card — is now available to new categories of foreigners:
- investors and entrepreneurs, who carry out commercial activities in the UAE;
- qualified professionals with an employment contract from a local company, a bachelor's degree and a monthly salary of AED 15,000 or $4080;
- Freelancers with a work permit from the Ministry of Manpower and Emiratisation and an annual income of AED 360,000 or $98,000.
New rules stipulate the following changes when granting a residence permit:
- Foreign nationals with an existing golden visa may sponsor family members.
- The age of children that can be added to a residence permit application has been increased. Together with the main applicant, the golden visa can be granted to:
• unmarries sons under 25 years of age;
• unmarries daughters of any age;
• disabled children of any age and sex .
- Any number of domestic helpers : such as nannies, housekeepers, butlers can also be included in the residence permit application.
- Relatives of the main applicant may remain in the UAE after his passing away until the expiry of the visa.
- The simplified residence permit procedure is available to those who can prove their qualifications and a monthly salary of AED 30,000 or $8,150 or more.
- Investors can now buy property on credit from a bank approved by the UAE government. The minimum investment in real estate is AED 2,000,000 or about $545,000.
- Restrictions on staying in the UAE have been lifted to keep a valid golden visa.
Residents have the right to live, study and work in the country. It takes 30 years to obtains UAE citizenship by naturalisation. Faster only for investment or special merit.
What other changes the UAE has made to its visa policy
The UAE has changed the conditions for obtaining certain visas and introduced new types of visas for single and multiple entries into the country.
Tourist visa. The period of stay for a regular tourist visa has been increased to 60 days. There is also introduced a multiple entry visa for 5 years. This type of visa does not require a sponsor and allows a foreigner to stay in the UAE for up to 90 consecutive days within 180 days per year.
Visa applicants need to prove that they have $4,000 in a bank account or the equivalent in a foreign currency within the last six months before applying.
Employment permit to attract talented young people and skilled professionals. Graduates of the world's top 500 universities are also eligible for the permit.
The conditions for obtaining a permit are as follows:
- the foreigner meets the first, second or third level of qualification according to the standard of the Ministry of Manpower and Emiratisation;
- has a salary above 15 000 dirhams (or $ 4085);
- Has an education of at least Bachelor's degree level.
Temporary work visa for project assignments or probationary period. To obtain a visa, a temporary employment contract or a letter from the employer explaining the purpose of the visit and proof of good health must be provided.
Study visa for attending internships, trainings or training courses. The trip can be sponsored by:
- UAE Government;
- Universities, educational or research institutions licensed in the country;
Visa applicants must also provide a letter with details of the study or internship program.
Business visas or visas to visit relatives and friends. Now, visa applicants do not need to provide confirmation from their host or sponsor.
Alternatives for investors: Residence permit in the EU and citizenship in the Caribbean
The EU and Caribbean investment programs offer more opportunities, for example for tax optimization or travelling around the world. With a residence permit in Portugal you can visit 32 European countries without a visa, and with a Grenada passport — 144 countries.
To become a resident of the European Union or a citizen of a Caribbean country, foreigners choose one of the available investment options. The most common is the purchase of real estate.
EU and Caribbean investment programs
|Country and Status||Investments|
|Portugal Residence Permit||From €250,000|
|Malta Residence Permit||From €30,000|
|Malta Permanent Residence||From €150,000|
|Greece Residence Permit||From €250,000|
|Cyprus Permanent Residence||From €300,000|
|Austria Residence Permit|
for financially independent
|Grenada Citizenship||From $150,000|
|St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship||From $150,000|
|Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship||From $100,000|
|Dominica Citizenship||From $100,000|
|St Lucia Citizenship||From $100,000|
Malta also offers citizenship for exceptional merit. Investors obtain citizenship through naturalization on the basis of a direct investment in the economy of the country worth €690,000 or more. Investors first obtain a residence permit in Malta and after 1 or 3 years apply for citizenship.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent who helps you to obtain and EU residence permit and citizenship in the Caribbean for an investment. If you wish to obtain residence permit or a second passport, get advice from the experts at Immigrant Invest.