November 16, 2021
Reading Time: 4 min

UAE Grants Visas To Wealthy Pensioners

Foreigners over the age of 55 can obtain a long-term visa in the United Arab Emirates. To do so, they prove their retirement status and fulfil one of the investment conditions of the Retire in Dubai programme.

The UAE has been granting visas to wealthy pensioners since 2020. In 2021, the country’s government clarified the terms of the programme: they reduced the requirements for participants.

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Legal and Compliance Officer

Residence permit in Dubai: Resident visa for pensioners

UAE Grants Visas To Wealthy Pensioners

Visa conditions for wealthy pensioners in the UAE

Investment conditions for foreigners who wish to retire in the United Arab Emirates are described in the Retire in Dubai programme. To become a member, one of the conditions must be met:

  1. Receive a monthly retirement income of $4,100 or more.

  2. Open a bank deposit of $275,000 or more for three years.

  3. Buy one or more properties in Dubai worth $275,000 or more.

The programme also offers a combined participation option, where a foreigner buys a property worth $137,500 or more and opens a deposit for the same amount. The total investment must be at least $275,000.


the cost of obtaining a residence permit in the UAE for pensioners when buying a property or opening a deposit

The age and status of the main applicant.
Foreigners over the age of 55 can participate in the programme. The applicant must prove that he or she is retired: for example, provide a pension certificate or a certificate from the Pension Fund.

Additional applicants may only be the spouse and minor children of the applicant. The foreigner may not add parents or other family members to the application.

The visa is valid for 5 years. After the expiry date, the visa can be extended: to do so, the applicant confirms that he or she still meets the conditions of the programme.

5 years

visa validity period on the Retire in Dubai programme

Residence permit in Dubai: Resident visa for pensioners

The UAE is the country where most foreigners live. The immigration rate is 88% according to the UN

In order to obtain a visa, the applicant goes through five stages:


Selects an investment option



Fills in the application form on the programme website



Applying for the programme



Pays fees



Undergoes a medical check-up


Step 1. Choose the appropriate option: prove pension income, open a deposit in a bank or buy real estate.

Step 2: Fill in the application on the official website of the programme. Foreigner pays processing fee — $25 for each family member.

Step 3. Fill in the application on the website of the General Directorate of Residence and Alien Affairs (GDRFA) if a foreigner receives a visa through proof of income.

If a foreigner obtains a visa by purchasing real estate, he/she should visit the Dubai Land Department (DLD) office in person and leave an application form for the property.

Step 4: Pay fees of $1,000 or more per family member. The amount covers medical examination, visa status change and other administrative services.

Step 5: Undergo a medical check-up in the UAE and purchase an insurance policy for oneself and family members. The policy must cover the UAE.

Costs of obtaining a visa to the UAE for pensioners


Per person

For a family of 4: spouses and children aged 10 and 14

Purchasing a property or a bank deposit

From $275,000

From $275,000

Processing the application



Administrative fees

From $1,000

From $4,000

Insurance policy

From $400

From $1,600


From $276,426

From $280,700

What documents are needed to obtain a visa

Basic documents that a foreigner attaches to the application regardless of the option chosen:

  1. A copy of the passport of the applicant, spouse and children;

  2. A copy of the marriage certificate;

  3. Retirement certificate: A letter from the last employer stating the length of service, pension certificate or a certificate from the pension fund.

Documents that prove regular income:

  1. A certificate from the pension fund or from your previous employer if it continues to transfer pension payments. The certificate must contain the recipient’s name, date of pension payment and its amount. The minimum amount of pension in the programme is 4100 USD per month.

  2. A bank statement for the last six months. GDRFA considers only pension and social security income when reviewing documents.

Document that confirms opening a deposit: a letter from the bank in the UAE in Arabic. In the letter, the bank notifies the GDRFA that the applicant has fulfilled the terms of the program: placed an amount of $275,000 or more in a term deposit for three years.

The document that confirms the purchase of the property: the sales agreement, which specifies the value of the property, the name of the owner and the location. Under the terms of the programme, the applicant may only choose a property in the Emirate of Dubai. The property must be paid for in full — no loans or mortgages.

Pros and cons of a golden visa to the UAE for pensioners

Benefits include:

  • visa-free entry to the UAE;

  • residence in any country: moving to the UAE is a right, not an obligation;

  • access to public health services and insurance in the UAE;

  • the ability to open an account and use banking services;

  • the ability to run a business and work.

Restrictions. A long-term visa to the UAE does not allow a foreign retiree to apply for citizenship. In order to obtain a United Arab Emirates passport by naturalisation, one must have lived in the country for at least 30 years.

Investors, scientists and members of the creative professions can obtain citizenship through a simplified procedure from 2021. The authorities, however, have strict requirements for applicants, and the decision to grant citizenship is made by the government on a case-by-case basis. It is not possible to participate in two programmes at once.

Residents of the United Arab Emirates do not enjoy freedom of movement around the world. Visa-free entry to 174 countries is only possible with the acquisition of UAE citizenship.

Residence permits and citizenship for investors in the EU and the Caribbean

EU and Caribbean investment programmes offer more opportunities than a long-term visa for pensioners in the UAE. For example, with a residence permit in Portugal by investment you can travel visa-free to 32 European countries and with Grenada citizenship to 144 countries. At the same time the process of obtaining a European residence permit or Caribbean citizenship takes only 2 to 6 months.

The residence permit for financially independent persons is suitable for foreigners who do not plan to work in the country. To obtain such a residence permit, you have to prove your financial situation: in Austria — with a bank account statement, in Switzerland — by paying an annual lump sum tax of ₣ 450,000 or more.

Residence permits and Permanent residence permits in the European Union can be obtained in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Malta and Cyprus. To obtain a residence permit, foreigners choose one of the available options for investment. Most often it is the purchase or rental of real estate.

Citizenship in the Caribbean or Vanuatu is obtained by investors buying property in the country or by contributing to government funds. Citizenship enables visa-free travel to more than 130 countries, international business and the opportunity to educate children at the world’s best universities.



Владелец строительных компаний, живт в Москве

Vyacheslav retired at 60. He wanted to travel a lot and take care of his health in clinics in Germany and Austria. The businessman was looking for an option where he would not have to apply for a visa for every trip and wait for the decision of the embassies. How to travel halfway around the world with an Antigua and Barbuda passport

Immigrant Invest is a licensed investment programmes agent in European and Caribbean countries. If you want to get a residence permit or citizenship in the EU or the Caribbean, seek advice from experts in investment programmes.