As the Expo 2020 draws closer, the UAE is forging new rules and regulations to create a more welcoming environment and boost progress for all different types of sectors. The most recent announcement of the 5-year residence visa for retirees, which was announced by the UAE Cabinet this week has built up a lot of hype with many asking how this will benefit them. Let's take a closer look at what the hype behind the new visa policies for expats upon retirement is and what will be its effect on the real estate market in the UAE.

What is the 5-year residence visa?

The new residency rules state that expatriates over the age of 55 will be granted a five-year retirement visa if they meet a set of clauses. The rules are said to go into effect in 2019 and the visa will be valid for five years, with the possibility of renewal for those retirees who wish to stay longer, should they still meet the eligibility criteria.

requirements to be eligible for the 5-year residence visa

Expatriates over the age of 55 will only be granted the five-year retirement visa if they meet any one of the following three clauses:

  1. Having properties worth at least AED 2M
  2. A minimum of AED 1M in savings
  3. An active income of more than AED 20k per month

benefits of the five-year visa for expats

For a long time, living in the UAE has been seen as a short-term plan with a goal to earn money and accumulate savings for the future. This was the most feasible plan as expats had to be sponsored by a company or family member to be in the UAE. However, the announcement of the 5-year residence visa for retirees, paired with the earlier announced 10-year visa and 100% ownership of foreign companies is shifting the dynamics for expats in the UAE. 

five-year visa for retired expats
The five-year visa for expats who will be retiring can shift the dynamics of the UAE.

These new visa rules will open the pathway for people all over the world to see the UAE as a long-term investment and also allow existing expats who have been in the UAE their entire life to stay here longer. Students and young professionals will also turn to invest in the UAE as these laws have created a favourable environment to start a business in the UAE and create a greater prospect to invest in the UAE real estate market.

Effect of the 5-year residence visa for retiring expats on the UAE real estate market

As the 5-year residence visa provides an opportunity for property owners to extend their stay with a five-year visa post-retirement, we can expect more retirees to take advantage of property investment clause than all the others, because of the ROI, financial benefits and the peace of mind that comes with owning a piece of real estate in one of the most popular countries in the world. Property investment in the UAE is also a sounder financial investment than simply having savings accumulated in a bank account.

Burj Khalifa
The new residency rules will help boost the UAE real estate market.

It is a refreshing initiative by the UAE government which will create more buyers for the property sector as the allure of the long-term residency that comes with investments in luxury properties in the UAE, is made sweeter now as expats can take out home loans with a longer tenure, instead of struggling to make higher mortgage payments over a shorter period of time. Apart from promoting older investors to buy properties in Dubai, the move will also see younger professionals and investors from across the world to invest in Dubai and also take out longer mortgages.  All these factors combined will definitely be resulting in an increase in sales and development endeavours in the UAE real estate market. 

Bayut's views on the new residency rules

Haider Ali Khan CEO of Bayut
Haider Ali Khan says that the new visa policies for retired expats will open up the market to retirees to invest in the UAE.

Commenting on the topic Bayut’s CEO Haider Ali Khan said:

The latest announcement from the UAE government is certainly a welcome step and should be applauded. The announced regulations will encourage the large expat community here to adopt a more long-term perspective and build lasting roots in the UAE, which in turn will benefit the economy at large. As far as the property market is concerned, it removes a mental barrier for those looking at life post-retirement and should generate a stronger interest in buying property over renting one. This also would open up the market to retirees from across the world and should bring in new buyers to the market. This is truly a step in making the UAE a home for all."

EXPERT VIEW ON THE new rules for retiring expats

We got in touch with a few of experts from some of the leading real estate agencies in the UAE to give us their thoughts on how the new 5-year residence visa will affect the real estate market in the UAE and here is what they had to say: 

Mr. Firas Al Msaddi, CEO of Fam Properties said: 

"When I saw the new announcement of the visa or the previous ones that took place a few months back, I notice them all rooting towards a better approach for easing the way for investors and foreign investment coming to the country. The government is doing its best to make sure the UAE stays and progresses in the real estate sector, the way they’ve planned it. Although the visa announcement does not relate to everyone in the country and will not contribute towards a change of life for everyone, the fact that these initiatives will continue to shows the government's commitment and dedication in their efforts to revive the property market."


Andrew Covill, Director at Henry Wiltshire International Said:

"The announcement that retirees will be able to apply for a five-year visa is fantastic news. I have been saying for a long time that this is a large potential market for selling properties to. Whilst we still need to see the final details, the initial overview of the requirements seem pretty attractive, especially the option to buy a property for just AED 2m. A similar scheme has worked very successfully in Malaysia. We have a number of clients who are already based here but wondering about where to locate themselves post-retirement.  The UAE is an ideal base from a geographical point of view, with easy travel for those wishing to split their retirement between different locations. 
Amongst the wealthy, the tax advantages become paramount and this could draw untold numbers of people from across the region, the subcontinent and also from Western Europe, Asia and Australia.  This comes amidst a wider set of initiatives that I believe is now restoring confidence in the property market and buyers are reappearing and taking advantage of prices that have returned to levels of between six and ten years ago, depending on the area and property type. I think the ‘two million plus’ property market is about to get busy!"

Overall, the announcement of the new residency visa rule is expected to go a long way in promoting the growth and sustainability of the UAE and is welcomed by the expat community. We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. If there are real estate queries or laws that you would like to know more about, let us know in the comments below and we will try to get the information to you. For more insights into the UAE property sector make sure you are subscribed to the best property blog in the UAE - MyBayut!


Dubai baby with an inquisitive mind and flair for design. ED enjoys playing volleyball, binging on Netflix shows and super obsessed with animals. On her day off you can find her spending time with her family or eating a lot of cake.


  1. European Expat in Saudi

    I have questions, maybe someone knows the answers…

    1-So if you are an expat in Saudi and retire or separate at 60, can you obtain a UAE expat 5-year retirement visa?
    2-Where must I park the AED1 million in savings? A UAE Bank? Or any bank elsewhere in the world?
    3-Can the AED 1 million savings be in any currency in cash, or on deposit? How about gold? Stocks and Shares? Bonds? Mutual Funds? Income generating Property investments outside of UAE?
    4-If I make the AED1 million investment to qualify, I assume I can separately buy any value property (say AED500K) to live in for the 5-years?
    5-Any health insurance requirements?
    6-Does the 5-year retirement visa allow the retired expat to open a UAE Bank account? PO Box? UAE drivers license?
    7-How long must I physically spend resident in the UAE within a calendar year? Can I leave the UAE and travel for 9 months and only spend 3 months per year in the UAE?
    8-Do you get a temporary resident card? Or a visa stamped in passport? (A card would be better, rather than large visa stamps).
    9-Can immediate family (wife and children) stay with you on the 5-year retirement visa option?
    10- Can this be applied for and processed online? Or a registered immigration agent must be used?

  2. ED

    Hello, thank you for reaching out to us. Since the Government has recently made the announcement of the 5-year retirement visa option, it’s best to wait for further clarification from them until the law comes into effect. Since things are not yet set in stone there is a possibility that the conditions of this law can evolve. However you can get in touch with the UAE Government here or give them a call on ‎+971 2 626 9999 for further any clarification.

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