The UAE long term visa, more commonly known as the UAE golden visa has been one of the most trending topics in the country since its announcement.
The new visa rules in the UAE allow investors and people from specific occupations to apply for a ’10 year long term UAE residency visa’ or a ‘5 year long-term residency visa’. Also, companies based outside free zones can now be fully foreign-owned. These facts have proven to be welcome surprises for many who live and do business in the UAE, and the ones thinking of relocating to the country.
UAE GRANTS 10-YEAR VISA TO SPECIFIC PROFESSIONS
A recent announcement by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, revealed that the UAE government will grant a 10-year residence visa to the following groups of people:
- The PhD holders in the UAE
- Graduates with a 3.8+ GPA from UAE-accredited universities
- UAE-based doctors and physicians
- UAE-based biotechnology, computer science, programming, electronics and electricity engineers
- Specialists in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, epidemiology and virology
- Top graduates from UAE’s high school and their families
UAE LONG TERM VISA: WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE 5 AND 10 YEAR UAE VISA?
As per the announcements by the UAE cabinet on May 1, 2019, there are five categories who qualify for the golden visa in the UAE.
The General Identity Directorate in Khalifa City of Abu Dhabi, Major-General Saeed Rakan Al Rashedi, Director-General for Foreigners Affairs and Ports, said that the UAE long term visa or the golden residence permit would be granted to investors, real estate investors, entrepreneurs, talented people like doctors, researchers, innovators and outstanding students.
A great example of this can be seen in the Dubai government’s unprecedented homage to the front-line doctors fighting the coronavirus outbreak in the emirate. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai granted the 10-year golden residency visa to more than 200 DHA doctors for their, “selfless dedication to caring for infected patients.”
Sheikh Mohammed lauded the efforts of healthcare administrative, medical and nursing staff working across the country, saying their contributions have been significant to limiting the outbreak of coronavirus and providing top quality care to patients.
A total of 212 doctors with varied specialisations will receive golden visas in Dubai for their relentless contributions to the cause.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR THE UAE 10-YEAR VISA?
Here are all people eligible for the 10 year golden visa in the UAE:
1. 10-YEAR UAE VISA FOR GENERAL INVESTORS
The UAE 10 year gold visa requirements for general investors are subject to the following conditions:
- Public investments either through deposits or via a company amounting to no less than AED 10M
- Out of this total investment, more than 60% has to be in non-real estate assets
- The investor should hold full ownership of these assets. Anything under a loan or mortgage cannot be taken into consideration. In the case of loaned/ mortgaged assets, he/she can prove that they reserve the rights of investments for three years as a minimum.
- The asset should not be embroiled in any claims or financial disputes
These general investors are eligible for a 10-year UAE residency visa, that can be renewed. Visa for dependents is also valid for 10 years. If your primary asset is a business, you can have partners, provided they too have invested AED 10M each. You can also get a 10-year UAE golden visa for the executive director and one advisor. Similar to other residency visas in the UAE, you cannot be out of the country for more than a duration of 6 months.
2. PERSONS WITH SPECIALISED TALENTS ELIGIBLE FOR 10-YEAR UAE GOLD VISA
According to the 10 year visa UAE requirements for this category, the applicant needs a valid work contract that specifies their role in the prioritised fields. The term “specialised talents” includes doctors, researchers, specialists, scientists, and inventors.
While this category of the UAE golden residence permit programme extends to the individual’s spouse and children, the visa will only be granted subject to the accreditation, patents, publication and degree requirements in relevant fields.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR THE 5 YEAR UAE RESIDENCY VISA?
Here is a list of categories eligible for the 5 year UAE visa
3. REAL ESTATE INVESTORS GET A 5-YEAR UAE RESIDENCY VISA
While most conditions for real estate investors looking for long-term residency visas in the UAE are similar to those of general investors, the minimum value of the property investment, in this case, needs to be AED 5M. These visas are valid for a period of 5 years for the primary applicant and their dependents, executive directors and advisor.
4. 5-YEAR GOLD RESIDENCY VISA IN THE UAE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
The rules of eligibility for long term visas in the UAE are slightly different for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs should own a project worth at least AED 500k and have accreditation certificates from the government to apply for the 5-year UAE visa.
The benefits of a long-term residency visa for entrepreneurs include
- Five-year visa. This can be upgraded to investors visa
- Five-year visa for dependents
- Six-month validity entry visa with permits for multiple travels, which can be extended by 6 months
- Five-year visa for three executive directors.
Entrepreneurs concerned with the validity for their residence visa can submit the UAE visa status enquiry in Dubai.
THE GOLDEN BUSINESS VISA IN THE UAE
The Business Gold Visa offers permanent residency to the non-national and non-resident entrepreneurs who wish to set up business operations in the UAE. This permanent residency is contingent on the applicant’s continued adherence to the terms and conditions on every visa renewal cycle (5 years).
Entrepreneurs across the globe can apply for the UAE Business Golden Visa given they have set up their own business at least once in their life. To obtain a UAE Gold Business Visa, the eligible entrepreneur has to:
- Authenticate their entrepreneurial experience
- Hold/have held the majority shares in a startup and/or a senior leadership position in it
- Be willing to legally set up a business and relocate to UAE
- Have a business plan or ideas for their entrepreneurial venture in the UAE
5. 5-YEAR UAE RESIDENCY VISA FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENTS
Students with a minimum of 95 per cent in secondary school with a distinction of 3.75 GPA upon graduation from any university are eligible for this extended visa.
As per this announcement, all applicants who are eligible for a long-term UAE residency visa, including outstanding students, will also be allowed to sponsor their families (spouse and children).
COST OF THE UAE GOLDEN VISA
The prices for the UAE golden visa for 5 and 10 years is considered to be quite affordable. The charges for the new UAE long term visa are explained below.
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES FOR THE 5 YEAR UAE GOLDEN VISA?
The cost of five-year visas is AED 650. This includes AED 150 for application and AED 500 for issuance.
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES FOR THE 10 YEAR UAE GOLDEN VISA?
The total cost for the Dubai 10 year visa is AED 1,150. This includes AED 150 for application cost and AED 1000 for issuance.
WHAT WILL THE GOLD CARD VISA IN THE UAE AND SUBSEQUENT CHANGES TO COMPANY OWNERSHIP LAWS MEAN FOR THE COUNTRY?
With these monumental changes in visa and company ownership laws in the country, it is important to observe what changes will occur in the property market.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE UAE MAY SHIFT
The 10 and/or 5-year golden residence permit would make an enormous difference to the perception that UAE is a short-term option for expats. The population, in general, may start to seem far less transient. As a result, interest in learning the local language and assimilation into the UAE culture may increase further.
EVEN MORE ENTREPRENEURS AND INNOVATORS WILL ARRIVE
Bayut CEO Haider Ali Khan welcomed the new UAE visas as an opportunity to attract even more talent from around the world. He said: “I think in the long term, the changes to the visa rules are going to help make Dubai and the UAE a hub for technical excellence. The way to build that excellence is by attracting the best talent available from around the world, and also having a good ecosystem in place to support that talent. These are the people who are going to innovate new enterprises, which in turn will go on to contribute to the economy and create more jobs. They can look towards building a long-term career in the UAE and adding value to society.”
Dubai is often referred to as ‘the city of the future’, and it has been suggested that it will be the world’s most innovative city in the next 10 years thanks to its major innovation projects. The new UAE golden residency visas will be offered to specialists working in medicine, science, research and technical fields, including, doctors and engineers. This is a pool of people who have much of the expertise needed to solve the major problems of the world. The opportunity for foreign investors to own 100% of the companies formed in the UAE outside of the free zone is also likely to attract more entrepreneurs and innovators.
THE UAE COULD BECOME A GLOBAL HUB FOR SCIENCE
You probably know that the UAE has its own Mars mission, a remarkable feat for a country of its size, and is also a leader in sustainable development initiatives.
The new visas could offer a greater sense of security to scientists, allowing them to develop long-term careers in the UAE, rather than staying for a short period and then taking their expertise elsewhere.
PERCEPTIONS OF THE REGION MAY SHIFT
We may look back on this moment in time as a pivotal shift in worldwide perceptions of our region. Depending on the success or the economic contribution that is made by these new rules, we may see other countries follow suit. The sense of permanency for foreigners through the gold card visa in the UAE has huge impact potential, including greater assimilation.
INTEREST IN UAE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP COULD INCREASE
While the new UAE long term visa won’t apply to all of us, they will certainly give a large number of expats a greater feeling of permanence in their adopted country. This will provide even more reason to opt for the long-term security of owning property in the UAE as opposed to renting. Our panel of UAE real estate experts agree with us on this, and you can read their detailed insights below. But, let’s not forget the commercial property sector. We could see the focus shifting towards business owners buying offices in the UAE, as well as other commercial premises, rather than renting, as they consider a longer-term future thanks to the new UAE visa laws.
AGENT VIEWS: INPUT FROM INDUSTRY EXPERTS
We asked three industry experts for their opinions on what the law changes regarding UAE visas and UAE company ownership will mean for the property market and the UAE in general.
PAUL KELLY, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, ALLSOPP & ALLSOPP
“I think that the UAE golden visa will undoubtedly generate more interest in property sales in the UAE, it’s really good for the market. If someone is on a 10-year visa or even a 5-year visa, it brings around a completely different mindset and approach to life in Dubai. There is more permanency to your situation, which in turns makes you think more long term about your time in Dubai. A part of this is purchasing a property. If you’re going to be anywhere in the world for a good few years, then it makes sense to purchase a property and invest in yourself and your future.”
There is a lot of talk and confidence injected into the market on the back of the announcement. What is going to happen is that there is going to be a lot more investment in Dubai and a lot more people encouraged to set up business here. This, in turn, will create jobs, population growth and more demand for property, both on the rental and the buying side.
I do agree that the new visa rules will encourage people to stay for longer and that this will have an effect on the property market. If I can give an example of my Aunty and Uncle, who moved to Australia from the UK in the 1980s. Within a year of being there, they felt that their long-term future lay in Australia – they bought a house and they are still there now. In that time, they have owned businesses and purchased numerous properties. Now, had they been on a two-year visa and been uncertain what there future held or how long they would have been able to stay in Australia, they may not have gone down the same path and they could have been back in the UK for the last 30 years, owning businesses there and investing in UK real estate.
MARIO VOLPI, UAE PROPERTY EXPERT
“This change of Federal policy will have the desired effect of bringing more stability to the current and new residents of the UAE. This improved sentiment will bring about a positive effect and will go a long way in getting residents to put down roots, resulting in an overall increase in homeownership for a lot of UAE residents.
The new ruling could be a game-changer as people in the future will see the UAE as their home, rather than just a temporary place to live and work. More people will look at their housing arrangements, and it is clear to me that the golden UAE visas will attract regular renters to invest and become homeowners. This particular market is huge, and if this market can be tapped, it will give a welcome impetus to the property market in general.
Having the ability to own 100% of one’s company in the UAE is a massive draw for business owners. Not having to pay for sponsor’s fees or giving some of the profits away will definitely attract more businesses.”
We believe that these new laws will be game changers in the UAE property market.
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