Individuals moving to the UAE to either live, work or study may apply for the UAE golden visa. The UAE golden visa offers a great opportunity to investors, entrepreneurs, professionals and students who want to make the UAE their home.
How can you get the UAE golden visa? What are the eligibility criteria, requirements, and application process, the costs involved and the benefits of having the UAE golden visa?
Following the saga on UAE and, in particular, Dubai matters on freelance visa, Relocate&Save will answer in this post all those questions, and many more, in relation to the UAE golden visa.
The UAE golden visa: meaning and benefits
The UAE golden visa is a long-term residence visa offered by the UEA. It enables foreigners to live, work or study in the UAE. Some of the benefits applicable to UAE golden visa holders are:
- An entry visa for six months to proceed with residence issuance.
- A long-term and renewable residence visa valid for up to 10 years to the extent visa holders continue meeting the visa requirements.
- The privilege of applying for a visa without the need of a sponsorship.
- The privilege of staying outside the UAE for more than six months without terminating the visa.
- The benefit of sponsoring family members, including spouses and children.
- The benefit of sponsoring unlimited number of domestic helpers.
- The privilege of permitting family members to stay in the UAE until the end of the permit duration, if, for instance, the primary holder of the golden visa passes away.
- Access to the UAE healthcare and education systems.
Who may apply for the UAE golden visa?
Only certain individuals falling under some categories may apply for the UAE golden visa. However, as a result of the latest changes in the UAE Residence and Entry Scheme, more individuals are eligible. The categories of eligible individuals are:
Investors in public investments
Investments in an investment fund may allow the individual to qualify for the visa to the extent any of the following is provided:
- A letter from an accredited investment fund in the UAE stating that the investor has a deposit of AED 2 million (EUR 500.000 or USD 545.000); or
- A valid commercial license or industrial license and a memorandum of association stating that the investor’s capital is higher than AED 2 million (EUR 500.000 or USD 545.000); or
- A letter from the UAE Federal Tax Authority stating an annual payment of, at least, AED 250,000 (EUR 62.500 or USD 68.000).
Please note that further evidence may be required at the time of applying for the golden visa as an investor depending on the specific circumstances.
Real estate investors
Real estate investors owning a property, or a group of properties, in the UAE may apply for the golden visa. Some of the evidence which should be prepared and provided to support the eligibility as a real estate investor are:
- Letter from the land department of the corresponding emirate supporting that the investor owns one or more properties with a value of, at least, AED 2 million (EUR 500.000 or USD 545.000); or
- Information supporting the fact of having acquired a property with a loan from a local bank.
Entrepreneurs owning an economic or business project to the extent:
- An auditor in the UAE states that the project value is, at least, AED 500,000 (EUR 125.000 or USD 136.000);
- UAE authority states that the project is of a technical or future nature; and
- An UAE accredited business incubator admits to establish the proposed project in the country.
Outstanding specialized talents
Individuals qualifying as outstanding specialized talents may apply for the UEA golden visa. These special talents are: doctors, scientists, creative people in culture and arts; inventors; executives; specialists in scientific fields; athletes; doctoral degree holders; and specialists in the fields of engineering and science.
Fields falling under the engineering and science qualifications are: epidemiology and viruses; artificial intelligence; big data; computer engineering; electronic engineering; software engineering; electrical engineering; genetics and biotechnology engineering.
Depending on the type of outstanding specialized talent, applicant should file some specific documentation, for instance:
- Doctors and scientists must provide with a letter of approval from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and a letter of recommendation from Emirates Council of Scientists or a letter from Secretariat of Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence stating that the applicant has been awarded the Medal of Scientific Excellence.
- Investors must provide with a recommendation letter from the UAE Ministry of Economy stating that investor’s patent has an added value to the country’s economy.
- Creative people in the fields of culture and art must file a letter of approval from the department of culture and arts in the UAE.
- Executive directors must file a copy of an university degree, at least bachelor level, accredited by the UAE Ministry of Education; an statement supporting an experience of, at least, 5 years holding the same executive position; a salary certificate of, at least, AED 50.000 (EUR 12.500 or USD 13.600); and a valid labor agreement.
- Athletes must provide with a recommendation letter from the UAE General Sports Authority or one of its councils.
- Specialists in engineering and science must provide with a copy of a bachelor’s or a master’s degree certified by the UAE Ministry of Education and a valid labor agreement.
The UAE differentiates two types of outstanding students: high-school students and university students. With respect to high-school student, they must obtain an average rate of at least 95% in the certificate from public or private high-schools. On the other hand, university students must get a GPA of, at lest, 3.5 and come from an university rated as either A or B by the UAE Ministry of Education.
Additionally, outstanding students from foreign universities may be also eligible for the golden visa to the extent:
- The university is rated among the best 100 universities in the world as per the UAE Ministry of Education.
- The student’s GPA is, at least, 3.5.
- There are no more than 2 years since the graduation.
- The graduation certificate must be accredited by the UAE Ministry of Education.
Individuals amongst any of the following categories may qualify as a humanitarian pioneer:
- Members and employees who have worked for international and regional organizations for, at least, five years.
- Members and employees who have worked for civil associations and institutions of public interest for, at least, five years.
- Individuals who have received an appreciation award from a local, regional or international organization that focuses on humanitarian projects.
- Funders of humanitarian organizations and projects to the extent their value do not fall below UAE 2 million (EUR 500.000 or USD 545.000).
Healthcare and any other frontline workers involved and helping in extraordinary circumstances and crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, may apply for the UAE golden visa. Frontline heroes cover a large variety of people, like doctors, nurses, medical assistant, lab technicians, pharmacologists, etc.
What are the key steps of the UAE golden visa application process?
Applying for the UAE golden visa requires following a simple process, since the application could be initiated electronically through Amer website, a Semi Government Organization. However, the following preliminary steps should be properly executed prior initiating the application process:
Step 1: Choosing the eligible category.
The individual should select the desired visa category considering his or her profile and personal circumstances.
Step 2. Collection of required documents.
As previously stated, applying under one eligible category or the other would imply having to collect and provide with specific information and supporting documentation. In addition to that, other common documentation must be provided during the application process, like a passport copy, UAE ID, photo, etc.
Step 3. Payment of fees.
The golden visa fee must be paid upfront. See specific section below on application fees.
Step 4. Cancelation of any current visa.
If applicant is holding other type of UAE visa at the time of applying for the UAE golden visa, applicant must give up and cancel it following the specific procedure before the UAE authorities. The cancelation must take place before making any filing related to the UAE golden visa application.
What are the costs of the UAE golden visa?
The cost of a new UAE golden visa in 2024 amounts to AED 2.657 (EUR 665 or USD 725), although fees may vary depending on the length of the visa.
Those costs would be increased considering the fees for a medical check, which may amount to AED 700 (EUR 175 or USD 190); UAE ID, which amounts to AED 1.153 (EUR 288 or USD 314); and UAE health insurance with a cost which varies depending on coverage, among others.
What about taxes as a UAE resident?
As already addressed by Realocate & Save in one of the previous post, available here, deciding to apply for a visa in the UAE should not be impacted by local taxes. The UAE offers a 0% personal tax. A 9% taxation may apply in certain circumstances, but that is something which could be handled before moving to the UAE.
The UAE golden visa is an unique opportunity for foreign talents who want to enjoy the benefits of living and working in one of the most dynamic and diverse countries in the world. Whether you are an investor, an entrepreneur, a scientist, a student, or a professional, you can apply for a long-term residence visa that grants you stability, flexibility and security. With the golden visa, you can sponsor your family members, stay outside the UAE for longer periods, and access world-class services and facilities. Don’t miss this chance to be part of the UAE’s golden future!
Relocate&Save has advised and helped many people moving to the UAE, assisting them with the entire golden visa application process.
Our presence and local contacts in the UAE make Relocate&Save the perfect partner to trust. If you have any questions and would like to receive tailored advice, you can write to us at [email protected] or through the contact form.