By introducing this new visa system, the UAE is supporting both families and the economy. A Golden Visa for long-term residency can now be obtained by residents once they have entered the country.
8.8 million expatriates live in the UAE, making up approximately 89 percent of the total population. Previously, all residents who are not UAE or GCC nationals required sponsorship for residency, which was renewable every two or three years.
The amendments that took effect in 2019 have offered new pathways to foreign residents wishing to settle here.
In 2019, His Highness Sheikh Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the launch of the Golden Visa, which grants long-term residency for up to five or ten years to some residents, with a focus on investors, entrepreneurs, and specialized talent including medical professionals, scientists, researchers, doctors, lawyers, and artists.
Investors can apply for a Golden Visa if they meet the requirements set by the government on the type and value of their investment.
Under this category, Golden Visas are granted to investment professionals who make at least 10-million-AED public investments in the UAE, or who deposit at least 10-million-AED in a UAE investment fund.
Individuals who establish or partner with a UAE-based company with a capital of at least AED10m may also qualify, provided that 60 percent of the total investment is directed to sectors other than real estate. The investment must also last for a minimum of three years and cannot be lent.
Moreover, special talents need to have specialized accreditation in their field in order to qualify for a visa. Business partners, advisors, and spouses are also eligible for the Golden Visa.
A Golden Visa was granted by the Dubai government in 2020 to frontline responders in recognition of their efforts and sacrifices during the global pandemic, and more recently to humanitarian workers.
The main purpose of the Golden Visa is to provide security to all expatriates and investors who continuously promote and contribute to the UAE’s economic and social growth.
Moreover, the UAE Government on Sunday announced a new type of visa – the Green Visa. Also, like the Golden Visa, the Green Visa aims to attract skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs, outstanding students, and talented graduates. However, what makes it different?
First, the Green Visa will allow foreigners to sponsor both their parents and their children until the age of 25, whereas they were previously only allowed to sponsor their children until the age of 18. Furthermore, the Green Visa will not be related to work permits, and it will allow those whose visas have expired, or those who have lost their jobs, to stay in the UAE for 180 days, instead of the standard grace period of 30 days. This is considered a major incentive as most visas are tied to employment.
Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, highlighted that “the Golden Visa and the Green Visa complement one another”.
On Sunday, a new set of visa categories was announced, namely the ‘Freelancer Visa‘, which makes it easier to work as self-employed people without requiring work permits. Its aim is to attract specialists, professionals, and retirees to fundamental sectors in the near future.
UAE’s new visa system supports families and the economy at the same time. Those seeking a long-term Golden Visa can now take an integrated path from entering the country to receiving one.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum envisaged the project as part of the “Projects of the 50” campaign, which is aimed at attracting even more global talent and investment for the country’s significant economic development plans in the next 50 years.