On 20th May 2018, the UAE government announced major regulatory reforms aimed to facilitate real estate investors. Foreign investors can now legally obtain a UAE residence visa for up to 10 years by investing in villas or apartments for sale in Dubai, or any city. Furthermore, foreigners can also get 100% business ownership anywhere in the UAE. Expats living and working in the UAE for a long time are overjoyed with the announcement. Besides facilitating foreign investors with long-term visas, the new laws attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the whole. The legislature allows foreign investors to obtain up to 10 years of residence visa.
Why Do You Need a Residence Visa in the UAE?
To reside and work legally in the UAE, you must have a valid residence visa. The residency visa entitles you to enjoy additional perks, including:
• Open a bank account anywhere in the UAE
• Your children can attend schools either private or public
• You are legally able to apply for a driver’s license which is recognized internationally
• You have access to government-sponsored health care and insurance
The announcement made by the UAE government was long-awaited by the foreigners who are living and working in the country for a long time. Earlier, the majority of expats considered working in the UAE one of the several episodes during their lifetime. They lacked a sense of security and emotional ties with the United Arab Emirates.
In order to develop a sense of belonging, the UAE leaders acknowledged that retaining expats in the future would only be possible once they develop a bond with the country. Accessibility to the accumulation of knowledge and wealth for the expats would help strengthen the country’s economy. Speaking of which, expats living in the UAE have remitted 164.3bn AED (44.8bn USD) to their home countries in 2017 alone. Granting a longer-term living option to foreign residents will help retain the money within the local economy.
But, in order to obtain a 10 year UAE Residence Visa, foreigners are required to fulfill a specific eligibility requirement such as investing in real estate. Your investment will ascertain the visa type you qualify for to become a UAE resident. Below are the different types of visas offered to foreign investors:
- 10-year golden visa or long-term investor visa
- 5-year golden visa or property investor visa
- Retirement visa
10 Year Golden Visa or Long Term Investor Visa
Top-tier residence visa granted to expats. After you have invested a particular amount of money you are entitled to it. The validity period is for 10 years but don’t worry about the expiry because it gets renewed automatically. You are entitled to the visa if you fulfill any of the below requirements.
- Your investment in the UAE should be at least AED 10 million
- If you own a company, your capital should not be less than AED 10 million
- In case your company has partners, your own share in the company should not be less than AED 10 million
- In short, your investment in a business should not be less than AED 10 million, with not more than 40% in the real estate sector
Five-year golden visa
The best visa category for someone buying property in Dubai. The visa is valid for 5 years and is also automatically renewed. To be eligible for a 5-year property investment visa, the following requirement should be fulfilled:
- The property’s gross value should not be less than AED 5 million. It can be either an apartment or villas for sale in Dubai
- The amount you invest should not be in the form of a bank loan
- You should have retained the property for at least 3 years
If you meet all the above requirements, then all you need to do is submit the following to get your visa processed:
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your last visa
- Your photograph (against a white background)
- The property’s title deed
- A certificate of good conduct
- Bank statement
- DHA-approved health insurance policy
- Utility bill
This sort of visa is available to expats over the age of 55 who wish to spend the remainder of their life in the UAE. The visa validity is for 5 years and is renewable. You can apply for the visa if you meet any one of the following:
- You should have invested in a property of at least AED 2 million. If so, it will be treated as a type of investment visa
- You must have minimum savings of AED 1 million
- You should have a monthly income of at least AED 20,000
- Your property investment and savings are taken together should amount to at least AED 2 million
If you meet the above criteria, you can apply with the following:
- A copy of the passport (applicants as well as their dependents if any)
- A copy of the marriage certificate (in case the spouse is also an applicant)
- Current UAE residency visa
- Emirates ID
The announced legislative changes express a new level of openness in welcoming and accommodating foreign people and capital to the UAE. Their implementation has strengthened regional and international property and business investors` confidence in the UAE as an investment and business destination.
Moreover, the new regulations have greatly enhanced the inflow of international talent as well as investors and capital, thereby fueling growth in a number of sectors, predominantly finance, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, to name but a few. Dubai, being the region`s champion for innovation and growth, attracts a substantial part of these inflows and demand effects.