The UAE Golden Visa: the closest thing to permanent residence?
In 2019, the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai introduced a long-term residence program in the form of the Golden Visa. This provides eligible individuals and their families with long-term residence permits of 5 or 10 years, with the option for renewal of the visa at expiry of the initial term.
The Golden Visa is available to various categories of individuals identified by Abu Dhabi and Dubai as having the potential to bring significant skill, wealth of expertise to the regions, including:
- Real estate investors who purchase property in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai with a minimum value of AED 2 million.
- Investment in Business: entrepreneurs who establish a business in the UAE, with a minimum capital investment of (typically) AED 500,000.
- Investment in Financial Assets: investors who deposit a minimum amount of AED 2 million in a business or investment fund within the UAE.
- Specialists in Science, Medicine, and Research: professionals in the fields of science, medicine, and research, who can demonstrate significant achievements, contributions, or expertise recognized internationally.
- Those with exceptional creative talent in the fields of the arts and culture.
- Executive Directors with a bachelor’s degree; minimum of five years’ experience in their role; and a salary of at least AED 30,000 per month.
- Pioneers of humanitarian work, including funders of humanitarian efforts in an amount not less than AED 2 million.
For qualifying individuals, the process of obtaining a Golden Visa once already present (and, ideally, resident) in the UAE is relatively straightforward. Even for those who may not strictly fall neatly into one of the categories, those whom the UAE see as ‘attractive’ to the region may well find themselves on a path to long-term Golden residence.
It is important to note that while most visas issued in any of the seven emirates allow individuals to live anywhere in the UAE (including outside of the emirate from which their visa was issued), currently only Abu Dhabi and Dubai issue Golden Visas. Nonetheless, this does not preclude Golden Visa holders from residing in one of the other emirates should they so wish.
A considerable benefit of the Golden Visa is that the holder can be absent from the UAE for as long a period as they wish; whereas with other types of visa, they are ordinarily automatically cancelled if the holder is absent from the UAE for a continuous period of six months. Golden Visa holders may also sponsor their spouse, children, certain company executives and helpers (such as maids and nannies), subject to meeting certain criteria.
How Sanctoras can help
We have helped a number of clients obtain their Dubai Golden Visa, providing security and long-term stability for them and their families. Although neither ‘permanent residence’ nor UAE citizenship are currently available to most people, the Golden Visa goes some way to address this.
For a discussion about your circumstances, an assessment of whether you are likely to qualify for a Golden Visa, or to begin the application process, please get in touch with Joey Morling in our Dubai team.