Are you seeking a land of shimmering innovation, unrivaled luxury, and a vision that knows no limits? Look no further than the United Arab Emirates. In the heart of this dynamic Middle Eastern nation lies a captivating investment immigration program for foreign investors, known as the Golden Visa UAE. The UAE Golden Visa is a true game-changer for foreign nationals seeking a life of boundless possibilities in world-renowned cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Golden Visa UAE was introduced to attract a diverse range of people, from successful entrepreneurs and real estate investors to award-winning scientists and talented executives.
This exclusive immigration program opens doors to individuals ready to build their reputation and net worth further, granting them the privilege of long-term residency and a gateway to unparalleled potential as UAE residents.
This article will explore every facet of the Golden Visa UAE program. We’ll break down the advantages of obtaining a UAE residence permit, and you’ll discover how this immigration initiative is rewriting global mobility rules and transforming successful applicants’ lives. We’ll also provide a comprehensive guideline to the eligibility requirements, such as the minimum monthly salary or investment, the required accredited graduation certificate or background, and any other requirements to be eligible for the immigration program.
From the vibrant streets of Dubai to the cultural oasis of Abu Dhabi and beyond, the UAE offers a tapestry of experiences that reach far beyond financial rewards. Keep reading as we uncover the path toward long-term residency in the UAE.
The Benefits of a UAE Long-term Residence Visa
1. Life in the UAE
UAE Golden Visas provide a safe haven for Golden Visa holders and their family members. UAE’s golden residency offers life in one of the wealthiest and most developed countries worldwide, ranked 24th out of 197 countries on our Global Passport Index, considering factors like investment prospects and quality of life.
The UAE government has successfully merged strict Islamic values with Western culture and freedoms, resulting in a welcoming and liberated environment that sets it apart as one of the most comfortable places to live in the Middle East.
2. No residency requirements
Unlike most Golden Visas, residing in the UAE to maintain residence permits is optional. Successful UAE Golden Visa applicants who possess a residence permit are typically only required to visit the UAE once or twice a year to maintain the validity of their status. This allows Golden Visa holders to maintain residence visas in other countries while simultaneously holding valid UAE residence visas.
3. Tax optimization
With no personal income tax, capital gains tax, wealth tax, or inheritance tax, UAE Golden Visa holders can maximize their income and wealth retention. The absence of corporate tax encourages business growth and attracts international companies, real estate investments, and individuals with proven scientific excellence. The UAE has also established double taxation treaties with many countries, like Portugal, Canada, Spain, and the UK, preventing individuals and businesses from being taxed twice on the same income.
It should be noted that the UAE tax authority introduced a corporate tax as of 1 June 2023. The corporate tax rate is nine percent of profits exceeding AED 375,000 (about $102,000). This further establishes the UAE as a favorable tax environment for businesses, with a lower corporate tax rate than many Western nations.
4. Banking in the UAE
UAE Golden Visa holders have access to the UAE’s banking sector, known for its stability and comprehensive regulatory framework. The Central Bank of the UAE ensures strict oversight and risk management, instilling confidence in customers and protecting their assets. The UAE has gained a strong reputation as a center for wealth management and private banking services. Banks in the UAE cater to various clientele, providing tailored services, including investment advisory, asset protection, and estate planning.
5. Obtaining a driver’s license
While the UAE requires foreign nationals to obtain a UAE driver’s license to drive a car there, usually involving several administrative procedures, passing an eye test and drivers exam, UAE’s Golden Visa holders from countries like the US, Germany, the UK, Australia, Spain, and Turkey, have the option to convert their license to a UAE license without the necessity of undertaking additional exams.
6. Access to UAE healthcare
Holders of UAE residency permits have access to one of the world’s most advanced and no-expense-spared healthcare systems. The United Arab Emirates healthcare system provides numerous benefits, such as:
- Advanced healthcare facilities: Healthcare facilities in the UAE are equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology. The hospitals and clinics in the UAE maintain high standards of healthcare services, ensuring quality medical care.
- Distinguished healthcare professionals: The UAE attracts accomplished and knowledgeable medical practitioners from across the globe. The UAE’s physicians, specialists, and healthcare personnel boast exceptional training and expertise in their specific domains, ensuring top-notch medical care across a wide range of disciplines.
- Emphasis on health and wellness: The UAE prioritizes promoting health and well-being within its population. The government takes proactive measures to support initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness of preventive healthcare, foster healthy lifestyles, and prevent disease.
7. UAE educational systems
The UAE is recognized for its well-developed and highly respected education system, contributing to its reputation as a hub for quality education. Several factors contribute to its excellence; The UAE has invested significantly in educational infrastructure, ensuring state-of-the-art facilities and resources for its students; The presence of renowned international schools and universities offering diverse curricula enables exceptional talents and students to thrive by providing access to a world-class education.
The UAE Ministry of Education strongly emphasizes fostering a multicultural learning environment, promoting tolerance and understanding among students. Furthermore, the focus on technology integration, STEM education, and research further enhances the country’s education quality. Additionally, the availability of scholarships and financial support programs ensures that education is accessible to a broader range of students.
These combined efforts have established the UAE as a destination for top-quality education, empowering learners, from high school and university students to doctoral degree holders, with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their academic and professional pursuits.
8. Visas for the whole family
The family members of UAE Golden Visa holders have the right to obtain residence visas in the UAE and enjoy the same benefits as the primary applicant. It is possible to sponsor immediate family members and domestic helpers for a long-term residence visa. Parents of the principal applicant are also eligible to obtain a one-year residency visa. Children of residence visa holders can attend some of the UAE’s top international schools and universities, like Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, and Dunecrest American School.
If the primary holder of the Golden Visa passes away, their family members maintain the right to continue residence in the UAE until the Golden Visa expires.
9. An Esaad Privilege Card
Eligible to long-term residency visa holders, the Esaad Privilege Card offers numerous benefits to individuals living in the UAE, enhancing their lifestyle and providing exclusive privileges not available to tourists and short-term visitors. First and foremost, the card grants access to various discounts and offers across multiple sectors, including dining, shopping, entertainment, and travel, and vital components of everyday life, like family and health services, real estate, and automotive.
Cardholders can enjoy special deals and savings at partner establishments, allowing them to make the most of their financial resources. The Esaad Privilege Card also provides unique experiences and opportunities through its loyalty program, granting access to exclusive events, promotions, and personalized services. Additionally, the card offers added convenience, with features such as fast-track services at airports, priority access to facilities, and dedicated customer support.
Overall, the Esaad Privilege Card enhances the lives of UAE Golden Visa holders, providing them with a host of benefits and perks that elevate their experiences while living in the UAE.
10. The opportunity to obtain UAE citizenship
In general, acquiring UAE citizenship by naturalization and a UAE passport often requires a substantial residency period, typically around 30 years with a valid residency visa, among other requirements.
However, The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreigners Affairs has approved amendments in the Executive Regulation of the Federal Law governing UAE Nationality and Passports, allowing certain eligible holders of a Golden Visa UAE to obtain Emirati nationality by naturalization.
Eligible nominees include an investor who owns property in the UAE, a doctor or professional specialized in a scientific discipline, a scientist with an accredited academic record, innovators with an approved patent, and international award-winning intellectuals and creatives in art and culture.
The granting of citizenship to UAE Golden Visa holders is contingent upon the fulfillment of exceptional contributions and services to the UAE and is ultimately dependent on the discretion of the UAE government. Families of successful applicants also acquire the right to obtain UAE citizenship. Emirate nationals can get a UAE passport, providing visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries worldwide, including all Schengen countries, the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Click here to take a look at our guide on how to get UAE citizenship.
The Requirements to Apply for a Five to Ten-Year UAE Golden Visa
The requirements for the UAE Golden visa depend on the applicant’s professional background. However, there are several minimum requirements that all prospective applicants must meet, which are:
- Be over 18
- Provide a notarized copy of their passport
- Have a clean criminal record
- Be clear of all socially dangerous illnesses
- Valid health insurance
UAE Golden Visa requirements for real estate investors
Foreign nationals who own real estate in the UAE may be granted a renewable residence visa valid for ten years. The requirement to obtain a UAE Golden Visa as a real estate investor is that:
- The applicant can present the provision of a letter from the Department of Land and Property of the respective Emirate national stating that they own one or more properties in the UAE to the value of no less than two million UAE Dirhams (about $545,000)
The purchase of a property can be made with a loan of no more than 50 percent of the property’s value from specific local banks approved by the competent local entity. A Dubai Golden Visa for real estate investors provides a ten-year residency visa.
UAE Golden Visa requirements for investors
Foreign investors have three types of investments besides real estate that are eligible under the UAE Golden Visa program–investor (partner), bank deposit, and tax collection. The requirements to obtain a residence visa under one of these options are as follows:
- The trade permit with the partner’s appendix
- The financial report of the establishment/s for the last tax year
- A verified certificate from the free zone (business jurisdiction) that includes all the investor’s financial information
- A financial statement of the establishment for the last six months
- The registration document from the Federal Tax Authority stating that the company’s transactions amount to no less than AED 100,000 (about $27,000) annually
- Proof of property ownership (if applicable)
- Present documentation of a financial deposit of no less than AED 2 million in a UAE bank account and proof that the investor owns the invested capital completely; It may be in the form of an investment fund accredited by the Ministry of Finance or Sukuk.
- Proof of residence in the emirate of Dubai
- Documentation from the Federal Tax Authority confirming partnership in one or several establishments and proof of taxes paid to the UAE government; Annual tax contributions must be no less than AED 250,000 (about $68,000).
- A valid commercial license with the partner’s appendix
UAE Golden Visa requirements for entrepreneurs
Foreign entrepreneurs who own a business or startup project of a technical or future nature may be granted a renewable UAE Golden Visa valid for five years. In addition, you must obtain a letter of approval from each of the following:
- A certified auditor in the UAE confirming that the project value is equal to or exceeds AED 500,000 (about $136,000)
- The federal authority in the respective emirate affirming that the project is of a technical or future nature
- An accredited business incubator in the UAE supporting the establishment of the intended operation in the nation
UAE Golden Visa requirements for outstanding specialized talents
Outstanding specialized talents under the UAE’s Golden Visa program include:
- Creative people of culture and art
- Specialists in scientific and engineering fields
- Doctoral degree holders
Prospective Golden Visa applicants who possess outstanding specialized talent may be eligible for a ten-year Golden Visa, provided they satisfy the eligibility criteria outlined below in their respective areas of expertise:
UAE Golden Visa for doctors and scientists
- An approval Letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the United Arab Emirates to engage in the practice of medicine in the UAE (for doctors)
- A letter of recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council or a letter from the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists stating that the applicant has been awarded the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinguishments (for scientists)
UAE Golden Visa for Inventors
- A letter of endorsement from the Ministry of Economy affirming that the patent has contributed significant value to the country’s economy
UAE Golden Visa for creative people of culture and art
- An approval letter issued by the Department of Culture and Arts in the respective emirate
UAE Golden Visa for Executives
- A copy of a university degree accredited by the Ministry of Education (Emirates Schools Establishment) with a minimum educational qualification of a bachelor’s degree or higher
- A formal letter proving at least five years of experience in the same position
- A salary certificate from an employer stating a minimum salary of AED 50,000 (about $13,600)
- A valid work contract
UAE Golden Visa for specialists in scientific and engineering fields
Eligible areas related to engineering and science include:
- Artificial intelligence
- Epidemiology and viruses
- Big data
- Electronic engineering
- Computer engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Software engineering
- Genetics and biotechnology engineering
Scientific and engineering specialists must have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree certified by the Ministry of Education and possess a legitimate job contract.
Other eligible candidates for UAE Golden Visas
The program for the Golden Visa UAE has expanded eligibility criteria for individuals such as outstanding students and humanitarians.
Outstanding students at the national level achieving a minimum grade of 95 percent in public or private secondary school may be eligible for a five-year Golden Visa. Acceptance is subject to submitting a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Education. The Golden Visa may be renewed if the holder enrolls in one of the prominent colleges in the country with a major that requires a study period of more than five years.
Outstanding university students
As an outstanding university student of a university in the UAE, you may be eligible for a ten-year Golden Visa, provided that:
- The university is rated either an A or B class university by the Ministry of Education
- A letter of recommendation is submitted from the university or an accredited graduation certificate or an accredited academic record stating that the cumulative GPA is at least 3.5 for A class universities and 3.8 for B class universities
- It has not been more than two years since graduation
Outstanding university students of foreign universities may be eligible for a UAE Golden Visa valid for ten years, provided that:
- The foreign university is rated among the top 100 universities globally according to the rating system acknowledged by the Ministry of Education
- The university student’s cumulative GPA is at least 3.5
- It has not been more than two years since graduation
- The graduation certificate has been accredited by the Ministry of Education
Pioneering humanitarians and frontline heroes
A pioneering humanitarian may be eligible for a ten-year Golden Visa, provided they fulfill one of the four following categories:
- An outstanding employee who has worked for international and regional organizations for at least five years.
- An outstanding employee who has worked for civil associations and institutions of public interest for at least five years.
- A humanitarian who has received an appreciation award from a local, regional, or international organization focused on humanitarian work.
- A financier of humanitarian work, provided that the value of the support does not fall below AED 2 million or the equivalent in a foreign currency.
Frontline heroes who displayed exceptional efforts in crises, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, may also be eligible for a UAE Golden Visa by presenting a recommendation from a competent local government entity. Frontline heroes include nurses, lab technicians, pharmacologists, medical assistants, and other approved professions by the Frontline Heroes Office.
Expanded categories for the UAE Golden Visa in Abu Dhabi
The emirate of Abu Dhabi has recently announced an expansion to the eligible categories for a UAE residence visa. The following conditions are mandatory for all eligible categories:
- The applicant must have a valid employment contract in the UAE
- The applicant must possess a role classified as a professional level by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) (occupational classification program)
- The applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
- The applicant must earn a minimum monthly salary of AED 30,000 ($8,200) or the equivalent
- The applicant must possess a valid practicing license in the UAE (if necessary)
- The applicant must present a salary certificate issued by the employer along with a bank statement for the last six months proving a monthly salary amounting to no less than AED 30,000
The additional eligible categories, along with their corresponding prerequisites, are as follows:
Senior scholars and clerics
Requires a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Culture and Youth or another competent local governing body.
Specialists in industry and the 4th industrial revolution
Requires a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology or another competent local governing body.
Specialists in health fields
Requires a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Health or the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.
Specialists in education
Requires a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Education or the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge.
Skilled professionals require:
- A valid employment contract authorized in the UAE
- Documentation proving the applicant holds a position classified as level one or two by MoHRE’S occupational classification program
- Duly attested bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
- A valid practicing license in the specific emirate or UAE for occupations that require licensing
- A valid employment certificate
Application Fee and Costs to Obtain a UAE Golden Visa
The Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security of the UAE (ICP) has recently updated the fees for investors applying for the ten-year Golden Visa UAE.
In addition to the Golden Visa UAE price beyond the required investment in real estate, investment funds, or a business in the UAE, investors must pay the following fees:
Registration fee: AED 160,000 (about $44,000)
State fees for issuing visas and identity cards: AED 3,860 (about $1,050) per person
Medical exam: About $220 per person
Private medical insurance: About $400 per person
Translation of legal documents, notarization, and consular fees: About $1,000 per person
Applicants from countries who require a visa to enter the UAE must also pay the following fees to the Federal Authority For Identity (ICP) for a multiple-entry permit before they can obtain a residence visa:
Six-month entry permit: AED 1,250
Issuance fee: AED 1,000
Application fee: AED 100
Smart services fee: AED 100
Electronic services fee: AED 28
ICP fee: AED 22
Step-by-Step Guide for Obtaining a UAE Golden Visa Through Investment
Step 1. Obtain your UAE entry visa
If you’re from a country that requires a visa to enter the UAE, you must obtain an entry permit before submitting your UAE Golden Visa application. You can submit your visa application online through the Government of Abu Dhabi (ABUDHABI) or GDRFA (Dubai) website, which the relevant authority will examine. If approved, you will be issued a multiple-entry visa with six months of validity.
Step 2. Fulfill your investment
Complete your real estate investment, deposit to an investment fund or bank account, or any other investment eligible for the UAE Golden Visa prior to submitting your application, along with all the necessary supporting documentation for a golden residency in the UAE.
Step 3. Prepare your documents
All documents utilized for legal purposes in the UAE must be in Arabic. You must have your documents notarized and obtain an officially certified translation before traveling to the UAE to continue the application process.
Step 4. Undergo a medical checkup
After obtaining your visa (if required) and legalizing your documents, you and any family members included in the application must travel to the UAE to undergo a medical checkup to screen for socially dangerous illnesses before submitting your application.
Step 5. Start your Golden Visa application
You can proceed with your visa application after finalizing your investment and passing the medical exam. The application can be submitted in either the emirate of Dubai or Abu Dhabi. You can use the designated portal on the ABUDHABI (Abu Dhabi) or GDRFA (Dubai) website to submit your Golden Visa application.
After you complete the online application process, you’ll receive an SMS text message and an email notifying you of the application status. If any required documents are missing from the application, you’ll be given a grace period of 30 days for their submission. Failure to provide the documents within this period will result in the cancellation of your visa application.
Provided no missing documents or other obstacles arise from the due diligence process, you will receive a notification of approval, and the approved application will be emailed to you.
Obtaining an Emirates ID card
Once you’ve completed your Golden Visa application and received notification of your approved residence visa, you must apply for an Emirates ID card. Here are the steps to do so:
- Apply through the ICP website or visit an ICP Service Center (Customer Happiness Center) to submit your ID application
- Visit an ICP Service Center and submit the following:
- A copy of your passport
- A passport-size photo
- Proof of residency
- Fingerprint biometrics
- Pay the necessary admin fees
- Await application processing and notification to collect.
- After receiving the notification to collect, collect your Emirates ID card from an Emirates card collection center
Ensure that you always carry your Emirates ID card with you, as it serves as a legal identification document within the United Arab Emirates.
How to get a Golden Visa?
The pursuit of Golden Visas is becoming increasingly popular in today’s globalized world. Many countries now provide such programs, where you are able to obtain long-term or permanent residency by making an investment in a country’s economy. By securing a Golden Visa, you not only contribute to the nation’s economic growth but also gain expanded financial and personal rights for yourself and your family.
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique global citizenship and residence advisory firm providing citizenship and residency solutions to international clients. Contact us today to begin your journey to obtain a Golden Visa.
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Frequently Asked Questions about the Golden Visa UAE
Who is eligible for a UAE Golden Visa?
The UAE Golden Visa has a wide range of eligible individuals. Eligible individuals for a UAE Golden Visa include:
- A real estate investor
- An investor who makes a bank deposit, owns an Emirate business, contributes to an investment fund, or pays tax in the UAE
- An entrepreneur
- A specialized talent, such as a doctor, scientist, investor, or creative person
- An outstanding student, pioneering humanitarian, or frontline hero
How much does a Golden Visa cost in the UAE?
The cost of a Golden Visa UAE depends on which option you choose. For a real estate investment, you must purchase a property or combination of properties priced at least AED 2 million (about $545,000). For tax contributions, you must pay no less than AED 250,000 (about $68,000) annually. This is in addition to the application fees, health insurance packages, and medical exam, which amount to about $46,000.
What are the benefits of obtaining a UAE Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa scheme in the UAE is specifically designed to attract foreign investment and expertise, presenting a range of advantages to investors, specialists, and outstanding students. These benefits include the freedom to reside and work in the country, access to high-quality education and healthcare facilities, as well as the ability to sponsor your family for residence visas.
How many years is a Golden Visa in UAE valid?
A UAE Golden Visa is valid for five to ten years.
Is it easy to get a Golden Visa in Dubai?
Obtaining a Golden Visa in Dubai is straightforward, provided you satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
- You have a clean criminal record
- You are clear of socially dangerous illnesses
- You have valid health insurance
- You fulfill one of the eligible categories for the UAE Golden Visa scheme. Eligible categories include a real estate purchase or bank deposit of at least AED 2 million (about $545,000), or owning a startup business with a project value equal to or exceeding AED 500,000 (about $136,000).
Will a UAE Golden Visa lead to citizenship?
One of the disadvantages of the Golden Visa UAE could be that it does not directly lead to citizenship; however, The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreigners Affairs has approved amendments to the program, providing certain eligible holders of a Golden Visa who have rendered exceptional services to the country with the opportunity to acquire Emirati nationality by naturalization.
Eligible nominees include real estate investors who own property in the UAE, doctors or other professionals specialized in a scientific discipline, scientists with accredited academic records, innovators with approved patents, and globally award-winning intellectuals and creatives in art and culture. The UAE government ultimately decides who can be granted citizenship on a case-by-case basis.
Can I live in Dubai permanently?
You can live in Dubai permanently by acquiring a Golden Visa UAE. A UAE Golden Visa is valid for five to ten years. As long as you continue to fulfill the visa requirements, you can renew it before it expires.
Do I get residency in Dubai if I buy a property?
You can obtain residency in Dubai through the UAE Golden Visa by purchasing a property. The Dubai Golden Visa requirements include a real estate purchase valued at least AED 2 million (about $545,000). Foreign residents are limited to owning properties in specific designated areas of the city.