Do you dream of living amongst some of the most iconic buildings and wealthiest atmosphere in the world? Then applying for the UAE Golden Visa could be your ticket to making this dream come true.
Introduced in 2019, the United Arab Emirates has been attracting foreigners to come and live in the country with its golden visa program. Perfect for investors, entrepreneurs, students, and top talents, the UAE Golden Visa allows applicants to live in the country for five or ten years with a renewable residence permit.
The revolutionary aspect of the UAE Golden Visa is that applicants are not required to have a sponsor – unlike other visas for the country. Entrepreneurs can open and conduct business while owning 100% of their company with the UAE Golden Visa.
Holders of the UAE Golden Visa, which is also often referred to as the Dubai Golden Visa, will also have access to discounts within the country. These discounts include cars, health insurance premiums, bank fees, and more.
The resident permit is eligible for renewal. Visa holders also have an extended amount of time allowed to spend outside of the UAE.
After submitting your application, you’ll receive an answer in just 30 days. UAE Golden Visa applicants can also bring their spouses and children with them.
If you aren’t sure whether the UAE is right for you for such a long period of time, you may want to consider applying for the Dubai digital nomad visa first.
By the end of this article, you will know the eligibility requirements to apply for the UAE Golden Visa, benefits of obtaining the visa, and how to submit your application.
What is a Golden Visa?
Before jumping into the details about the UAE Golden Visa, we should first determine what exactly a golden visa is.
A golden visa is a program that allows foreign nationals to obtain residency and sometimes even citizenship by making a government-approved investment. These investments can be real estate, businesses, bonds, and other government programs.
These visas are excellent for retirees and wealthy individuals who want to diversify their assets and residencies.
Benefits of the UAE Golden Visa
There are so many more benefits to obtaining the UAE Golden Visa than just the ability to live in the country for an extended period of time.
While visa holders will experience a beautiful lifestyle in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there are also financial and personal benefits many investors, students, and talents can take advantage of.
Long-Term Renewable Residence Permit
Most golden visas offer a residence permit that is renewable every two to three years. With the Dubai Golden Visa, applicants can receive a five or ten-year renewable residence permit.
If bringing a spouse or children, the dependents will also be issued a residence visa of this length.
Favorable Tax Rates
One of the major selling points for investors, entrepreneurs, and specialized talents, such as doctors, for getting the UAE Golden Visa is the favorable tax rates. In Dubai, there is a 0% income tax rate.
For applicants who are earning a significant income each year, this is an excellent opportunity to save thousands of dollars each year.
UAE Golden Visa applicants may apply with their spouse and children, giving their dependents the same rights to live in the country.
There is a limitation to bringing children. Recently the age of a child dependent increased from 18 to 25 years old. However, if the applicant has an unmarried daughter, this age limit does not apply.
Another benefit for the family members is in case of the untimely death of the main applicant, they can live in the UAE until the end of their residence permit.
Sponsor Domestic Helpers
The Dubai Golden Visa also allows applicants to sponsor domestic helpers to bring with them to the country. There is no limit as to how many domestic helpers can come with a single applicant.
Low Minimum Stay Requirement
Most UAE visas only allow residents to stay outside of the country for six months in a year’s time to retain residential status. However, with the UAE Golden Visa, holders are allowed to spend more than six months outside of the UAE and still retain their residency.
This is excellent for those who travel often or spend their time in a second residence abroad.
Discounts and Offers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Holders of the UAE Golden Visa can apply for the esaad privilege card, which provides discounts and offers within Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
You can receive discounts on health insurance premiums, restaurants, cars, spa services, and so much more.
Who is Eligible for the UAE Golden Visa?
There are many more groups of people eligible to apply for the UAE Golden Visa than other residency-by-investment visas. Rather than offering the visa opportunity to just retirees or investors, high-performing students and professional talents can also apply.
To apply, you must have a valid passport and meet the specific requirements for your category. We’ll dive into these details soon!
UAE Golden Visa Eligibility Requirements
While many golden visa programs have an investment requirement, the UAE Golden Visa offers opportunities to obtain the visa without making an investment.
Below are the eligibility requirements for each individual group allowed to apply for the UAE Golden Visa.
To be considered an eligible public investor for the UAE Golden Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Invest 2 million AED in a public fund approved by the UAE Golden Visa
- Have 2 million AED in capital and hold a valid commercial or industrial license
- Pay 250,000 AED each year to the government
The applicant must own 100% of the capital without the assistance of loans. The applicant and their family members must also have valid health insurance upon applying.
Public investors will be granted a ten-year residence permit.
*For Reference: 2 million AED is around $545,000 USD.
Real Estate Investor
Real estate investors may apply for the UAE Golden Visa if they currently own or purchase one or multiple properties with a value of at least 2 million AED.
If planning to purchase a property, applicants may take out a loan from an approved bank in the UAE and still qualify for the visa.
Real estate investors will be granted a five-year residence permit.
Business entrepreneurs can apply for the UAE Golden Visa if they meet the one of the following requirements:
- Be founder or part owner of a UAE-based startup that generates at least 1 million AED in annual revenue
- Have sold a startup for at least 7 million AED
- Receive a letter of acceptance from a UAE-based and accredited incubator
In addition to meeting one of the following, applicants must also provide proof that the startup project is of a future and technical nature and that it is valued at least 500,000 AED.
Entrepreneurs can receive a five-year residence permit.
Many people applying for a golden visa are retired and looking to for a foreign residency. If a retiree doesn’t fall into the investor or business entrepreneur category, they can apply if they meet the following:
- Invest at least 1 million AED in an approved investment
- Earn 15,000 AED per month in income (this can be passive)
The UAE Golden Visa also recognizes people in high-profile professions with specialized talent as eligible to receive the visa. Below is a list of eligible professions and what is required to submit when applying.
Exceptional talents will receive a ten-year residence permit upon approval.
Doctors and Scientists
Doctors can apply for the Dubai Golden Visa if they can submit:
- Approval letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE allowing them to practice their profession in the UAE (doctors)
- Hold a PhD from one of the top 500 universities in the world
- Contribute to scientific research
- Publish papers, books, and more of their research findings
- Receive an award of appreciation in their field of work
Scientists are eligible for the visa if they meet the following criteria:
- Recommendation letter from the Emirates Council of Scientists or have been awarded the Medal of Scientific Excellence by the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence (scientists)
- Hold a PhD or Master’s Degree in technology, engineering, life sciences, or the natural sciences
- Receive recognition for their research
Inventors who have a patent that has added value to the UAE’s economy can apply for the visa if they receive a letter from the Ministry of Economy stating so.
Executive Directors and Professionals
Those who hold an elevated or directorial role in a company can apply for the visa if they meet the following:
- Receive at least a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university by the Ministry of Education
- Hold their current position for at least five years
- Earn at least 50,000 AED annually
- A valid contract for work
Outstanding athletes who can obtain a letter of recommendation from the General Sports Authority or one of the councils associated with it may be eligible for the UAE Golden Visa.
Both high school and university students and recent graduates may apply for the UAE Golden Visa.
High School Students
Outstanding high school students may apply if they meet the following requirements:
- Hold at least a 95% grade in public or private school
- Receive a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education
The initial residence permit will be issued for five years. However, this can be extended if the applicant decides to study at one of the major universities in the UAE.
Students currently enrolled in a university or have recently graduated less than two years ago may apply for the visa if they meet the following:
- Attend a university rated A or B class by the Ministry of Education
- GPA of at least 3.5 in an A class university or a GPA of at least 3.8 in a B class university
- Letter of recommendation from the university
- The university is ranked in the top 100 globally
Outstanding students from a university will receive a ten-year residence permit.
Pioneers of humanitarian work can be eligible for the UAE golden visa if they are outstanding employees or members of the following:
- Five years experience at an international or regional organization
- Five years experience at a civil association or institution of public interest
- Received an award for their humanitarian work from a local, regional, or international organization
- Contributes at least 2 million AED in funds to humanitarian work and efforts
Humanitarian pioneers will be granted a ten-year residence permit.
How to Apply for the UAE Golden Visa
The application process for the UAE Golden Visa can be quite simple compared to other visa processes. The entire process is done online and you’ll receive an answer regarding your application in just 30 days.
Step 1: Choose Your Category or Investment
The first step to applying for the UAE Golden Visa is to choose which category describes you best. Depending on the category, you will either have to make a significant investment or collect recommendation letters and certificates.
Step 2: Submit Online Application
You can access the UAE Golden Visa application through the official website.
If this is your first time applying for the visa, you will click on the button that says “Nomination Request for Golden Visa – New Request”
This will take you directly to the online application where you will fill in the necessary information. This will include your passport information, profession, and other information related to the category for which you’re applying.
Next, you’ll upload all of the requested documentation. This could include a copy of your passport, proof of investment, university degrees, work contracts, bank statements, health insurance policies, and more.
Step 3: Pay Application Fee
Before officially submitting your UAE Golden Visa application, you must pay the visa fee. You can pay it securely with a credit card online.
The price for the visa fee can change at the government’s discretion, but as of now it can cost between 2,800 AED and 4,800 AED depending where you’re applying from and for which category.
Step 4: Wait for Approval
The processing and approval time for your UAE Golden Visa application is around 30 days depending on how many applications must be processed.
You will receive an approval letter electronically with information for next steps to receive your residence permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the process for applying for the UAE Golden Visa is fairly straightforward, you may still have some questions.
How long does it take to process the Dubai Golden Visa application?
It takes about 30 days to process your application.
Does the UAE Golden Visa lead to citizenship?
Yes, in 2021 the rules changed to allow golden visa holders to apply for UAE citizenship through naturalization.
How much does it cost to get the UAE Golden Visa?
The visa fees vary depending on the category you’re applying for and where you’re submitting your application.
If applying within the UAE, the fee ranges from 2,800 AED and 3,800 AED.
If applying outside of the UAE, the fee ranges from 3,800 AED to 4,800 AED.
How long must I stay in the UAE to retain residency?
With the UAE Golden Visa, there is no set amount of time that you must stay in the country to remain a resident. You can leave for as long as you wish.
Can the residence permit be renewed?
Yes, you may renew your residence permit if you still meet the requirements. Depending on the term, this could be every five to ten years.
Will I owe taxes in the UAE?
If you spend 183 days out of the year in the UAE, then you will be considered a tax resident. However, there is no income tax for individuals in the UAE and favorable tax rates for business owners.
Should I work with a lawyer to submit my UAE Golden Visa application?
While it isn’t required to work with an immigration lawyer when applying for the UAE Golden Visa, it definitely proves to be helpful.
An immigration lawyer who knows the process can help you make your investment and submit your application much faster than if you were to do it on your own. They can also help you obtain the visa remotely without coming to the UAE.
Get Assistance with Your UAE Golden Visa Application
Are you ready to diversify and invest in a UAE residence?
When it comes to obtaining a UAE Visa, it’s always a good idea to work with a professional immigration lawyer. Since they are familiar with the process, investment rules, and how the country operates, they can get your visa faster and conflict-free.
Nomads Embassy is here to help you get started on your UAE Golden Visa application right away!
We have hand-selected immigration lawyer partners in the UAE waiting to get you started on your investment and claim residency in iconic and exciting cities in the UAE.