The government of the United Arab Emirates has implemented a new immigration opportunity for wealthy or highly skilled foreigners: The UAE Long-Term Residence Visa. This type of visa is issued for 5-10 years, depending on the eligibility category of the applicant. What’s more, if you qualify, you don’t need to have a sponsor in the UAE to apply on your behalf – you can apply yourself.
The most common type of long-term residence visa issued is the UAE Investor Visa, which requires that the applicant invests a substantial amount of money in UAE to qualify.
Who qualifies for a UAE Long-Term Residence Visa?
There are two types of Long-Term Residence Visas for the UAE, which both have their own requirements and eligibility criteria.
10-year UAE long-term residence visa
You’re eligible for the 10-year UAE long-term residence visa if you fall under one of the following categories:
- You invest at least AED 10 million in the public sector (UAE Investor Visa – see below)
- You are a person with a specialized talent, such as a doctor, scientist, inventor, specialist, or of special talent in the field of culture and art. However, there are additional conditions which follow this type of visa (see them below)
5-year UAE long-term residence visa
You’re eligible for a 5-year UAE long-term residence visa if you fall under one of the following categories:
- You invest in a property in the UAE (UAE Investor Visa also known as the Property Visa UAE)
- You are an entrepreneur with an existing project which has a minimum capital of AED 500,000
- You are an outstanding student who has:
- A minimum grade of 95% in a public or private secondary school
- A GPA of at least 3.75 in a university in or outside the country after you graduate
online since information keeps changing. Make sure to know all you need before you apply or invest.
What do I need when applying for a UAE long-term residence visa?
When applying for a AE long-term residence visa, you must have several documents which support your purpose of application.
When you apply for the entry permit, you need documents such as:
- Copy of your passport
- Passport-size pictures
- Bank Statement for the past 6 months
- Any additional documents related to your purpose:
- Company Trade License Copy
- Copy of Partnership Contract (if applicable)
- ID of other partners (if applicable)
- A copy of the Memorandum of Association (for LLC)
- Proof of accreditation by the relevant UAE authority (for specialized talents)
- Proof of patent (for investors)
When applying for the long-term residence visa once you’re in the UAE, you need the following documents:
- Your entry permit
- Medical test
- Immigration Establishment Card
- Any documents related to your purpose of travel
Keep in mind: This is not a complete list of documents. The required documents differ for each case, and you may also need to obtain approval from the UAE authorities prior to applying for the visa. Additionally, due to the more sensitive nature of this visa, you may also need to get the help of an attorney or other authorized legal entity.
How to get a UAE Investor Visa?
To get an Investor Visa in Dubai or anywhere else in the UAE, you must invest at least AED 10 million in the public sector in UAE or invest at least AED 5 million in a property.
Investing in the public sector (10 year visa for UAE)
To get a 10 year UAE visa by investment, you must invest at least AED 10 million in the public sector in the country. This includes:
- Making a deposit in an investment fund
- Setting up a new company in the UAE, whose capital is at least AED 10 million
- Becoming a partner in an existing company, provided that your shares are not less than AED 10 million
Additionally, when you invest the money, you must make sure that:
- It is not loaned
- You maintain the investment for at least three years
Buying property (5 year visa for UAE)
You may also get a long-term visa for the UAE by investing in a property which has a gross value of at least AED 5 million. The money you invest cannot be loaned from someone, and you have to maintain it for at least three years.
10 year UAE visa for persons with specialised talents
You may also get a UAE visa for the UAE if you have a specialized talent. For example, if you are a doctor, investor, specialist, scientist, or you have a talent in the field of culture and art. However, the 10 year visa for the UAE for persons with specialised talents is subject to the following conditions:
- For scientists: You must be accredited by the Emirates Scientists Council or hold a Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
- For artists: You must be accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
- For inventors: You must have a patent of value (accredited by the Ministry of Economy), which is beneficial to the UAE’s economy.
- For doctors and specialists: You must fulfill at least one of the following conditions:
- You hold a PhD degree issued by one of the top 500 universities in the world
- You have a PhD degree and 10-year professional experience in your field
- You have an award or certificate of appreciation related to your field
- You are a member of an organization related to your field
- You have published articles or scientific books in renowned publications related to your field
- You have specialized in an area that’s of priority to the UAE
- For executives: You are the head of a leading and internationally recognized company
- For otherwise exceptional talents: You must have a scientific research that’s been published in a world-class journal or you must have a patent
Can I take my spouse and children with a UAE Investor Visa?
Yes, if you have an Investor Visa for UAE, you are allowed to bring your family members with you, such as your spouse and children. Additionally, the visa can be extended to include one executive director and one advisor.
Can I have a business partner with a UAE Investor Visa?
Yes, multiple business partners can apply under a single UAE Investor Visa. However, that doesn’t mean that you can split the investment multiple ways: each business partner must invest their own AED 10 million.
How to apply for a UAE Investor Visa?
Usually, all foreigners applying for a visa for the UAE have to be sponsored by someone in the UAE, such as their employer (for work visa) or school (for student visa). However, in the case of long-term residence visa for the UAE, you can apply yourself, without the need for a sponsor.
- For UAE Investor Visa, the registered company serves as your sponsor
- For UAE Property Visa, the property you purchase or invest in serves as your sponsor
Applying for the entry permit
Before you apply for a Residence Visa, you must first get a UAE Entry Permit, which is issued for multiple entries and for a duration of six months. You can apply for an Entry Permit online:
- For UAE Investor Visa
- UAE Visa for Entrepreneurs \ Special Students
- UAE Visa for otherwise talented persons
Once you enter the UAE with an entry permit, you have to go to the relevant visa issuing authorities in the UAE and request the long-term Residence Visa.
Applying for the Residence Visa
UAE Residence Visa applications are issued in the UAE at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the relevant emirate in which you will live.
The websites of the GDRFA in each emirate:
- Abu Dhabi
- Dubai (see also Amer, a website which Dubai citizens and residents can use to apply for family reunion and visitors can use to extend their Visa On Arrival)
- Ras Al Khaimah
You must enter a medical test to prove your medical fitness before applying for the residence visa.
Note: Because the Investor Visa for the UAE is a different category than regular visas, you may need to hire an attorney or legal representative to help you with the process, as well as to find investment opportunities in the UAE. Additionally, the Investor Visa is a relatively new visa, and as such there is contradicting information
How to get an Investor Visa in Dubai?
Foreign nationals who want to settle in the emirate of Dubai, have to apply for an Investor Visa for Dubai. Since Dubai is simply one of the emirates making up the country of the UAE, the application process for an Investor Visa for Dubai is the same as detailed above. The only difference is, of course, that you will apply directly to the GDRFA offices in Dubai, not in another emirate, such as Abu Dhabi.