UAE's recently amended visa regulations in brief
The UAE Cabinet has approved the Federal Decree-Law on Foreigner Entry and Residence executive regulations in the past few days, passed by the National Council last week.
In addition to attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers worldwide, the new entry and residence system aims to improve the competitiveness and flexibility of the UAE labor market and foster a sense of stability among residents and their families.
The Golden Residence Scheme has been revised significantly to simplify eligibility criteria and broaden its scope. Investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, professionals, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes are among those eligible to live in residence for 10 years.
Under the amendments, Golden Residents may sponsor their family members, including spouses and children, regardless of age, and may sponsor domestic (support) laborers without being restricted in their numbers. Further, Golden Residence does not limit the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE.
Other benefits of the Golden Visa allow family members to remain in the UAE after the original holder dies until the end of the permit period.
Golden Residence for Scientists.
Based on the Emirates Scientists Council's recommendations, this residence is given to scientists and researchers who have excelled in their fields.
Candidate must hold graduate degrees in engineering, technology, life sciences, or natural sciences from the world's best universities and substantial research accomplishments.
Golden Residence for Professionals.
Many expansions has been implemented to attract highly skilled workers with training in various disciplines, including medicine, sciences, engineering, information technology, business, law, culture, and social sciences.
An employment contract in the UAE should be valid for applicants. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization classification, they also must be classified as in the first or second occupational level, aligned with ISCO.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent, while salaries should not be less than AED30,000.
Golden Residence for Exceptional Talents.
Talented individuals in the relevant field are given this residence. The award is solely based on expertise regardless of the applicant's educational level, employment status, income level, or professional standing.
The program includes talent in culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators, and other critical fields that require federal or local government approval.
Golden Residence for Real Estate Investors.
Golden Residence is available to real estate investors who buy a property worth AED2 million.
According to the new amendments, investors can qualify for the Golden Residence when buying property loans from specified local banks. In addition, Golden Residence is also available to investors who purchase an off-plan property worth at least AED2 million from an approved local real estate company.
Golden Residence for Entrepreneurs.
For entrepreneurs to qualify for Golden Residence, the country's regulations stipulate flexible eligibility requirements; an entrepreneur must own or be a principal in a small or medium enterprise (SMEs) registered in the country and generate annual revenues of not less than AED1 million.
In addition, the Golden Residence can be obtained in this category by having your startup idea approved by an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy, or local authorities.
Golden Visa for Outstanding Students and Graduates.
Residences are available to high-achieving secondary school students from the UAE and distinguished graduates from universities in the UAE and the top 100 universities worldwide, according to academic performance (cumulative average), graduand's year, and university classification.
New Residence Types with Unparalleled Benefits.
A new 5-year residence track has been introduced to attract talents, professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. Further, more benefits have been added to facilitate family members' residences and extended grace periods of between 6 months and 12 months to stay in the country after the residence permit has been canceled or expired and simplify and facilitate all the residence requirements.
Green Residence for Skilled Employee.
Without an employer or sponsor, skilled employees can apply for residency in this new track for five years. As per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, applicants must hold a valid employment contract and be classified as the first, second, or third occupational level. Additional requirements include a bachelor's degree or equivalent and a salary of at least AED 15,000.
Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment.
Individuals who qualify for this track receive a 5-year residency in the UAE without being sponsored or employed. To work as a freelancer or self-employed, you must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. An undergraduate degree or specialized diploma is the minimum educational requirement. In addition, the applicant should have earned AED360,000 in self-employment over the past two years.
Green Residence for Investor or Partner.
This replaces the prior residence, which was valid for two years only. Investment verification is required. Several licenses will be added together. Approval from the local government is required—new Benefits for Family Members. Families can benefit from the new system with residence permits issued more quickly to spouses and children.
Sponsored children (predominantly male) must now be 25 years old, and unmarried daughters are no longer restricted by age. In addition, determined children may obtain a visa regardless of their age.
Residents with Green visas can grant residence permits to their immediate family members. A family member's residence shall be based on the validity period of the original residence holder in all cases.
New System for Entry Visas.
The new system offers several types of visas for visitors to the UAE. In addition, introducing new permits will remove the need for a host or sponsor. They are valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.
Job Exploration Entry Visa.
Young talents and skilled professionals with this visa will have the opportunity to explore jobs in the country. This visa does not require a sponsor or host. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, this award is given to those classified in the first, second, or third category of skill level, fresh graduates of the top 500 universities worldwide, and a bachelor's degree or equivalent is required.
Business Entry Visa.
In this program, investors and entrepreneurs can easily explore UAE opportunities for business and investment without requiring sponsors or hosts.
Apart from the regular tourist visa sponsored by tourism establishments in the United Arab Emirates, those who hold this visa are not required to have a sponsor. They can stay in the country for up to 90 consecutive days, plus an additional 90 days if the total stay does not exceed 180 days.
To apply for this visa, applicants must demonstrate they have already accumulated $4000 in foreign currency.
Entry Permit to Visit Relatives or Friends.
Under the current amendment, relatives and friends of UAE citizens or residents can apply for this entry permit. Additionally, there is no requirement for a sponsor or a host.
Entry Permit for a Temporary Work Mission.
A temporary job assignment such as a probation test or project-based mission sponsored by the employer is a temporary assignment of this type. An employer must provide a temporary work contract or a letter explaining the visit's purpose and demonstrating fitness for duty.
Entry Permit for Study and Training.
Participants in training courses and internships should select this type. In addition, government or private entities can sponsor universities, educational institutions, or research institutes licensed in the country.
Detailed information about the study, training, or internship program and its duration are required in the letter from the entity.