Significant Expansion of the New Visa Scheme
The significant expansion of the Golden Visa scheme, the introduction of the five-year Green residency, the introduction of a multiple-entry tourist visa, and the introduction of entry permits for job search are just some of the many residency reforms that will take effect next month. In addition, the UAE has introduced a series of new visas and entry permits as part of its most significant immigration and residency reforms.
As a result of the new system, expatriates and visitors to the UAE will benefit significantly. Moreover, the UAE will become even more attractive to foreign investors and high-net-worth individuals looking to establish a long-term presence there.
After 90 days from the publication of these new executive regulations in the Official Gazette, all these new executive regulations related to entry and residence laws will take effect. Listed below are the visas that were announced in April. A number of them will take effect starting next month, while some have already been implemented:
Significant amendments have been made to the Golden Visa scheme to simplify eligibility criteria and expand the categories. As a result, investors, scientists, outstanding academicians, frontline workers, and entrepreneurs are eligible for this long-term 10-year visa.
According to the amendments, Golden Visa holders can sponsor their family members, including children and spouses, regardless of age, and sponsor support services (domestic help) without restrictions. In addition, the Golden Residency is not restricted in terms of the duration of stay outside the UAE.
The UAE provides benefits for family members, including the ability to remain in the country after the death of the primary holder of a UAE Golden Visa until the permit's expiration.
As per the UAE Cabinet, the criteria for Golden Visa UAE eligibility have been expanded to include the following:
Golden Visa for scientists
According to the Emirates Scientists Council recommendations, this residence is offered to scientists and researchers with high achievement and influence. Graduates from the top universities in engineering, technology, life sciences, and natural sciences should hold a Ph.D. or master's degree, and substantial research achievements should be available.
Golden Visa for exceptional talents
Talented individuals in the required fields may be granted this visa. It is based solely on skill, regardless of an individual's educational background, employment status, monthly salary, or professional level.
It includes individuals with talent in culture, sport, design, digital technology, invention, and other vital fields and requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity.
It is necessary to obtain a recommendation letter from one of the Sports Councils or the General Sports Authority for persons excelling in different sports activities to apply for a UAE Golden Visa.
- Holders of Doctoral degrees
Those with doctoral degrees and a valid work contract in their current profession must provide a certified copy of their Ph.D. from the Ministry of Education.
It is a broad field with many specializations. The government portal offers a wide range of license options. This umbrella includes veterinary doctors. It is mandatory to have a letter from the Health Authority or Ministry of Health of the country stating the doctor's medical practice.
The Ministry of Economy must verify patents as adding value to the country's economy, which is the mandatory document for inventors.
- Executive Directors
It is deemed eligible to apply through this category for professionals with top company positions such as General Managers, CFOs, Executive Directors, CEOs, Chairman of the Board of Directors, or any position in which you can produce a salary certificate of AED 50,000 & that you have held that position for no less than five years.
- Specialists in Engineering & Science
The following specializations require attested bachelor's degrees and a valid work contract mentioning the specialization: Epidemiology and Virology, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data & Computer Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Genetic Engineering, and Biotechnology Engineering.
- Dubai Cultural Visa
The ministry recently introduced a long-term cultural visa, offering creative talents a 10-year residency, a first of its kind in the world. It covers the following cultural and creative sectors: music, fine arts, photography, film and video production, video game development, fashion, graphic design, product design, landscape design, architectural services, advertising services, and information technology and software services.
Golden Visa for professionals
A growing demand exists for highly trained professionals with knowledge and expertise in various disciplines, including medicine, science and engineering, information technology, business and management, education, law, and culture. A valid contract of employment in the UAE is required for applicants. Furthermore, per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization classification, they should be classified in the first or second level under ISCO by the International Labour Organization. In addition, they must have a monthly salary of less than Dhs30,000 and a minimum educational background.
Golden Visa for real estate investors
Investors can obtain a Golden Visa if they purchase a minimum of Dhs2 million property.
Golden Visa for real estate investors
As a result of the new amendments, investors can now purchase property loans from specific local banks to qualify for the Golden Visa. In addition, Golden Residency is also available to investors buying one or more off-plan properties from authorized local real estate companies for a minimum of Dhs2 million.
Golden Visa for entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are eligible for the Golden Visa if they meet flexible requirements set by executive regulations. As the minimum requirement, Startups in the SME category must be registered in the country and have annual revenue of at least Dhs1 million.
Furthermore, the startup idea must be approved by an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy or the relevant local authorities to qualify for a Golden Visa.
A person can also be eligible for the Golden Visa if they are a founder (or one of the founders) of an entrepreneurial project that sold for not less than Dhs7 million. In addition, the Ministry must approve any project or idea of the Economy or the relevant local authority.
Golden Visa for outstanding students and graduates
The visa is intended for high-achieving secondary school students and exceptional graduates from UAE universities and top 100 universities worldwide based on specific criteria, including academic performance, year of graduation, and university classification.
Golden Visa for Humanitarian Pioneers
A distinguished member of an international and regional organization, an outstanding member of an association of public benefit, recipients of recognized awards in humanitarian fields, or distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts can apply for the newly amended golden visa.
Golden Visa for Frontline Workers
A Golden Visa may also be granted to frontline workers who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts in crises like the Covid-19 Pandemic.
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.
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 at 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—benefits for Family members. Families can benefit from the new system with residence permits issued more quickly to spouses and children.
Sponsored children (primarily male) must now be 25 years old (18), 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 VISA
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.
- 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.
- Multi-entry tourist visa
This new five-year multi-entry tourist visa doesn't require a sponsor and allows the visitor to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days; they can extend the stay by another 90 days. A person can stay on this tourist visa for up to 180 days. Before applying, the applicant should have a bank balance of $4,000 (Dh14,700) or the equivalent in foreign currency.
- Medical Treatment
A medical establishment or a government or private hospital can sponsor foreign patients for treatment in the UAE. Sponsors (medical establishments) are responsible for processing entry permits for treatments upon a patient's request.
- Diplomatic Affairs
A Diplomatic Entry Permit will be issued to the Holders of Diplomatic, special and UN passports.
- Study or Training
Students sponsored by educational entities or public and private entities for training and Internship programs can avail a study or training entry permit
Emergency entry permits will be available for transit, sailors, flight crews and flight emergencies
- GCC Residents
Residents of GCC countries and their escorts can avail a GCC Resident Entry Permit.
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.
Previously, parents were only allowed to sponsor their children under 18. However, it is now possible to support male children until they are 25. A special permit is also available to disabled children, and unmarried daughters can be sponsored indefinitely.
As per the amendments announced in November 2021, residents will qualify for retirement residency if they meet the following criteria: a single property or several properties worth Dh1 million (evaluation to be conducted by the related entity in each emirate), or a bank deposit of no less than Dh1 million, or an active yearly income of not less than Dh180,000.
Remote Work Permit
To boost business opportunities and attract talent to the region, the UAE introduced a one-year residency permit for remote workers in March 2021. As a side hustle or full-time job, holders of this Visa can work for an employer outside the UAE during the one-year visa period.
Abu Dabhi Creative Visa
Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi announced creating a "Creative Visa" initiative to support individuals who contribute to Abu Dhabi's cultural and creative industries.
In addition to heritage and performing arts, the Creative Visa is open to talent across the creative industries, such as gaming and e-sports, media, publishing, and design. While simultaneously strengthening the thriving creative scene in the United Arab Emirates, this initiative aims to increase residency and employment opportunities in Abu Dhabi.
Upon approval of the competent authorities, the ICP may grant an employment visa to the following categories: green visa holders and foreign employees with employment contracts.