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New rules for UAE Golden and Green visas explained

The UAE cabinet, headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced an overhaul of the visa system with a federal decree aimed at strengthening the UAE position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest.

Some revamped and some new regulations is designed to attract and retain global talent from across the world, boosting competitiveness and flexibility within the job market while fostering a sense of stability among those in the UAE.

Here’s a list of all the different types of visas you can get:

Golden Residence

The Golden residence (GR) is a long-term 10-year residence granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists, outstanding students, humanitarian pioneers, and first-line heroes.

The GR amendment allows the holder to sponsor their family members regardless of their age and sponsor support services labourers without limiting their numbers. Additionally, there is no restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE to keep the Golden Residence valid. Earlier it was 180 days.

Among scientists, the candidate should have a PhD or master’s degree in engineering, technology, life sciences, and natural sciences from the best universities in the world. The candidate should have substantial research achievements also to be eligible.

The categories of professionals has expanded to those from medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture, and social sciences. The applicants should have a valid employment contract in the UAE and should be classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the monthly salary should not be less than Dh30,000.

Residence for exceptional talents in vital fields is awarded regardless of educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary, or professional level. But it requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity and includes talented individuals in culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators and other vital fields.

Real estate investors

Real estate investors can obtain one by purchasing property worth at least Dh2 million. As per the new amendments, investors are also entitled to obtain the Golden visa when purchasing a property loan from specific local banks. Investors can also obtain Golden visa when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than Dh2 million from approved local real estate companies.

An entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a startup registered in the country in the category of small and medium enterprises SME and generates annual revenues of not less than Dh1 million. Alternatively, obtaining approval for a startup idea from an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy, or the competent local authorities is sufficient. Moreover, if the person is a founder of a previous project (projects) that was sold with a total value of not less than Dh7 million, he will be entitled to one on approval.

Outstanding students and graduates from UAE secondary schools and universities, and the best 100 universities worldwide according to specific criteria, can get a Golden visa for them and their families. Academic performance (cumulative average), the year of graduation, and the university classification will factor the decision.

The 5-year Golden Visa option

Earlier, there were two-year residences for many categories, including property investors with 750,000 worth of investment, which have been upgraded to five to attract talents, skilled professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs as well. More benefits are offered to facilitate family members’ residence and longer grace periods that reach up to 6 months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired.

Green visas

This track provides a 5-year residency for skilled employees without a sponsor or employer. To be eligible, applicants should have a valid employment contract and should be classified in the first, second, or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the salary should not be less than 15,000 dirhams.

Freelancers and self-employed: In line with the growing importance of flexible work models, this track provides a 5 years residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals without requiring a sponsor or employer in the UAE. Those with a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma, with annual income generated for the previous two years not less than Dh360,000, are eligible.

Investor or Partner, participating in commercial activities, will get the enhanced visa over their two-year residence. Requirements include approval of the investment and proof of investment. The total invested capital will be calculated if the investor (partner) has more than one license. Approval of the competent local authorities is mandatory.

Longer term for family members

The new system provides more benefits to family members. A resident may easily bring his/ her family members, including their spouse and children.

The age of children has been raised to 25 years (previously 18 years), and no age limit for unmarried daughters. Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age.

The Green visa-holder is allowed to bring his first-degree relatives, and in all cases, the residency of family members shall be the same duration as the original residence holder.

Other visas

It’s not done just yet. There’s also a new system for entry visas, offering UAE visitors more options. New types of visas are introduced without requiring a host or sponsor for the first time. Major improvements include facilitating the entry requirements for all visa types and offering flexible visa durations that meet the needs of the visitors and the purpose of the visit. In addition, all entry visas are available for single or multiple entries and can be renewed for a similar period(s), and are valid for 60 days from their issuance date. Some quick details:

Job Exploration Entry Visa: It is granted to those classified in the first, second, or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the fresh graduates of the best 500 universities in the world, and the minimum educational level should be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

Business Entry Visa: Easy entry without sponsors or hosts encourages investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.

Multiple-entry Tourist Visa: In addition to the regular tourist visa, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa has been introduced, provided that the entire period of stay does not exceed 180 days in one year. This visa requires proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 or equivalent in foreign currencies during the last six months before submitting the application.

Temporary Work Mission: This type is intended for those who have a temporary work assignment like probation testing or a project-based mission and is sponsored by the employer. It requires a temporary work contract or a letter from the employer and proof of health fitness to work.

Study and training: This type is intended for those attending training and study courses and/ or participating in internship programs; the sponsor can be universities or educational or research institutions in the country or government or private entities.

The new rules shall come into force after 90 days after it was announced.

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