How to Get Permanent Residency in the UAE
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most attractive countries in the world for establishing businesses and residency. What makes living in the UAE so compelling? Among its primary benefits is its tax-free status, high quality of life, excellent opportunities for business development on both the Mainland and the dozens of Free Zones, and of course, economic and political stability.
Is the UAE residence visa permanent?
Before we go into permanent residency in the UAE, we must quickly recap standard residency options. In contrast to a tourist visa, the classes of standard residence visas allow you to hold two-year residency permits that you can renew an unlimited number of times.
You can obtain a visa for immediate family members and children under 18 as well. A condition of maintaining a valid resident visa is that you must enter the UAE at least once every six months, and should you fail to do so; you can risk having your visa status revoked.
You may obtain a standard resident visa in the UAE under the following circumstances:
Purchasing real estate: If you buy a residential property in Dubai or any other Emirate worth at least one million Dirhams, you can obtain a UAE residence visa valid for two years.
Entering an employment contract: If you are planning on gaining official employment in the UAE from a UAE-based company or the Emirati government, you will need a work visa. Your employer must perform all the formalities of the visa sponsoring process and will take you an average of two-three weeks to receive your initial work entry permit that has a two-month validity. Then, you would convert the entry permit into a residence visa valid for either two or three years depending on the issuing zone.
Incorporating your own company in the UAE: This route is the most efficient and convenient way of acquiring a residence visa in the UAE as an investor or shareholder. The process only takes a few weeks, and the costs are relatively low. The business structure can be purely formal, as long as it meets the necessary Economic Substance Regulations. Visas for investors or shareholders are valid for three years.
Studying in the UAE: You can gain a student visa for pursuing a course of study in the Emirates.
As a family member of a UAE resident or national: You can also gain residency in the UAE through this pathway.
In all these cases, you must renew each visa after a certain period and can get revoked. But, what if you did not want to go through the hassle of having your visa tied to your employer, or desire more longer-term ties in the Emirates?
How to get permanent residence in the UAE
The UAE implemented a new system for long-term visas in 2019 for people to live in the country without a local sponsor and the ability to have full foreign ownership in a company on the Mainland. The whole foreign ownership bit is crucial because most Mainland companies require an Emirati national to own a minimum 51% stake in an entity. There are eligibility categories for these visas, and there are five-year and ten-year long-term visa options.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because these visas got introduced under the moniker “Golden Visa” at the time. So, what are the categories for these golden visas? Here’s a closer look.
UAE ten-year permanent residence rules
If you would like to apply for a ten-year residency visa to the UAE, you must meet one of two sets of criteria:
If you wish to qualify as an investor, you must put in at least 10 million AED (around £2,047,915.25), while ensuring you have solvency of at least that amount, not investing the funds in the form of a loan and retaining that investment for at least three years.
People with Specialised Talents
The other available option is to qualify as someone with specialised talent. They can include inventors that have patents that bring value to the Emirati economy with the appropriate stamp with the Ministry of Economy. They can also be creatives in culture and the arts, scientists and doctors hailing from top research institutions as long as they have corroborating accolades from influential journals or recognised accreditations from government ministries and specialists. These individuals must have an employment contract in the UAE in an industry that has a priority on the national agenda.
UAE five-year permanent residence rules
If you don’t meet the classes stated for the ten-year long-term visa, don’t fret. There are five-year options available for you. Who can enjoy the benefits of five-year permanent residence in the UAE? They are:
If you invest in a property in the UAE worth at least 5 million AED (£1,024,040.25), you can acquire a five-year visa. You must meet the following terms for the visa:
You must hold onto the property for at least three years.
You must not purchase the property in the form of a loan.
If you have a project with approval from a UAE-based business incubator or an already-existing idea with at least 500,000 AED (£102,385.65) in capital. The long-term visa for entrepreneurs includes:
Spouse and children
Entrepreneurs can also apply for a six-month multiple-entry visa that you can renew for another six months.
You can qualify as an outstanding student at either the secondary or university levels if you meet these criteria:
If you are a secondary student at either a state or private secondary school with an average of at least 95
If you are a university student either in the UAE or abroad with a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.75 (on the 4.0 scale) upon graduation.
The visas for outstanding students include their family members.
Do you have more questions about the UAE permanent residence scheme?
If you would like to acquire a UAE Gold Card long-term residence visa within a short period without any hassle, our Citizenship, Residency and Relocation team at Europe Emirates Group is here to help. We can guide you through all the steps in obtaining the necessary paperwork up to finding your dream home and even having champagne waiting for you in the fridge as you turn the key. If you have more questions about obtaining residency status or other queries concerning company formation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
CEO, Europe Emirates Group