A Guide to the Comprehensive Changes in the Visa System by the UAE Cabinet

In a bid to boost retention of global talents and foster stability among the expatriate community, the UAE Cabinet has publicised a massive overhaul on visa regulations for residency and entry of foreign nationals.

The executive regulations were approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Entailing category expansion for the golden residence visa, new benefits for green residence bearers and the introduction of self-sponsored purpose-based visas, the new amendments are scheduled to come into force 90 days from the date of publication in the official gazette.

 

 

 

Golden Residence – 10 Years

Significant amendments to eligibility criteria for obtaining a 10-year golden residence visa have been instated for holders and beneficiaries, including expanded categories for business owners, entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, exceptional students and humanitarians.

 

Overarching New Benefits

  • Golden residence bearers can sponsor family members regardless of age.
  • No limit on the number of sponsorships for domestic labourers.
  • No restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE to keep the residence valid.
  • In case of the death of the original golden residence holder, family members are permitted to stay in the until the end of their permit duration.

Categories

Real Estate Investors

  • Real estate investors can obtain a golden residence when purchasing a property worth no less than AED2 million, funded either solely by the individual or through a loan from specific local banks.

Entrepreneurs

  • An entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a startup registered in the UAE’s SME category with an annual revenue not less than AED1 million. Alternatively, it may incur the approval of a startup idea from an official business incubator or the Ministry of Economy. If an entrepreneur founded a previous project that sold for AED7 million and above, they will be entitled to a golden residence by default.

Professionals

  • Highly skilled workers with educational qualifications and relevant experience in disciplines of law, medicine, education, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, culture and social sciences. The applicant must have a valid employment contract with a first or second occupational level, a bachelor’s degree and a monthly salary of not less than AED30,000.

Scientists

  • This residence is granted to scientists and researchers with acclaimed achievements in their field based on recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council. The applicant must have a PhD or master's degree in the disciplines of engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from select universities.

Exceptional Talents

  • This residence is granted based on talent only regardless of the educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary, or professional level. 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.

Exceptional Students and Graduates

  • High performing students in UAE secondary schools and outstanding graduates from UAE universities and the best 100 universities worldwide

 

 

Green Residence – 5 years

New benefits and categorical changes have been made to the 5-year residence in an effort to attract skilled professionals, freelancers, investors and entrepreneurs.

 

Overarching New Benefits

  • Facilitation of residence permit for first-degree family members with validity duration as the original residence holder.
  • Age of children who may be sponsored has been raised to 25 years, and no age limit for unmarried daughters.
  • Grace periods of up to 6 months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired.
  • No sponsor or employer required.

Categories

Skilled Employee

This 5-year residency doesn’t mandate the need for a sponsor or employer. Applicants should have a valid employment contract, be classified in the first, second or third occupational level, a bachelor’s degree and a minimum salary of AED15,000.

Freelance and Self-Employment

  • The minimum educational level should be bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma, and the annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than AED360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout their stay in the country.

Investor or Partner

  • Requirements include approval of the investment and proof of total investment by competent local authorities. It replaces the previous residence that was valid for 2 years.

 

 

New System for Entry Visas

Major improvements with flexible visa durations for 10 different categories have been instated. Some of them are listed below.

 

Job Exploration Entry Visa

  • It is granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the fresh graduates of the best 500 universities.

Business Entry Visa

  • Enables easy entry without requiring a sponsor or host to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.

Tourist Visa

  • A five-year multi-entry tourist visa was introduced, which does not require a sponsor and allows the person to stay in the country up to 90 continuous days, provided there is proof of a bank balance of US$4,000 during the last six months prior to submitting the application.

Visit Relatives or Friends

  • As per the current amendment, a visitor can apply for this entry permit if he/she is a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or resident. It does not require a sponsor or a host.

Temporary Work Mission

  • It requires a temporary work contract or a letter from the employer clarifying the purpose of visit and proof of health fitness to work. Must be sponsored by the employer.

Study and Training

  • The sponsor can be universities or educational or research institutions licenced in the country or government or private entities. It requires a letter from the entity, clarifying the details of the study or training or internship programme and its duration.

 

 

Application Process

CBD have a dedicated labour & immigration team who can assist you in obtaining a golden, green or temporary visa upon conducting a feasibility study. To check your eligibility and initiate the process, email enquiries@cbddubai.com or call +971 4 551 0677. Please note that the new visa regulations will be in place 90 days after the initial announcement.