As of the 3rd of October, the newly revised Golden Visa and Green Visa rules have come into effect.
The updated rules which were first announced in April 2022, by the UAE Cabinet introduce more options for long-term visa acquisitions, which will enable more individuals to apply for long-term visas and join the large amount of the population that are already benefitting from their long-term/golden visa status.
The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP) have announced that the new updated visa system involves streamlined processes, controls and procedures, and new facilities that support the authority’s approach to providing pioneering services and meet the future needs of all categories of foreigners and residents.
Read below our comprehensive Golden Visa and Green Visa guide to learn about the benefits, application criteria and how to apply:
What is a Golden Visa?
In 2019, the UAE introduced a new system for long-term residence visas called Golden Visa’s. The new visa classification enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland. These visas will be issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.
What does the Golden Visa offer?
The Golden Visa system essentially offers long-term residency (5 and 10 years) to people belonging to the following groups: investors, entrepreneurs, individuals with outstanding talents the likes of researchers, medical professionals and those within the scientific and knowledge fields, and remarkable students.
The main benefit of the visa will be security as through the issuance of the Golden Visa, the UAE government has made it clear that they are committed to providing expatriates, investors and essentially everyone looking to make the UAE their home an extra reason to feel secure about their future.
There are already a number of excellent benefits that come with holding a Golden Visa, additionally the new rules will allow the Golden Visa holder to sponsor his/ her family members, including spouse and children with no age limit. There is now also no limit on the amount of support services (domestic) labourers that can be sponsored.
The cancellation of golden visas if the holder stays more than six months outside the country has been removed, and people who cancel their residency visas will have a six-month grace period to stay in the country. Previously, people were allowed one month.
There are other benefits for family members that allow them to stay in the UAE in the event of the death of the original holder of the Golden Residence until the end of their permit duration.
Updated Golden Visa Catergories
Golden Visa for scientists:
The UAE Golden Visa will be granted to scientists and researchers with high achievements and influence in their field based on the recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council. The candidate must have a PhD or a Master’s degree in the disciplines of engineering, technology, life sciences, or natural sciences from the best universities in the world, as well as substantial research achievements.
Golden Visa for professionals:
Professionals or highly-skilled workers with high educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines, including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences can get the Golden visa if they:
have a valid employment contract in the UAE
are classified in the first or second occupational level as per the classification of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
have a monthly salary of not be less than AED 30,000.
Golden Visa for exceptional talents:
The UAE Golden Residence visa will be granted to top talents in vital fields.
It will be awarded 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 in other vital fields.
Golden Visa for real estate investors:
Real estate investors can obtain Golden Residence when purchasing a property worth no less than $544,500 (AED 2 million).
As per the new amendments, investors are also entitled to obtain the Golden Residence when purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks.
Investors can also obtain Golden Residence when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than $544,500 (AED 2 million) from approved local real estate companies.
Golden Visa for outstanding students and graduates:
This long-term, 10-year visa will also target high-performing students in UAE secondary schools, and outstanding graduates from UAE universities, as well as from the best 100 universities worldwide, according to specific criteria that includes their academic performance (cumulative average), the year of graduation, and the university classification.
As per the UAE government, humanitarian pioneers are also eligible under the new Golden Visa rules. Such as distinguished members of international and regional organisations, outstanding members of associations of public benefit, recipients of recognition awards in humanitarian fields and distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts.
Frontline workers with extraordinary efforts in crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic can also get the Golden visa under the new rules issued by the UAE government.
Golden Visa for entrepreneurs and startup owners:
The new executive regulations have also set flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible to obtain the Golden Residence. Entrepreneurs can obtain a Golden visa if they fulfil one of the following conditions:
own or partner in a start-up registered as a small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE, and the company generates annual revenues of not less than AED one million
obtain an approval for a start-up idea from an official business incubator or from Ministry of Economy or other competent local authorities
must have founded an entrepreneurial project that was sold for a total amount of not less than AED seven million.
How to apply for the Golden Visa?
If you would like assistance with applying or assessing your eligibility to obtain a Golden Visa, our bespoke Golden Visa Service will guide you through the application and issuance of the Golden Visa. Simply click to contact us for a free consultation.
The Green Visa
The Green Visa is designed to offer a 5-year residency visa to skilled professionals, entrepreneurs, investors and freelancers. To qualify for the Green Visa there are certain criteria the applicant must meet, eligibility depends on salary and qualification, this new visa is a good option for established freelance workers, small business owners, teachers, medical workers and middle managers to qualify for longer-term visa status for the first time.
Green Visa Benefits
Additional benefits for Green Visa holders include the ability to facilitate the residence of family members, the age of children who may be sponsored has been raised to 25 years (previously 18 years), with no age limit for unmarried daughters. Green Residences holders are allowed to issue residence permits for their first-degree relatives, the duration of the residency of family members shall be the same duration as the sponsor residence holder. Another benefit is longer flexible grace periods that will extend up to 6 months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired.
Green Visa Categories
Green Residence visa criteria for freelancers and self-employed.
You will need to apply for a freelance/ self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), be degree educated, and have an annual income of Dhs360,000.
Green Residence visa criteria for skilled employees
If you wish to apply for your own five-year visa, instead of using the one from your employer, you will need to show a valid employment contract with a minimum salary of Dhs15,000 (per month). Your employment visa should be deemed a first, second or third occupational level as per the MOHRE. You will also need a degree or equivalent.
Green Residence visa criteria for investors
In order to get a five-year investor or partner visa, you will need to show both government approval and proof of the investment. And if you have multiple licences, they will take the total sum of your invested money into consideration.
How to Apply for a Green Visa?
If you would like assistance with applying or assessing your eligibility to obtain the Green Visa, our bespoke Green Visa Service will guide you through the application and issuance of the Green Visa. Simply click to contact us for a free consultation.