Can YOU apply for a Golden Visa in the UAE?
9th June 2022
If the strong economy, zero income tax and modern infrastructure of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are appealing and you have been thinking about investing, living and working in the UAE, then you will likely have come across the coveted Golden Visa as a residency option for foreigners. But, what is it and are you eligible?
The Golden Residence Scheme grants 10 year residency visas to certain investors, highly-skilled and exceptionally talented foreigners who meet the predetermined criteria. In essence, the scheme covers four categories:
Launched in 2019, the purpose of the golden visa is to provide an extended residency option for expats in the UAE who are either investing in the country or excelling in and contributing to the country's key sectors, including: creative industries, science and research, healthcare, agriculture, financial services and start-ups.
The Golden Visa regulations have recently been amended to simplify the eligibility criteria, expand the categories of beneficiaries, provide more flexibility and be more family-friendly. These changes are expected to come into effect in September 2022.
What are the key changes to the Golden Residence scheme?
Golden Residence holders can sponsor immediate family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age
Golden Residence holders can sponsor an unlimited number of domestic support helpers, eg maids, drivers etc…
There are no restrictions on the time limit Golden Residence holders can stay outside of the UAE. Previously, this was limited to six months in order to keep the Golden Residence valid.
In the event of the death of the Golden Residence holder, family members can remain in the UAE until the expiry of their residence permit.
Mortgaged properties and off-plan properties are now allowed providing the minimum capital investment is AED2 million.
Are you eligible for a golden visa?
Check through the sections below to see if you meet the criteria to apply for a golden visa.
This is a visa for investors in commercial activities (business owners/company shareholders) rather than real estate. This option allows for the investor to apply for a visa for themselves, their spouse, their children, one advisor and one executive director.
The investor must demonstrate one of the following investments with a minimum value of AED2 million:
Provide a statement issued by an investment fund in the UAE proving the deposit of at least AED2m; an undertaking by the investor to serve notice in the event of cashing/withdrawing the deposit; and, a letter of guarantee from the investment fund in the UAE stating the deposit will continue for two years.
Provide a copy of the company's trade licence, Memorandum of Association, proof there is no legal case against the company or investor, and a letter from company's bank in the UAE proving the investor's capital in the company of at least AED2m.
Share in a company
As per the requirements for 'Company' above.
• Must maintain the investment for at least two years after the issuance of the Golden Visa
• Must provide evidence of paying taxes of at least AED250,000 annually, for the two years prior to the Golden Visa application.
Real Estate Investors
This is a visa for investors in real estate. This option allows for the investor to apply for a visa for themselves, their spouse and their children.
The investor must demonstrate ownership of a real estate property/properties/off-plan property from an approved developer with a minimum value of AED2 million without a mortgage*
The real estate investor must maintain the investment for at least two years after the issuance of the Golden Visa
* Mortgaged properties are permitted providing the investor demonstrates their invested capital of at least AED2 million, with the mortgage covering the balance of the value of the property.
This is a visa for partners/owners in a startup registered in the UAE in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) category. This option allows for the entrepreneur to apply for a visa for themselves, their spouse and their children.
Revenues over AED1 million per annum.
Approval for a startup idea from an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy, or competent local authority
Founder of a previous entrepreneurial project that was sold for over AED7 million.
This is a visa for outstanding high school students in the UAE and graduates from UAE universities / the best 100 universities worldwide meeting specific criteria that including their academic performance (cumulative average), year of graduation and university classification. This option allows for the student to apply for a visa for themselves, their parents and their dependent siblings.
UAE SPECIAL TALENTS
This is a visa for talented individuals in vital fields in the UAE, including culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators.
Recommendation by a competent government entity.
This visa is based purely on the person's talent, regardless of their educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary or professional level.
This is a visa for high achievers / influencers in their field.
Recommendation by the Emirates Scientists Council.
Must have a PhD or Masters degree in engineering, technology, life sciences or natural sciences from one of the best universities in the world
Must demonstrate substantial research achievements.
This is a visa for highly skilled workers.
Must have a Bachelors degree
Must demonstrate experience (all disciplines, including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences)
Must have a monthly salary of AED30,000 or more
Must have and a valid UAE employment contract classified in the first or second occupational levels of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), which is aligned with the International Standard of Classification of Occupations (ISCO) by the International Labour Organisation.
I'm not eligible for a Golden Visa, are there other visas I can apply for in the UAE?
Don't worry if you don't meet the criteria for applying for a golden visa, there are plenty of other visas which you might be suitable for you, including a selection of five year visas called Green visas; three year visas (provided by employers in free zones); and, two year visas, which are the standard employment visas in the UAE provided by employers on the mainland. To find out about these other UAE residency visas, check out our article: NEW - UAE's 10 Residency Options.
Remove the stress of arranging your UAE visas
At the Gateway Group we have been processing visas for years, helping thousands of expatriates, just like you, to organize their visas in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We arrange new visas when people arrive in the country, renew them and eventually cancel them when their circumstances change. Visa services tend to happen when a person is going through a period of change, such as moving to a new country or changing a job. It can be emotional time and extremely distracting. Have you ever thought how processing visas affects the efficiency of your business? At Gateway Group, we're processing visas on a daily basis. Our smooth and efficient services, with that extra touch of personal attention, aim to remove the unnecessary anxiety. Let us take care of all of your visa requirements so you can focus on the important things in your life.
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Gateway Group Of Companies - Why We Exist
The Gateway Group Of Companies helps organizations to mitigate the risks of getting licensed to do business in the UAE. We were established back in 2014 to provide no-nonsense, transparent and well communicated services, as a result of witnessing the troubles companies encountered during their company formation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Establishing a presence in the UAE doesn't need to be difficult, providing you engage the right expertise at the outset. We are just like you - we have invested our own money to establish our businesses in the UAE, so unlike a sales team, we understand and can empathize with the anxieties and risks of doing business overseas and the implications of making the wrong decisions. We are best positioned to provide, on-the-ground, practical advice from first hand experience. Hence, our services are designed to give you full control of your business, protect your assets and keep your profits. After all, this is exactly what we want for our own businesses too.
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Written by Sharmaigne Torella, Director Of First Impressions and Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & Strategic Advisor for the Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, UAE
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