How do I obtain a UAE Golden Visa?
The UAE has recently announced the aim of attracting $150 billion in foreign investment over the next 10 years. In doing so, 50 initiatives, including the creation of new visas to attract talented individuals who can contribute significantly to the UAE’s economy, will be implemented.
One of these visas includes the Golden Visa. This is a long-term residency visa which was implemented in 2019, but the requirements and application process have since been modified. It is issued for a period of 5 or 10 years with automatic renewal, and since its inception, has allowed 44,000 current Dubai residents to benefit from it.
Its goal is to attract top talent from around the world, and in particular, innovators in the fields of technology, engineering, medicine, science and business.
The initiative allows foreign nationals residency in the UAE without the usual requirement of a UAE sponsor, and it enables company owners to retain 100% ownership of their business on the UAE mainland.
What are the requirements for eligibility?
The requirements for a 5- or 10-year gold visa are dependent on the different categories. The following is the criteria for each:
Real estate investor
- Investment in a property with a value of at least AED 2 million
- The investment must be the full amount and not on a loan basis
A letter from the Real Estate Registration Department in the relevant emirate stating that the investor owns one or more properties of a value no less than AED 2 million, and proof of housing in the country, such as a house rental or home ownership contract, is also required.
Investors in public investments
- A letter from a UAE approved investment fund stating that there is a deposit of AED 2 million, or a valid commercial or industrial licence with the company’s incorporation contact with the investor (so that the investor’s capital is not less that AED 2 million)
- Investment in a new or existing company as a partner with the shares of a minimum AED 2 million that is not financed by a loan, or a letter from the Federal Tax Authority stating that they are the owner of a company that pays the government no less than AED 250,000 annually
As for the previous requirement, it is possible to bring a letter from the Federal Tax Authority stating that they are partner in an establishment that pays the tax to the government and whose share in the tax is no less than AED 250,000 annually.
- The minimum capital investment or project must be AED 500,000, or for any individual with prior approval from an accredited UAE business incubator
- The investor will be granted a multi-entry visa with 6-month validity and that is renewable for an additional 6 months. The visa may include the investor’s spouse, children, a partner and three executives.
Further requirements for the issuing of this visa include an approval letter from a UAE auditor stating that the value of the project is not less than AED 500,000, or a letter from an accredited UAE business incubator to establish the proposed activity within the country.
An approval letter from the relevant authorities in the emirate, stating that the project is of a technical or future nature in which leadership is achieved, is also required. Other documentation includes proof of housing in the country, a valid passport copy, and valid health care insurance that is not less than one year and can be extended.
- Holding a certified degree from a university
- A minimum of 5 years of experience
- A current salary that is not less than AED 50,000
- A valid work contract
Other requirements include a valid passport copy and health care insurance that is not less than one year and can be extended.
Students of exceptional ability
- High school students must have a 95% minimum grade from a certified public or private school, and a recommendation from the Ministry of Education (MOE)
- For university students, they must graduate with a minimum GPA of 3.8, and a recommendation letter that states this
- The visa may include the student’s family members
Pioneers of humanitarian works
An individual should be a pioneer or worker in humanitarian work within one of the following categories to be eligible for a golden visa:
- Individuals who have worked in international and regional organisations, or outstanding employees, for a minimum of 5 years
- Members of civil institutions and associations of public interest, or outstanding employees, for a minimum of five years
- Those who have received an appreciation award from a local, regional, or international organisation that focuses on humanitarian work
- Awarded outstanding humanitarian volunteers with at least 5 years of service or at least 500 hours of volunteer service
- Individuals who fund humanitarian work, provided that the value of support is not less than AED 2 million or its equivalent
- All other categories of humanitarian work are agreed upon between the authority and the Ministry
- A minister can also nominate pioneers of humanitarian work
Other requirements include holding a university degree, and fulfilling any other criteria imposed by a ministry or authority.
The investment can be made in one of several ways, including:
- A minimum AED 10 million deposit in a UAE-based investment fund
- The establishment of a UAE-based company with a minimum capital investment of AED 10 million
- Partnership of an existing UAE company with a share value of at least AED 10 million
- An investment in a combination of the areas mentioned above, provided that the portion of the investment in areas other than real estate is no less than 60% of the total
However, there are the following stipulations that must be followed:
- The investment sum cannot be derived from a loan
- The investment must be held for at least three years
- The individual should have financial liquidity for up to AED 10 million
This visa can include the investor’s spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor. It is also possible to include other business partners, provided that they can each contribute AED 10 million.
Outstanding specialised talents
This category encompasses any individual who demonstrates exceptional ability in the fields of science and technology, creative areas such as culture and art, and can contribute to the UAE’s economy in some way.
The criteria for obtaining a visa within this category is recognition of the individual’s skills and accreditation by a relevant UAE government ministry.
The criteria for eligibility in this category are:
- For creative individuals – An approval letter from the Department of Culture and Arts in the relevant emirate
- For inventors - The attainment of a patent of value which is approved by the Ministry of Economy and contributes to the UAE economy in some way
- For individuals with exceptional talent in the field of science - Their work must be published in a recognised scientific journal
- For scientists – A letter of recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council or the Secretariat of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Academic Excellence stating that he is a recipient of the Academic Excellence Medal
- For business investors - They must be owners of an internationally recognised company or holders of a high academic position
- For specialists in the fields of athletes and science – A specialised certificate in the fields specified by the authorities in the country, or a letter of recommendation letter from the General Sports Authority or one of the sports councils
- For holders of doctoral degrees and specialists in the fields of engineering and science –
- A certified copy of a Ph.D. from the Ministry of Education in one of the priority disciplines
- A university degree from the MOE with a major in engineering or science
- A work contract for a profession in the engineering or science fields
- For doctors – An approval letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) in the country to practice the profession of medicine, and the meeting two of the following requirements:
- Ph.D. degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world
- An award or certificate of excellence in a relevant field
- A contribution to major scientific research in their respective field
- Published articles or books in renowned publications in their respective field
- Membership of an organisation related to their field
- A Ph.D. and 10 years professional experience in their field
- Another specialisation in a field of priority to the UAE
Other requirements include having a valid passport copy, and valid health card insurance that is not less than one year and can be extended.
For more information on the terms and conditions for the issuing of golden visas, please visit the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website.
What are the required documents for the issuing of the golden visas?
Applying for either a 5-year or 10-year Gold Visa investors need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport copies
- A passport photo
- A valid Emirates ID and existing UAE resident Visa
Depending on the visa type applied for, investors are required to provide the following additional documents, depending on the owned assets:
- Proof of investment
- Bank statements for proof of deposit and value in UAE
- Property valuation certificate from the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities
- Additional validation documents that certify that the property or the investment have not been loaned or mortgaged
Other required documents for different categories of the golden visas have been mentioned prior, but are further detailed on the ICA website.
What is the application process?
There are two methods for investors to apply for a long-term investor Golden Visa.
A. Direct via the ICA:
- Setting up and obtaining pre-approval for the Golden Visa application
- Submit the application through the ICA smart e-services system (website / mobile application) or "Tasheel" typing offices
- Choose the correct desired Golden Visa
- Complete the application forms and upload the necessary documents
- Pay any application fees or registration costs
- Await approval
- Once approved, undertake standard New Visa process, or transfer of Visa onto the Golden Visa
Further information is available on the ICA website.
B. Through an authorised PRO company in the UAE, such as PRO Partner Group:
PRO Partner Group (PPG) can assist you in collating the required documentation, choosing the ideal desired Golden Visa to meet your criteria and submitting the application. Once approved, PPG can then assist you fully from A to Z with the standard visa processing for yourself and your family as required.
Note that obtaining a Golden Visa is subject to the approval process. Please contact us below for further information.
What are the approximate registration costs?
The standard government costs for applying for a 5- or 10-year visa are as follows:
- Visa cancellation: AED 165
- Entry permit: AED 400
- Change of status: AED 625
- Issuing new visa: AED 1,400 (for 10-year visa) and AED 900 (for 5-year visa)
- Emirates ID: AED 1,075 (for 10-year visa) and AED 575 (for 5-year visa)
Please note that these fees are an indicative estimate and are subject to change. Fees will also vary depending on if you are applying from inside or outside the UAE.
There are additional fees for document preparation, foreign document and qualification attestation, legal translation, medical fees, health insurance and other third-party costs that may be required to prepare the documents and process to apply for a Golden Visa.
It is always advisable to seek professional assistance when setting up a resident visa for business purposes. At PRO Partner Group, we have extensive experience in processing visa applications with all the relevant government authorities and required departments. We can act as your government liaison agent or ‘PRO’ and liaise on your behalf with local authorities to ensure a swift and seamless registration, application and Visa processing.
Overall, the UAE’s golden visa initiative is an example of UAE’s commitment to the diversification and development of its economy and ambition to be at the forefront of the emerging industries of the future. It also symbolises the part the expatriate population plays in the success of the country’s economy.
How can PRO Partner Group help?
Choosing the right UAE Golden Visa and preparing the correct documentation and requirements can be complicated and many pitfalls can be avoided by seeking professional help. At PRO Partner Group, our team of expert advisors can help with the registration process throughout all the required steps up to issuance of the Golden Visa and additional family members as well. If you need assistance looking at the options to obtain an UAE Golden Visa, please get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at email@example.com or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.