UAE wide ranging resident Visa reforms – Full Summary

UAE wide ranging resident Visa reforms – Full Summary

- Jade Wong

The UAE government recently approved new legislation on residency and entry requirements to the country with the hope of attracting skilled and talented individuals to live and work in the UAE.

The new regulations, which form part of the Federal Decree Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners, provide conditions and requirements for both long-term residency and short term stays in the UAE.

The legislation recognises the part that the expatriate population plays in the success of the UAE economy and the desire to retain and add to that talent pool.

What are the amendments?

  • Golden Residency Visa
    The Golden Residency scheme is a long-term residency initiative aimed at attracting and retaining people with exceptional talents or unique, in-demand skills.

    Significant changes have now been made to the existing scheme to increase eligibility and reduce some of the previous restrictions.

    The amendments now allow for the Golden Residency holder to sponsor his/her family members and children irrespective of their ages, and there is no limit on the number of domestic staff that can be included on the visa.

    In addition, the new changes have removed the restriction on the amount of time that the holder can spend outside of the UAE while ensuring that the visa remains valid.

    Finally, in the unfortunate event that the holder of the visa passes away, his/her family members are allowed to stay in the country for the duration of the permit.

  • Golden Visa for Scientists
    This visa category grants residency in the UAE to scientists and researchers in the fields of engineering, life and natural sciences and technology.

    It requires that the applicant hold a PhD or master’s degree from a leading university as well as a significant research achievement or notable award.

  • Golden Visa for Professionals
    This category encompasses a wide variety of business sectors and is expected to attract skilled individuals with a university level of education and professional experience.

    Requirements are that the applicant should be in possession of a valid employment contract in the UAE in a first or second occupational level, and a minimum monthly salary of AED 30,000.

  • Golden Visa for People with Exceptional Talents
    This visa is intended to encourage residency applications from people with exceptional talent in the fields of arts, culture, digital technology and sports, or innovators in other areas deemed valuable to the UAE government.

    It is awarded on the grounds of recognised talent by the federal or local government irrespective of employment status, educational level or salary bracket.

  • Golden Visa for Property Investment
    This is granted on the basis of a property purchase of a value of at least AED 2 million.

    Recent additions to this visa now allow eligibility based on buying a property with a loan from a recognised local bank or buying a property off-plan from an approved real estate company.

  • Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs
    This category offers a great deal of flexibility with eligibility requirements. There are several methods for a successful application.

    An individual could obtain this visa on the basis of being an owner or partner in a business generating a revenue of AED 1 million or more.

    Anyone that has founded or been a founding partner in a previous business entity that was sold for at least AED 7 million would also qualify for the Golden Visa.

    In addition, anyone that has received approval for a business start-up from an official business incubator or from the Ministry of Economy would also be deemed eligible.

  • Golden Visa for Exceptional Students and Graduates
    This visa is intended for talented students attending UAE secondary schools and university graduates from the UAE and the top 100 universities worldwide.

    Issuance of a visa in this category is dependent on year of graduation, academic performance and university reputation.

  • Green Residency Visa
    This is a new 5-year residency option open to skilled professionals, investors, entrepreneurs and freelancers.

    It provides flexibility with the acquisition of visas for family members as well as grace periods to stay in the country up to six months after the visa has been cancelled or expired.

  • Skilled Employees
    This provides skilled individuals with a minimum education level of a bachelor’s degree, a salary of at least AED15,000 and occupational level in the first three tiers as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to obtain a 5-year visa without the need for a sponsor or employer.

  • Freelancers and Self Employment
    This provides self-employed individuals and freelancers a means of obtaining residency in the UAE by demonstrating a minimum education level of a bachelor’s degree or diploma, and an annual income of at least AED360,00 or financial solvency for the duration of his/her stay in the country.

  • Investor or Partner
    This option extends the previous allowance of two years residency to a duration of five years for any individual with approval and proof of investment in the UAE by local authorities.

  • Other benefits for family members of visa holders
    The new legislation has now relaxed the conditions around obtaining residence permits for family members.

    Children up to the age of 25 years can be sponsored, which replaces the previous upper limit of 18 years. In addition, there is no upper limit for sponsorship of daughters provided they are unmarried, and children with disabilities can be sponsored irrespective of their age.

  • New Entry Visas
    The new regulations have relaxed some of the conditions around entry visas, allowing entry into the UAE without the need for a host or sponsor.

    This provides visitors with flexible, renewable visa durations and allows for single or multiple entry into the country.

  • Job Exploration
    This visa was introduced with the intention of attracting talented or skilled individuals to the UAE to explore job opportunities in the country.

    It is open to anyone who has obtained a bachelor’s degree, graduated from one of the top 500 universities in the world or is recognised to have a sufficient skill level by the Ministry of Human Resources or Emiratisation.

  • Business Entry
    This allows potential investors and entrepreneurs to enter the UAE to explore potential business and investment opportunities.

  • Tourist Visa
    This is a five-year, multiple entry tourist visa which gives the holder the freedom to stay in the UAE for up to 90 continuous days and the option to extend for a similar period on the condition that the total period in the country doesn’t exceed 180 days in one year.

    This visa gives visitors huge flexibility to enter the country multiple times a year and only requires proof of having a bank balance of at least US$4,000 or equivalent in other currencies in the 6 months preceding the application for the visa.

  • Permit to Visit Family or Friends
    This allows visitors to enter the UAE to visit friends or family without the need for a sponsor or host.

  • Permit for Temporary Work Mission
    This allows for entry to the country for a temporary work assignment. It requires a temporary work contract or letter from an employer to confirm the purpose of the visit and proof of health/ability to carry out the work.

  • Permit for Study and Training
    This allows individuals to be sponsored by universities, private entities or research institutions in the UAE to attend training or study courses.

    A letter must be submitted from the entity or educational institution confirming details of the course and the duration of study.

    This new legislation provides much greater flexibility for short and long-term entry into the UAE and will give a platform for talented and skilled individuals to consider the UAE as an attractive destination to live and work.

How can PRO Partner Group help?

PRO Partner Group are the experts in company formation and assisting in obtaining and maintaining UAE residence and entry visas. Our professional team of government liaison staff, PROs and operational contact team can assist you fully with the initial review of the type of visa you are looking to obtain, to ensure you make the right choice. We can then assist you through preparation and documentation and all relevant steps to obtain the UAE resident or entry visa.

If you need guidance on which UAE visa is best for you, and any other related company setup, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman, Qatar or Saudi Arabia then please do 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 or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Get in touch with Jade Wong

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