In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a global powerhouse in multiple domains, from finance and trade to tourism and innovation. Its rapid development and vision for the future have created an environment that attracts individuals and investors from around the world, and the UAE Golden Visa Programme is a resounding testament to the inclusive and entrepreneurial environment the country is creating, redefining the concept of residency and investment in the region.
The UAE Golden Visa Program was launched in 2019 and by November 2022 Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs had issued about 152, 000 golden visas.
The UAE Golden Visa is a residency program that offers eligible individuals and their families the opportunity to reside in the UAE for extended periods. It was designed to allow exceptional workers and foreign investors to establish deeper roots in the country, enabling the nation to benefit from their expertise.
Key Benefits of the UAE Golden Visa Program
The UAE golden visa holds many key benefits. As outlined in the UAE government portal, golden visa holders can enjoy:
In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, under the revised rules of 2023, the UAE Golden Visa is now issued for a duration of ten years across all categories, granting holders the privilege of residing and working in the Emirate for a decade and as long as the recipient continues to meet the conditions of the visa, they can renew for another ten years, as opposed to the usual 2-3 year renewal for regular visa holders.
Secondly, through the golden visa, investors can now retain 100% ownership of their companies in the UAE, eliminating the need for local sponsors. This bold move is expected to stimulate foreign direct investment and promote entrepreneurship in the country. The UAE has long been a hotspot for real estate investment, and the Golden Visa Program now incentivises this further.
Lastly, the UAE has also broadened the scope of the Golden Visa program to simplify the qualifying criteria and include a more comprehensive range of beneficiaries without the need for a sponsor.
How can you get the UAE Golden visa?
Several investment options are available to obtain a UAE Golden Visa, and the specific requirements depend on different criteria. What sets this program apart is its inclusivity; it is not limited to the typical investor or entrepreneur but encompasses a broader range of categories. In the past, the program primarily targeted high-net-worth individuals, investors, and entrepreneurs. However, they have consistently broadened the eligibility spectrum, making it more inclusive and accessible to a broader range of individuals, including skilled professionals, students and retirees.
A. Golden Visa for Investors
There are two investment-focused options available to obtain a UAE Golden Visa, which provide clear pathways for investors and entrepreneurs, with varying investment levels and minimal bureaucratic hurdles. The extended visa durations offer stability and a favourable environment for business growth, making them more viable choices for investors and cultivating more robust investment for the UAE.
Interested parties can choose to invest in an accredited investment fund, allowing them to potentially secure a 10-year Golden Visa without the need for a sponsor.
To qualify, they must meet certain criteria, which include presenting a letter from an investment fund accredited in the UAE indicating that they have a deposit of at least AED 2 million.
Alternatively, they can submit a valid commercial or industrial license along with a memorandum of association confirming the capital exceeds AED 2 million. Additionally, a letter from the Federal Tax Authority stating that you pay an annual sum of no less than AED 250,000 to the government is required.
It’s essential to own the invested capital entirely (not as a loan) and provide proof of medical insurance for the individual and their families, if applicable.
In all cases, you must retain your investment for at least two years from the date your visa is issued to maintain eligibility for the Golden Visa.
For those involved in real estate investments, a 10-year Golden Visa can be obtained, which is renewable under specific conditions and without sponsorship.
This option requires providing a letter from the land department of the respective emirate confirming ownership of one or more properties with a total value not less than AED 2 million. They may also purchase property with a loan from specific local banks approved by the competent local entity.
B. Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs looking to secure a Golden Visa can do so for a 10-year period if they own an economic project with a technical or future-oriented focus based on risk and innovation.
Alongside this, approval letters from several authorities are necessary. This includes an auditor in the UAE confirming the project’s value is not less than 500,000 dirhams, an endorsement from local emirate authorities affirming the project’s technical or future nature, and accreditation from a UAE business incubator to establish the proposed activity in the country.
C. Golden Visa for Professionals and Outstanding Individuals
Golden Residency for (10) years without a sponsor to workers with high educational qualifications and experience and talented individuals such as doctors, inventors, creators, engineers, and pioneers of humanitarian work. Suitable fields include sciences and engineering, medicine, IT, education, law, business and administration, culture, sports, and social sciences.
Front Line Heroes -. Frontline workers who have worked through crises are also considered for Golden Visas. For instance, medical professionals who have contributed during the Covid-19 pandemic can be awarded a golden visa.
The UAE has also recognised the appeal of its warm climate, world-class healthcare facilities, and leisure opportunities for retirees. As a result, retirees who meet certain financial criteria can now apply for the Golden Visa.
High-performing students and Graduates
Outstanding students graduating from UAE secondary schools and Graduates of accredited Universities inside and outside of the UAE, including the top 100 universities worldwide, are also eligible for the Golden Visa. are also eligible for the Golden visa with a sponsor.
This move aims to attract talent worldwide, boosting the UAE’s reputation as a hub for innovation and expertise. The UAE Government has confirmed that it will issue 100,000 golden visas to the world’s best programmers in its aim to become a global tech investment hub. The report says that the “investment in AI and software development will be essential to the nation seeking to double the contribution of the digital economy to national GDP”.
Seizing the Opportunity
The UAE’s vision for its Golden Visa Program is clear: to attract and retain top talents, foster economic growth, and offer a secure and prosperous future to those who call the Emirates home. These recent updates represent a monumental transformation that aligns with this vision.
As the world evolves, the UAE remains at the forefront of change, offering individuals and investors a pathway to a brighter future. The Golden Visa Program is more than a residency scheme; it’s an invitation to be part of the UAE’s extraordinary journey toward a prosperous and dynamic tomorrow.