UAE visa options: How you can stay in the country long-term

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - is promoting a visa allowing retirees to benefit from the UAE’s year-round sunshine.

People from all over the world can apply for a five -ear renewable retirement visa that would allow them to settle in the emirate, providing they meet a range of criteria.

Applicants must be older than 55 and have valid UAE health insurance.

They must also either earn a monthly income of Dh20,000; have Dh1 million in cash savings; or own Dh2m worth of property in Dubai.

But there are several ways to remain in the country long-term without an employment visa.

The National explains.

Property visa

Anyone who owns a property worth more than Dh1million is eligible to apply for this two-year visa.

But the property must not have an outstanding mortgage of more than 50 per cent, said Keren Bobker, an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai and a columnist with The National.

In addition, they must also have an income of at “least Dh10,000 per month from a verifiable source, but not from employment in the UAE,” she said.

“Any application must be made to the Dubai Economic Department and Dubai Land Department for consideration and visas are granted on a case-by-case basis and approval is by no means auto­matic,” said Ms Bobker.

Property visas do not permit people to work in the UAE.

Investor visa

Those who own property worth Dh5 million or more are eligible for a five-year residency visa. Those who hold an investment through a deposit in an established company or a business partnership worth Dh10m or more will be granted a renewable residency visa every 10 years.

Others who have made various investments of no less than Dh10m, including property – which must be worth no more than 40 per cent of the total investment – also qualify for a renewable residency visa every 10 years. Both the property or investment must be wholly owned, not mortgaged, to qualify for this.

Entrepreneurs with a previous project worth a minimum of Dh500,000, or those with the approval of an accredited business incubator in the UAE, can be granted a five-year visa, with the possibility of upgrading to an investor visa, provided they meet requirements.

Golden visas

Rizwan Sajan, Danube’s founder and chairman, is fitting champion for thousands of ambitious mid-level managers who are keen to get on Dubai’s housing ladder. Antonie Robertson / The National

Dr Azad Moopen, chairman and founder of Aster DM Healthcare, was granted a 10-year residency visa. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Mohammed Rahman (centre) receives his golden card visa from Col Ali Al Hammadi (left) and Lt Abubaker Ali (right) at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

Firoz Merchant, founder of Pure Gold Jewellers. 'It is a huge honour," he said, on being granted permanent residency. Courtesy Firoz Merchant

Yusuff Ali, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group, pictured with Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the UAE's Minister of Tolerance, was named the first recipient of a golden card. The National

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, founder and chairman of VPS Healthcare, receives UAE permanent residency. Courtesy Dr Shamsheer Vayalil

Balvinder Sahni, owner of RSG International, is one of 400 people to receive the golden card this week. Reem Mohammed / The National

Sharjah’s first golden card recipient was Lalu Samuel, Chairman and Managing Director of Kingston Holdings and Chairman of Sharjah Industry Business Group. Courtesy Kingston Holdings

Brigadier Mohamed Abdullah Alwan, executive director of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, presents Siddique Pallolathil with his golden visa. Mr Pallolathil, the director of Nesto Group, is the first person in Ajman to be granted the visa. Siddique Pallolathil


Investors, entrepreneurs, chief executives, scientists, outstanding students and doctors are all eligible to apply for this scheme, which grants the holder a renewable 10-year visa.

Announced in 2019, thousands of people living in the UAE have already received a golden visa.

At the time of the announcement, , Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said 6,800 investors and residents, worth an estimated Dh100 billion, from 70 countries, were chosen to receive the visa.

More than 200 doctors in Dubai were granted the visa for their work to protect the emirate against Covid-19 in May.

Sheikh Mohammed gave the order in appreciation for the healthcare workers' "selfless dedication to caring for infected patients".

Retiree visas

Retiree visas are also available to anyone wishing to retire in the UAE. It grants non-Emiratis over the age of 55 the ability to stay in the country, provided that they have an investment property worth at least Dh2 million, or financial savings of Dh1m, or an active monthly income of Dh20,000 or more.

The visa is valid for five years with the possibility of automatic renewal for those who wish to stay longer and still meet the eligibility criteria.


From Hatta to Jebel Ali Village: Five retiree-friendly locations in Dubai

Dubai Creek today is a popular tourist destination and could now be a place to retire. Reem Mohammed / The National

Hatta's Hollywood-style sign. Courtesy: Meraas

Families at Al Qudra lake. Reem Mohammed / The National

Ain Dubai at Bluewaters Island. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Older style villas at Jebel Ali Village, Dubai. Anna Nielsen for The National


Updated: September 4, 2020 10:20 AM

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