Foreigners eligible for long-term residency in the UAE can now apply online for a six-month entry permit to complete any paperwork needed to secure a five or 10-year visa.
The six-month permit applies to all long-term visa candidates including entrepreneurs, investors, individuals with exceptional talents and outstanding students, according to Fragomen Worldwide, which specialises in legal and immigration issues.
“The application is part of the process in completing procedures related to the foreign national’s purpose of residence, for example business projects, investment in real estate, enrolment at a university, et cetera, which will enable them to finalise their immigration process in the UAE,” said Fragomen Worldwide.
Long-term visas, which can be renewed automatically, were first announced in May last year, with the conditions finalised by the end of 2018 and the Cabinet Resolution coming into force in February. They allow foreign investors, scientists, entrepreneurs and the brightest students to qualify for five and 10-year visas.
Last week, the UAE government started issuing five-year visas to eligible entrepreneurs as part of its initiative to improve the ease of doing business in the country. While the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will oversee the residency visa issuance to entrepreneurs, HUB71 and Dubai Future Foundation's Area2071 in Dubai will nominate entrepreneurs for the initiative. Eligible candidates must have a minimum capital of Dh500,000 or the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.
In January, the UAE issued the first 10-year visas to 20 finalists for the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinction and in March, the Dubai International Financial Centre asked senior executives in its free zone to nominate individuals within their organisations eligible as "investors, entrepreneurs, high-calibre and outstanding individuals" for the longer-term visas.
To apply for the six-month entry permit, eligible candidates can lodge an application through the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship's website. The application must include proof of long-term residence eligibility and a fee of Dh300 must be paid.
Fragomen Worldwide said because the process is still in the initial phase, “it remains unclear if existing residents in the UAE who meet the long-term visa conditions as determined by law must undergo the same process as candidates outside the UAE”.