UAE starts issuing five-year residency visas to entrepreneurs

Eligible candidates must have a business with a minimum capital of Dh500,000

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. May 24, 2015///

Abu Dhabi skyline, view from Fairmont construction site near Marina Mall, for stock. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The  Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower is the tall pointed tower on the left. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National 

Section: National
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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.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said on Wednesday it had implemented the cabinet’s decision to issue the longer-term visas in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi business incubator, HUB71, and the Dubai Future Foundation. The government said the three entities will share knowledge and training to create “a conducive environment for investment and business” and develop strategies to attract entrepreneurs to the country.

“The latest decision ... will have a positive impact on the economy and cement its position as a global business hub,” said Mohammed Rashid Al Hamli, secretary-general of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

Long-term visas, which can be renewed automatically, were first announced in May last year. They allow foreign investors, scientists, entrepreneurs and the brightest students to qualify for five and ten-year visas.

Eligible candidates for the five-year entrepreneur visa must have a business with a minimum capital of Dh500,000 or the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

The Federal Authority said it can also grant five-year visas to three executive directors working for eligible entrepreneurs, provided they commit to working exclusively for the company during the period of the visa.

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.

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.

Khalfan Juma Belhoul, chief executive of Dubai Future Foundation said the renewable visas for entrepreneurs will also apply to their families.

“This will be a personal visa, which will help ensure the independence of the entrepreneur and promote a pro-business environment,” he said.

The government said eligible entrepreneurs must obtain insurance coverage for themselves and their families for the entire residency period.

Entrepreneurs based overseas will also be allowed entry into the country on a six-month multi-entry visa to support the set-up of their business.