Abu Dhabi offers exclusive benefits to golden visa holders

They will be entitled to discounts and offers on cars, property, health care, hospitality, health insurance and banking services

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Golden visa holders in Abu Dhabi are being offered exclusive commercial benefits to encourage investment in the emirate.

They will be entitled to discounts and offers on cars, property, health care, hospitality, health insurance and banking services, according to the Abu Dhabi Residents Office, a division of the emirate’s Department of Economic Development.

The office has teamed up with companies across a range of industries to offer the incentives.

It said the aim is to help accelerate the assimilation of golden visa holders into Abu Dhabi’s business community and further incentivise investment in the emirate’s economic development.

“We’re taking all the necessary measures to ensure our vital sectors have an uninterrupted supply of world-class talent,” the office's acting executive director Hareb Al Mheiri said on Thursday.

“We have a responsibility to support golden visa holders with the services and benefits that would facilitate a comfortable life in Abu Dhabi and contribute to the success of their businesses and investments.”

Golden visas, which are valid for up to 10 years, were introduced to encourage “exceptional workers and foreign investors” to put down deeper roots in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi’s golden visa offers long-term residence to talented and specialist people for five or 10 years, the office said.

This includes professionals and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge, such as doctors, scientists and inventors.

The programme is also open to talented creatives and athletes, as well as business and real estate investors in the emirate.

The golden visa is also offered to high-performing university students and high-school pupils in Abu Dhabi, and cover their parents and dependent siblings, according to the office's website.

The global residence citizenship-by-investment industry is valued at $21.4 billion annually, according to 2019 statistics by Investment Migration Insider, a publication focused on the sector. By 2025, the magazine predicts the market could generate $100bn in revenue.

The price tag for a second citizenship (popularly referred to as a “golden passport”) or permanent residence (“golden visa”) ranges from $100,000 to $2.5m, the International Monetary Fund says.

Such programmes date back at least to the 1980s, when low tax havens in the Pacific and Caribbean began to attract wealthy foreigners.

Under the Abu Dhabi Residents Office's commercial partnerships, Abu Dhabi golden visa holders will be entitled to discounts on selected properties from developer Imkan Properties.

Banks, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank, will offer real estate golden visa investors reduced mortgage fixed-interest rates and non-real estate investors attractive rates on savings accounts.

Golden visa holders will also be eligible for price reductions on cars and will receive priority booking for new releases, in addition to special payment facilities, maintenance offers and licensing services, according to the statement.

They will also enjoy special offers for dining, spa treatments, gyms and stays at selected hospitality destinations in Abu Dhabi.

The benefits will also include reduced premiums on annual health insurance plans for families and individuals, with diverse network coverage and a bundle of benefits both inside and outside the UAE, the office said.

The agency is working to expand the benefits and promotions to include other visa category holders, said Mr Al Mheiri.

Foreign residents in Dubai who have a golden visa and a driving licence from their home country can now take a UAE test without needing extra lessons, the government said in January this year. If they have a licence from one of 32 approved countries, they are automatically eligible for a UAE licence.

Approved countries include the US, the UK, Australia, Italy, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Qatar, Kuwait and Ireland.

A centre at Abu Dhabi's Masdar City Free Zone accepts and processes golden visas for eligible candidates and their families.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 4:04 PM