Homefront: ‘Can I buy property in Dubai if I am not a resident?’

Non-residents of the UAE can buy properties under the investment or retiree visa programmes


Sunset and Sharjah's skyline on Khalid's lagoon.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

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I am considering making a property investment in Dubai for my retirement. However, I live overseas and don’t have a residence visa to live in the UAE. I also read recently that Dubai is now issuing visas for retirees.

Is it possible to buy a property in the UAE without a residence visa? I am not due to retire for another five years and would like to rent it out to boost my income until then. What would you advise? BR, Ireland

Buying property and holding it long term is an excellent investment. In Dubai, you can get a great return on your property investment when compared with other major cities in the world.

In answer to your question, you can buy property in the UAE without a residence visa. In fact, you have two options to avail: one now and another when you reach the age of 55.

For now, you can apply for a property investor visa. This is issued by the Dubai Land Department and is a two-year renewable visa. With this visa, you are eligible to become a UAE resident, meaning you can obtain an Emirates ID, driving licence and be able to sponsor family as well. You must buy a residential property worth at least Dh1 million.

This is based on the purchase price mentioned on the title deed, and not any future value. When applying for the visa, the property has to be completed and be habitable as well.

The costs involved are approximately Dh13,000 to Dh15,000, which includes administration fees, police clearance letter, application, typing, DED licence issuance, medical test fees, stamping, Emirates ID and entry permit.

The documents required for the application include the title deed, passport copy, a good conduct certificate, bank statements, six photos and a utility bill.

If you decide to wait until you have reached 55 years or older, you can then opt for the retiree visa. This has a validity of five years and can be renewed. The criteria are: a) You have to be 55 years or older; b) You must have valid UAE health insurance; c) You must fulfil one of the following financial criteria: Have either Dh20,000 monthly income, Dh1m in savings or have a property worth Dh2m.

Alternatively, you can have a combination of points two and three, but they must be worth at least Dh2m together.

I have doubts regarding my tenancy contract cancellation. My tenancy contract for an apartment in Sharjah has ended. I cancelled the tenancy contract with the Municipality and the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority connection a week before the lease ended. I received a no-objection letter from the building management to do this. I also handed over the apartment keys to the building security.

When I enquired about my security deposit of Dh2,500, the building management is not responding. I don’t have a receipt or cheque details of my security deposit.

I have not submitted the Municipality cancellation document to them. Now, the building management is threatening to charge me for delayed payments or file a case against me if I don’t submit the contract cancellation document.

Is it wrong to not submit the Municipality cancellation document to the building management? How can I get back my security deposit? AD, Sharjah

The important thing to remember here is to have clear and documented communications. In order to make a clean break from your contract, you will have to submit all your documents from the Municipality and Sewa. These will be needed to prove that you do not have any outstanding fees or dues to pay.

If you delay in showing or giving these documents, the building management will assume you have not cancelled your tenancy and could impose extra charges on you. This is why it is important that you meet with the building management.

In order to make a clean break from your contract, you will have to submit all your documents from the Municipality and Sewa

With reference to your deposit, you say you have no receipt or cheque details to prove that you gave your deposit. But presumably placing a deposit at the start of your tenancy was mandatory, so I’m sure the burden of proof on you is not required. If anything, the building management or agents involved at the time ought to have a copy of the receipt even if you have lost it.

I suggest you organise the meeting where you will be able to show your cancellation documents in return for a clear path to have your deposit back.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com