The UAE Cabinet has approved one of the biggest overhauls of the visa residency system in years.
The new model, in some cases, ends the need for arrivals to acquire sponsorship.
People who enter as visitors will be able to stay for 60 days, rather than 30 days at present. The changes will come into effect by September.
Parents can sponsor their male children until the age of 25, up from 18, allowing them to remain in the UAE after school and university. This was first set out in September 2021.
The Golden Visa system will also be expanded, while new entry visas to make it easier for jobseekers, particularly graduates, to visit the country will be available.
Skilled professionals on salaries of Dh30,000 ($8,100) a month or more will find it easier to gain an Golden Visa.
The UAE Government Media Office announced the changes, approved by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday.
The announcement is the formal ratification by the Cabinet of a series of recent visa changes, plus new details and decisions, which are known as executive regulations.
“The new system of entry and residence is aimed at attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers,” a media office statement said.
More flexible visas will boost “competitiveness and flexibility of the job market and foster high sense of stability among UAE residents and families".
New benefits for family members
The new system provides more benefits for family members.
A parent can now sponsor a male child to the age of 25 years, up from 18. A parent can sponsor an unmarried daughter indefinitely.
Children with disabilities are granted a residence permit permanently, regardless of their age.
The Green visa residence holder is allowed to bring any first-degree relative into the country and, in all cases, the residency of family members shall be of the same duration as the original residence holder.
Job exploration entry visa
This visa is introduced with the aim of attracting young talents and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities. It does not require a sponsor or a host.
It is granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and to the latest graduates of the best 500 universities in the world. The minimum educational level should be a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
Multi-entry tourist visa
In addition to the regular tourist visa, a five-year, multi-entry tourist visa was introduced.
This type does not require a sponsor and it allows the person to stay in the country up to 90 days in a row. It may be extended for a similar period, provided that the entire period of stay does not exceed 180 days in one year.
This visa requires proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies during the last six months before submitting the application.
Golden visa for sponsoring family and domestic workers
Amendments are introduced to the Golden Residence Scheme to simplify the eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries.
This 10-year residence is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.
A Golden Residence holder can sponsor his/her family members including spouse and children regardless of their age, and to sponsor domestic workers without limiting their number. There is no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residence valid.
There are other benefits for family members that allow them to stay in the UAE in the event of the death of the original holder of the Golden Residence until the end of their permit duration.
Golden visa for scientists
This is granted to scientists and researchers of high calibre and influence in their field based on recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.
The candidate should have a PhD or master's degree in the disciplines of engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from leading universities. The candidate should have substantial research achievements.
Golden visa for skilled professionals
An expansion is introduced in this category to attract highly skilled workers with educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences.
Applicants should have a valid employment contract in the UAE and should be classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification.
The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the monthly salary should not be less than Dh30,000.
Golden visa for 'exceptional talents'
This is granted to top talents in vital fields. It is awarded based on talent only, regardless of the educational qualification or the employment status or the monthly salary or professional level.
It requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity, and includes talented individuals in culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators and other vital fields.
Golden visa for real estate investors
Real estate investors can obtain Golden Residence when purchasing a property worth no less than Dh2 million ($540,000).
As per the new amendments, investors are also entitled to obtain the Golden Residence when purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks. Investors can also obtain Golden Residence when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than Dh2m from approved local real estate companies.
Golden Residence for Entrepreneurs
To be eligible for Golden Residence, an entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a start-up registered in the country in the category of small and medium enterprises (SME) that generates annual revenue of not less than Dh1m.
If the person is one of the founders of an earlier entrepreneurial project that was sold with a total value of not less than Dh7m, he or she will be entitled to Golden Residence. The approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is required for projects or ideas.
Golden visa for outstanding students and graduates
This residence targets high performing students in UAE secondary schools and outstanding graduates from UAE universities and the best 100 universities worldwide according to criteria that includes their academic performance, the year of graduation, and the university classification.
Green visa for skilled employees and freelancers
A new track that provides a five-year residency for skilled employees, without sponsor or employer.
The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and the salary should not be less than Dh15,000.
Green visa for investor or partner
This residence is introduced to encourage investment. It provides five-year residency for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence that was valid for two years.
Requirements including approval of the investment and proof of investment. If the investor has more than one licence, the total invested capital will be calculated.