UAE visa options: How you can stay in the country long-term

Authorities in Dubai are promoting a visa that allows residents of other countries to retire in the emirate

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Dubai is promoting a visa allowing retirees to benefit from the UAE’s year-round sunshine.

People from all over the world can apply for a five -ear renewable retirement visa that would allow them to settle in the emirate, providing they meet a range of criteria.

Applicants must be older than 55 and have valid UAE health insurance.

They must also either earn a monthly income of Dh20,000; have Dh1 million in cash savings; or own Dh2m worth of property in Dubai.

But there are several ways to remain in the country long-term without an employment visa.

The National explains.

Property visa

Anyone who owns a property worth more than Dh1million is eligible to apply for this two-year visa.

But the property must not have an outstanding mortgage of more than 50 per cent, said Keren Bobker, an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai and a columnist with The National.

In addition, they must also have an income of at “least Dh10,000 per month from a verifiable source, but not from employment in the UAE,” she said.

“Any application must be made to the Dubai Economic Department and Dubai Land Department for consideration and visas are granted on a case-by-case basis and approval is by no means auto­matic,” said Ms Bobker.

Property visas do not permit people to work in the UAE.

Investor visa

Those who own property worth Dh5 million or more are eligible for a five-year residency visa. Those who hold an investment through a deposit in an established company or a business partnership worth Dh10m or more will be granted a renewable residency visa every 10 years.

Others who have made various investments of no less than Dh10m, including property – which must be worth no more than 40 per cent of the total investment – also qualify for a renewable residency visa every 10 years. Both the property or investment must be wholly owned, not mortgaged, to qualify for this.

Entrepreneurs with a previous project worth a minimum of Dh500,000, or those with the approval of an accredited business incubator in the UAE, can be granted a five-year visa, with the possibility of upgrading to an investor visa, provided they meet requirements.

Golden visas

Investors, entrepreneurs, chief executives, scientists, outstanding students and doctors are all eligible to apply for this scheme, which grants the holder a renewable 10-year visa.

Announced in 2019, thousands of people living in the UAE have already received a golden visa.

At the time of the announcement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said 6,800 investors and residents, worth an estimated Dh100 billion, from 70 countries, were chosen to receive the visa.

More than 200 doctors in Dubai were granted the visa for their work to protect the emirate against Covid-19 in May.

Sheikh Mohammed gave the order in appreciation for the healthcare workers' "selfless dedication to caring for infected patients".

Retiree visas

Retiree visas are also available to anyone wishing to retire in the UAE. It grants non-Emiratis over the age of 55 the ability to stay in the country, provided that they have an investment property worth at least Dh2 million, or financial savings of Dh1m, or an active monthly income of Dh20,000 or more.

The visa is valid for five years with the possibility of automatic renewal for those who wish to stay longer and still meet the eligibility criteria.


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