The United Arab Emirates has significantly expanded its visa and resident permit offerings, updating the ways people can visit, live and work in the Middle Eastern country.
The expansion now covers 10 types of visas, with some enjoying simplified requirements and allowing more dependents to join the primary visa holders.
UAE officials called the updated policy “a step that supports the country's competitiveness in the tourism, economic and educational sectors,” in a statement posted on their official Twitter account.
It went into effect Oct. 3 after first being announced in April. The changes were approved by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president, prime minister and Ruler of Dubai.
UAE is offering a Green Visa
Among the new options is the “Green Visa,” which can eliminate the need for a UAE national or company as a sponsor. Types of workers eligible for this visa, which is valid for five years, are freelancers and self-employed people, provided they can provide proof of having annual income at least AED 360,000 (about $98,000 U.S. dollars).
Other eligible people for Green Visas are commercial business investors and skilled workers. UAE’s immigration policy defines skilled workers as those who have employment contracts and are in fields like science, agriculture, construction and machine operators.
Business investors could get two-year permits.
Compared to the regular resident visas, the Green Visa adjoins family members more easily (spouse, children and first-degree relatives). Unmarried daughters of any age can join, and male children up to 25 years old (older than the previous 18 years) can be sponsored for permits by their parents who are the primary visa holders.
UAE’s expands its Golden Visa
UAE’s so-called Golden Visa was also expanded and is renewable for up to 10 years. Eligible people include investors; people of exceptional talent in arts, sports and digital technology; scientists; students; humanitarian workers; and frontline workers aiding in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
UAE will also continue to offer residency permits for property owners and retirees.
UAE’s tourist visas were expanded to allow up to 60 days, double the previous 30 days. There is also a five-year multi-entry visa that allows visits in the UAE for up to 90 days.
“Indeed, the UAE, especially Dubai, is expecting huge inward movement and an increase in new visas, such as ones for investors, employees, technical experts and retired people,” said Sameer Vayalil, director of business development for the Office of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Faisal Al Qassimi. He also works for a firm branded as Company in Dubai, which helps provide visas and Dubai moving assistance.
“Since the post-COVID scenario, Dubai is bouncing back in terms of tourism arrivals, trade activity and new sets of entrepreneurs starting up businesses,” Vayalil added.
More visa options aim to keep UAE competitive
Vayalil acknowledged that the world's investment immigration market is competitive, “but Dubai and the UAE have their own charm and attractions. Many people across the world perceive this place as the most secure, safe and as a tax-free haven. The changes the UAE government has brought will continue to attract direct foreign investment, bringing people in from across the world in various segments.”
Harish Chander, an Abu Dhabi-based property advisor at Kennedy Property who works with UAE developers, Golden Visa applicants and the hospitality industry, also predicted increased worldwide interest in the UAE following its visa program expansion.
“Skilled professionals on salaries of AED30,000, or about USD $8,100 a month or more, will find it easier to secure a 10-year visa,” he said.
Chander touted the benefits of Dubai, calling it an “international investors paradise” in a safe and secure environment, with a low-tax economy, strong banking, modern transport, high-end health care and lively entertainment.
“Every day is a holiday quality of life,” he said.
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