In recent years, the UAE has risen through the ranks and become one of, in not the, most popular destination for expats. As part of the country's efforts to attract top quality talent, the authorities introduced the UAE Golden visa scheme.
A Golden visa, as the name suggests, is the highest quality visa. They aren't given out lightly; they're only given to the most talented individuals: investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students, humanitarians, athletes. To qualify for a Golden visa, you need to be bringing something to the table - you need to have something significant to contribute to the country.
In this blog, we'll go through what Golden visas are, what the benefits include, and the requirements for getting one.
What is a Golden Visa?
As the name suggests, Golden visas are the very highest class of visa you can get. They grant the holder long-term residence in the UAE; either 5 or 10 years, depending on the visa type. They allow the holder to live, work or study in the UAE and come with a range of benefits.
What are the benefits of a UAE Golden Visa?
Golden visas come with multiple benefits.
- A long term, renewable residence visa lasting 5 or 10 years
- On a residence visa, if you lose your job, you lose your ability to stay in the UAE. This isn't the case with a golden visa - you have your visa on your own merit, so there's no pressure on you!
- They allow you to leave the UAE for longer than 6 months at a time without invalidating the visa
- You can sponsor family members of any age - this is significant because under any other visa, you can only sponsor males up to 18
- You can sponsor unlimited domestic help
- Any of your family members staying in the UAE are entitled to stay the length of their visa if the Golden Visa holder dies
There are also some Emirate specific benefits. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, for example, holders are entitled to discounts on a number of services, including; cars, property, health care, hospitality, banking and more.
Requirements for a UAE Golden visa
Golden visas can be offered across a number of sectors, but they're only offered to those with something special to contribute to the UAE.
Real Estate Investors
Those investing in property can be granted renewable Golden visas for 5 years if they:
- can provide a letter from the Land Department, stating that they own one or more properties with a value of at least AED 2,000,000
- buy a property with a loan from specific local banks approved by the competent local entity
Those investing in property can be granted renewable Golden visas for 10 years if they can do one of the following:
- provide a letter from an accredited investment fund, stating they have a deposit of at least AED 2,000,000
- provide a valid commercial licence / industrial licence along with a Memorandum of Association saying that their capital is at least AED 2,000,000
- provide a letter from the Federal Tax Authority showing that they pay the government at least AED 250,000 a year.
Alongside whichever requirement they meet, investors must also:
- own the invested capital completely
- have proof of medical insurance for themselves and any family members
Entrepreneurs can be granted Golden visas for 5 years if they own an economic project and can provide letters from:
- an auditor in the UAE stating the project is worth at least AED 500,000
- the authorities of the relevant Emirate, acknowledging that the project is of a technical or future nature
- an accredited business incubator in the UAE to establish the proposed activity in the country
If you're presenting foreign documentation in the UAE it will need to be attested. The process can be complex and long, but don't worry - we can take care of it for you!
People who are highly skilled in specific areas might be eligible for a Golden visa. Different areas and talents have different requirements.
- An approval letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE to practice medicine
- A letter of recommendation from the Emirates Council of Scientist or a letter from the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence, stating that you have been awarded a Medal of Scientific Excellence
- A recommendation from the Ministry of Economy, stating that your patent has an added value to the country's economy
- An approval letter from the Department of Culture and Arts in the respective Emirate
- A copy of the minimum Bachelor's Degree from a university accredited by the Ministry of Education
- A letter of experience, including at least 5 years holding the same position
- A salary certificate showing a salary of at least AED 50,000
- A valid work contract
- A recommendation letter from the General Sports Authority or one of the sports councils
Engineering and Science specialist
- A copy of a Bachelor's or Master's Degree, certified by the Ministry of Education
- A valid work contract
High School students
- A minimum grade of 95%
- A letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Education
University students (in the UAE)
- The university is rated either Class A or Class B by the Ministry of Education
- A recommendation from the university / accredited graduation certificate / accredited academic record stating that your GPA is at least 3.5 for Class A or 3.8 for Class B
- It has been under 2 years since you graduated
University students (overseas)
- The university is ranked in the top 100 (according to the Ministry of Education's ranking system)
- Your GPA is at least 3.5
- It's been under 2 since you graduated
- Your graduation certificate is accredited by the Ministry of Education
Pioneers of humanitarian work
- Have worked for international and regional organisations for at least 5 years
- Have worked for civil associations and institutions of public interest for a minimum of 5 years
- Have received an Appreciation Award from a local, regional or international organisation, focusing on humanitarian work
- Have spent at least AED 2,000,000 on humanitarian work
- They receive a recommendation from the Frontline Heroes Office
Can I get a Golden Visa?
If you think you're eligible, you can apply on the UAE government's site.
Unless you're especially skilled in a specific area or you're a multi-millionaire, then you'll probably have to consider other options for visas; most likely a Work Visa. Once you have a Work Visa, you can apply for a Family Visa to bring your family over with you - we have a dedicated blog on Family visas which you can read here.
If you're thinking about moving to the UAE and you're worrying about visas, we can help take some of the pressure off of you. As part of your visa application you will likely have to submit attested documents to the UAE authorities. Attesting the documents yourself can be a nightmare. It's complicated, time-consuming and it's the last thing you want to be worrying about while you're trying to sort out your visa.
Instead of taking your documents to various Embassies and departments, hoping they're presented right, just send them to us and we'll take them for you. Don't spend your valuable time trying to navigate the tricky attestation process when you can send it to us and we'll take care of it for you. You can focus on the other aspects - let us lighten the load for you!