The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government has outlined immigration changes to the way in which individuals work and reside in the UAE. The following changes, which came into effect on 3 October 2022, are the introduction of new visa categories, in addition to a relaxed application criteria and additional benefits under the Golden Visa scheme.
New short-term visas introduced
Business visas - Only available to eligible entrepreneurs and investors, whom can apply under this category without the need for a local sponsor.
Temporary work visas - Available to eligible foreign nationals who seek to travel to the UAE to undertake temporary work or project-based assignments. Applicants must present a work contract or letter from their employer that confirms the duration of their project in the UAE and a medical certificate at the time of filing their application.
Jobseeker visas - Recently graduated individuals who hold a degree from an approved university, and to skilled workers who hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent can apply. Applicants under this category do not require a UAE national or a local business entity to sponsor or host them.
Visit visas for relatives and friends - Relatives and friends of UAE nationals and residents can benefit from the introduction of this new short-term visa. Note that applicants must present proof of their relationship or friendship with UAE nationals or residents at the time of filing their application, but they do not require a local sponsor to apply for the visa.
Visas for study and/or training - Students or other individuals who seek to pursue courses at UAE universities, educational or research institutes, or attend trainings in the country can apply for this visa.
A five-year multiple entry tourist visa for nationals of all jurisdictions
Last year, a five-year multiple entry tourist visa was introduced by the UAE Government. New changes have been applied and made available to nationals of all jurisdictions. This visa gives holders the right to stay in the UAE for up to 90 consecutive days per calendar year, and with the option to extend for an additional period of up to 90 consecutive days, for a cumulative stay of up to 180 consecutive days in a calendar year.
Applicants must present a passport with a validity of at least six months from the date of filing their application, proof of health insurance, return or onward flight tickets from the UAE and proof that they held at least US$4,000 (or its equivalent in another currency) in their bank account in each of the six months prior to filing their application.
Five-year Green Visa
The Green Visa is a new residence permit granting holders the right of reside in the UAE for up to five years. Availability to the following categories of applicants, who may self-sponsor their application (i.e., they are not required to be sponsored by a local entity) is given:
Self-employed foreign nationals or freelancers
Those who hold a self-employment or freelancing visa issued by the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma in their field. Applicants must have earned at least AED 360,000 annually through self-employment or freelancing assignments in the UAE in the course of the two years prior to filing their application or present proof of funds for the duration of their stay in the UAE.
Eligibility to those who hold an employment contract from a UAE employer, a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) and a job at Occupational Levels 1 or 2 as defined by the MOHRE, with a minimum monthly salary of AED 15,000, is given.
Investors or partners
Investors and or partners seeking to establish or engage in commercial activities in the UAE are eligible for the aforementioned visas. It is required that those applying must have made qualifying investments in the UAE during the time when filing their application, or present proof that their defined investment has been approved by both the targeted business and local authorities. If these applicants seek to invest in more than one entity, evidence of their total invested capital in the UAE or of its approval by the targeted business and local authorities is required.
These types of visas were only previously issued to investors, entrepreneurs and partners whom had the ample amount of financial capital to invest in the UAE. Notwithstanding, new categories are readily available to include individuals with a special talent such as doctors and distinguished students with formidable academic records, provided they meet all requirements:
Investors who purchase a property in the UAE worth at least AED2,000,000 or one or more off-plan properties (i.e., without taking a mortgage) worth at least AED 2,000,000 from approved local real estate companies, or those who take loans from authorised banks in the UAE to purchase a property in the country
Highly skilled professionals who earn a minimum monthly salary of AED 30,000 and hold a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent), relevant work experience, an employment contract with a UAE employer and a job at Occupational Levels 1 or 2 as defined by the MOHRE.
Entrepreneurs who: (a) are owners or partners of start-up businesses registered in the UAE as small and medium businesses which generate annual revenues of at least AED 1,000,000; (b) have secured approval to establish a start-up business in the UAE from a business incubator, the Ministry of Economy or local authorities; or (c) are founders of an entrepreneurial project worth at least AED 7,000,000.
Individuals with phenomenal talent, for example, inventors and innovators in fields in the likes of culture, art, sports and digital technology, holding an approval certificate or a recommendation letter issued by local authorities.
Scientists and researchers with high-level achievements in their field, who hold a recommendation letter issued by the Emirates Scientists Council, and a PhD or Master’s Degree in Engineering, Technology, Life Sciences or Natural Sciences from one of the highest-ranked universities globally.
Excellent, high performing students and graduates who have graduated from a secondary school or university in the UAE or one of the 100 highest-ranked universities globally.
Humanitarian pioneers, for example, the likes of distinguished members of international and regional organisations or public benefit organisations, recipients of prestigious awards in humanitarian fields and distinguished volunteers or sponsors of humanitarian efforts.
Frontline workers with demonstrated remarkable involvement in crises, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, successful Golden Visa holders have the eligibility to receive the following new benefits:
Permitted stay outside the UAE for a continuous period of up to one year.
Have the option to sponsor qualifying family members such opposite sex spouses, and male children under 2, as well as an unlimited number of domestic helpers.
In the case of the principal applicant’s death before the expiry of their dependents may remain in the UAE until the end of the validity period of their individual Golden Visas.
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