The new 5-year Green residency visa, multiple entry tourist visas and job hunting entry permits are among the several residency reforms going into effect from September. The new visas and entry permits are part of some of the UAE’s largest entry and residency reforms.
Expatriates who live and work in the UAE as well as visitors will benefit greatly from this new system. This will also enable the Emirates an even more investor-friendly country for foreigners and high net worth individuals seeking a long-term presence in the UAE. These changes also represent a move to a more flexible and modern immigration and employment system.
As per the UAE Cabinet decision announced in mid-April, all these new executive regulations related to entry and residence laws will come into force after 90 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
- UAE’s Green visa
- Job visa
- Multi-entry tourist visa
- Temporary work visa
- Business visa
- Visa to visit relatives/friends
- Visa for study/training
- Family visa
- Golden Visa
Let’s look into the list of visas that were announced in April. Most of them will come into force from September and a few of them have already been introduced.
1. UAE’s Green visa
The UAE’s Green Visa is a type of residence visa, that allows its holder to sponsor himself/herself for 5 years, eliminating the need of a UAE national or employer to sponsor his/her visa.
Benefits of Green visa
The Green visa provides more benefits to family members, compared to the regular residency visa. Benefits are:
- getting residence permits easily for family members, including spouse, children and first-degree relatives
- the ability to sponsor their male children up to 25 years (previously 18 years), with no age limit for unmarried daughters
- children of determination (those with special needs) are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age
- longer flexible grace periods that reach up to 6 months to stay in the UAE after the residence permit is cancelled or has expired.
- the new Green visa holders can work without the sponsorship of a company
The residency of family members will be the same as that of the original residence visa holder.
Who can apply for a Green visa?
Below categories can apply for a Green visa:
a) Freelancers/self-employed people
Freelancers and/or self-employed people who wish to apply for a Green visa need to submit:
- a freelance/self-employment permit from Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- proof of a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma
- evidence of annual income from self-employment for the previous two years for an amount not less than AED 360,000, or prove financial solvency throughout their stay in the UAE.
b) Skilled employees
To apply for a Green visa, skilled employees must :
- have a valid employment contract
- be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- hold a minimum of bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- have a salary of not less than AED 15,000.
c) Investors or partners
The Green visa for investors is given to investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence visa that was valid for 2 years only. Requirements include:
- approval of the investment and proof of investment (If the investor/partner has more than one licence, the total invested capital will be calculated.)
- approval of the competent local authorities.
2. Job visa
The special visa for job seekers will make it more simple for people to enter the country and ‘explore job opportunities’ in the UAE. This visa will not require any sponsor or a host and it will be granted to bachelor’s degree holders or its equivalent, fresh graduates of the best 500 universities in the world as well as those classified in the first, second or third skill levels as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The UAE government has opened up the country to welcome new talent in the country across various sectors. This job seeker visa encourage people to come here and look for jobs and make the UAE as their long term home. With this visa in effect, even the sectors are to benefit, such as the telecommunication sector, the immigration department, the Dubai Metro, the real estate sector, airlines, business and many more. Thus, it provides a win-win situation for all stakeholders related to the job market.
3. Multi-entry tourist visa
The United Arab Emirates’ five-year tourist visa lets tourists enter the country multiple times over five years on self-sponsorship; you can enter any place in the UAE, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has opened the application process for all nationalities and foreign travelers who wish to apply for this type of Visa.
The new five-year multi-entry tourist visa doesn’t require a sponsor and allows the person to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days; it can be extended for another 90 days. A person can stay a maximum of 180 days on this tourist visa.
To meet the eligibility criteria to get this visa, the applicant must provide a passport with six-month validity at the time of submission, a passport size photograph, medical insurance valid for the UAE. The applicant should also have a bank balance of $4,000 (Dhs14,700) or its equivalent in foreign currencies in the last six months before applying. Applications undergo scrutiny and extensive review because it is a five-year multiple entry visa.
This visa is aimed to enhance travel to the UAE and make life easier for UAE residents and extended family members.
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4. Temporary work visa
The temporary work mission visa, allows people to fly in for a limited period under sponsorship to complete a task or project.
Those who have a temporary work assignment, such as probation testing or project-based work, can apply for this visa. Candidates need to submit a temporary work contract or a letter from the employer and proof of fitness.
5. Business visa
Investors and entrepreneurs can apply for a business visa without requiring a sponsor or a host.
6. Visa to visit relatives/friends
A foreigner can apply for this visa if he/she is a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or a resident. This does not require a sponsor or a host.
7. Visa for study/training
This visa is meant for people or students who want to attend training, study courses and internship programmes in the UAE.
This visa can be sponsored by both public and private sector educational and research institutes. It requires a letter from the entity clarifying the details of the study or training or internship programme and its duration.
8. Family visa
Both, employers and employees with a valid UAE residence visa can sponsor residence visas for their families. Unlike before, employees can sponsor their families regardless of their job titles if they earn a minimum salary of AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus accommodation. Clearing medical fitness examination applies to all newcomers who have completed the age of 18.
Previously, parents could sponsor their children under 18 years only. Now male children can be sponsored till the age of 25. Disabled children also get a special permit, and unmarried daughters can be sponsored for an indefinite time.
Note: A resident sponsor has 60 days to apply for his dependents’ residence visa after they enter the UAE under an entry permit.
9. Golden Visa
The Golden Visa is a long-term residency visa which enables foreign talents to live and work or study in the UAE for up to 10 years. This golden residency scheme is renewable and reserved for certain categories ranging from investors to individuals with exceptional talents.
Benefits of Golden Visa
Golden Visa holders can enjoy the following exclusive benefits:
- an entry visa for six months with multiple entries to proceed with residence issuance
- a long term, renewable residence visa valid for 10 years
- a self-sponsored visa, as there is no need for an employment sponsor
- ability to stay outside the UAE for more than the usual restriction of six months in order to keep their residence visa valid
- sponsoring their family members, including spouse and children regardless of their ages
- sponsoring unlimited number of domestic helpers
- allowing family members to stay in the UAE until the end of their permit duration, if the primary holder of the Golden visa passes away.
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Who can apply for Golden Visa?
Below is the list of Golden Visas for different categories:
Real estate: A minimum investment of Dh2 million in real estate is required to be eligible for the visa. Investors buying property on the mortgage and off-plan properties are also allowed if their combined total investment is Dh2 million or above.
Startups: Entrepreneurs can now avail of Golden Visa under three categories – (1) startup is registered in the country, (2) should fall under SME, (3) and annual revenue should be Dh1 million or above.
Scientists: People who are dexterous in their field can apply for Golden Visa if they meet the following requirements – a recommendation from Emirates Science Council and PhD or Master’s degree from a top university in life science, natural sciences, technology and engineering.
Exceptional talent: People who have exceptional talent in the field of art, culture, digital technology, sports, innovation, medicine and law can apply for Golden Visa. They need a recommendation letter or approval from the relevant government entity.
Skilled workers: Applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree, a valid contract of employment, a line of employment must fall under the occupational level one or two as defined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and a minimum monthly salary of Dh30,000.
Students: Exceptional students who have obtained high scores in UAE secondary schools and universities or those who fall under the best 100 universities worldwide can apply for the Golden Visa.