The UAE Golden Visa system has generated quite a buzz among certain groups of expatriates looking to secure permanent residence in the United Arab Emirates since its introduction.
You already know that the UAE golden visa is a special residency visa that allows holders to remain in any of the Emirates as residents for up to ten years, which enables foreign talents to live, and work or study in the UAE while enjoying exclusive benefits.
With the new changes being implemented from September 2022, the UAE Golden Visa is expected to further enhance the UAE’s position as one of the world’s central hub for global business and investment.
Here is everything you need to know about the UAE Golden Visa, its eligibility criteria, its cost, benefits, application process and more.
Who is eligible for the Golden Visa?
Aimed at attracting and retaining talents, the UAE has now announced considerable amendments to its Golden Visa scheme by adding six (6) new expanded categories.
From September 2022, the expanded categories of 10-year visas will come into effect with other visa reforms.
According to UAE official government website, you are eligible for the UAE Golden visa if you fall under any one of the below categories:
Public and real estate investors are covered in the recently expanded categories.
Real estate investors can obtain the UAE golden visa if:
- purchase a property worth no less than AED 2 million, or
- purchase a property with a loan from specified local banks, or
- purchase one or more completed or off-plan properties no less than AED 2 million from a list of approved local real estate companies.
Entrepreneurs can obtain a Golden visa if they fulfil one of the following conditions:
- own or partner in a start-up registered as a small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE, and the company generates annual revenues of not less than AED one million
- obtain an approval for a start-up idea from an official business incubator or from Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities.
- must have founded an entrepreneurial project that was sold for a total amount of not less than AED seven million.
3. Exceptional talents
Exceptional talents, inventors, innovators, and talents in vital fields such as culture, art, sports and digital technology can apply for and obtain a UAE golden visa regardless of their educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary or professional level.
The visa requires a recommendation or approval from a federal or local government entity.
The Golden Visa will be granted to scientists and researchers with high achievements and influence in their field, who meet the following conditions:
- candidate should have a PhD or a Master’s degree in the areas of engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from the best universities in the world, as well as substantial research achievements.
- must have a recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.
Professionals or highly-skilled workers with high educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines, including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences can get the Golden visa if they:
- have a valid employment contract in the UAE
- are classified in the first or second occupational level as per the classification of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- have a monthly salary of not be less than AED 30,000.
6. Outstanding students and graduates
High performing students in the UAE’s secondary schools and outstanding graduates from the UAE’s universities and the best 100 universities worldwide are also eligible to apply for the 10-year Visa.
There are of course several criteria’s including; academic performance/cumulative grade average, year of graduation and the university classification.
7. Humanitarian pioneers
Humanitarian pioneers such as the following can get the Golden visa:
- distinguished members of international or regional charitable organisations
- outstanding members of associations of public benefit
- recipients of recognition awards in humanitarian fields
- distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts.
8. Frontline heroes
Frontline workers with extraordinary efforts in crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic can also get the Golden visa.
The UAE has been granting doctors and nurses, the first line of defence, a long-term residency in “recognition of their efforts and sacrifices”.
Benefits of Golden Visa
Some of the benefits of the Golden Visa in the UAE are as follows:
- 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.
Exclusive health-care packages
The UAE golden visa holders are now eligible for special health care and health insurance packages. These exclusive health insurance plans will start from just under Dhs2400. The plans will cover claims of up to Dhs20,000,000. Three levels of cover will be available; Core Silver, Enhanced Gold and Premier.
All UAE golden visa holders and their dependents are eligible for these health insurance plans, which are subject to annual renewal.
Additional Benefit in Dubai – Dubai Police Esaad privilege card
Based on an announcement made in July, the UAE golden visa holders would now be eligible to avail of the Esaad privilege card issued by the Dubai Police.
The Esaad Card was established in 2017 by Dubai Police to offer holders discounts in shops, education, health, housing, restaurants, theme parks, hotels and more. Exclusive offers and discounts are available for cardholders at 7,237 brands and businesses within the UAE and across 92 countries worldwide.
This card entitles holders and UAE golden visa residents to special privileges including:
- up to 40 percent off school fees at the American School of Creative Science,
- 50 percent off stays at Kempinski Palm Jumeirah and Habtoor Palace Dubai,
- 70 percent off At The Top in the Burj Khalifa,
- 30 per cent off study programmes at the Institute for Management Technology,
- 35% off at Chill Out Ice Lounge Dubai,
- discounts on Fly Dubai flights, restaurants, and many more.
You might also like: 5-year Green residency Visa and other new UAE visa’s effective from September
How much does it cost?
The cost to get the 10-year visa is competent as compared to similar schemes elsewhere.
For applicants currently in the UAE, the 10-year visa will cost between Dh2,800 and Dh3,800.
But for applicants outside of the UAE, the Golden Visa will cost between Dh3,800 and Dh4,800.
Additionally, the applicant will have to pay around Dh1,000 for a medical check-up and Emirates ID processing fee. Also the applicant is required to take a UAE health insurance, the price of which varies, but starts from Dh800.
How to apply for the UAE Golden Visa?
If any individual in the UAE falls under the aforesaid categories, they can apply for the Golden Visa through the website of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP).
The process begins by submitting the application through the authority’s smart platforms, filling in the data, and attaching the required documents, and paying the service fees in a secure electronic way.
Abu Dhabi has launched a Thrive in Abu Dhabi programme to promote Golden Visa. To know more about the Golden Visa in Abu Dhabi and ‘Thrive in Abu Dhabi’ programme, click here.