Residence Visa to UAE: How You Can Obtain It in 2023

Learn how to obtain a residence visa for the UAE through investments, property purchases, work contracts, or educational pursuits. Explore the various visa types, advantages, and eligibility criteria. Secure your long-term residency in the UAE with expert guidance.

You can get a visa to the UAE if you invest at least US$ 205,000. If you spend this (or larger) sum on purchasing real property in the country, you and your family members can qualify for 2-year residence visas. The longest possible visa validity term is 10 years. The visa can be renewed an infinite number of times. This means that you can remain a legal resident of the UAE for as long as you wish even though you will not be able to become a citizen of the country. You have to visit the UAE once or twice a year (depending on the visa type) and spend a day in the country to retain your visa. These are just the basic facts about the residence visa to the United Arab Emirates and now we will discuss the opportunities of acquiring one in more detail.

What is a residence visa to the UAE?

The UAE issues no temporary or permanent residence permits. Becoming a full-fledged citizen of the country is virtually impossible if you were born somewhere else. (If one of the Sheiks is your personal friend, he may grant you citizenship of the UAE.) However, establishing permanent residence in the country is still possible for foreigners. They are eligible to apply for residence visas that can be extended infinitely. The visa validity terms vary between 6 months and 10 years.

Advantages of a residence visa to the UAE

Holders of residence visas enjoy the same advantages in the UAE as holders of residence permits enjoy in European countries. The visa holder can do the following things:

  • Stay in the UAE for extended periods;
  • Freely leave and re-enter the country;
  • Live outside the UAE for the best part of the year;
  • Open a bank account in the UAE and take out a loan;
  • Become a tax resident of the UAE;
  • Start a business venture in the country;
  • Work for local companies;
  • Send the children to a local school;
  • Attend a local university;
  • Buy a medical insurance policy and use the healthcare services;
  • Apply for a driving license;
  • Apply for a Schengen visa or a visa to the USA;
  • Apply for visas for the family members.

How you can acquire a residence visa to the UAE

A foreign national can become eligible for a residence visa to the UAE on the following (alternative) legal grounds:

  • A job contract with a company registered in the UAE;
  • Study in a UAE university or some other educational institution;
  • Company registration in one of the Free Economic Zones in the UAE;
  • Purchase of real property in the country;
  • Large investments in the local economy;
  • Outstanding achievement in science and art;
  • Retirement on the condition of a guaranteed sufficient income;
  • Freelance and remote work on the condition of a sufficient income.

A male applicant for a residence visa to the UAE can bring the following relative with him:

  • Wife;
  • Sons of up to 18 years of age;
  • Daughters of any age if they are not married;
  • Parents.

When applying for residence visas for his family members, the male applicant has to act as their sponsor. He has to prove that he has at least 1,090 dollars per month to sustain them.

Female applicants also can bring their relatives but the requirements are tougher. Women from other countries can qualify for residence visas to the UAE if their monthly income is 2,722 dollars or more and if they work in education, medicine, or engineering. Foreign women can bring only their husbands and children to the UAE.

Types of residence visas to the UAE

1 or 2-year visa

Foreigners employed by UAE-based companies are eligible to apply for 1 or 2-year residence visas depending on the term of their job contracts.

Students of local universities can apply for 1-year visas and renew them until their studies are over.

2-year visa

You can qualify for a 2-year residence visa if you purchase real property in the Emirates that is worth at least 205,000 US dollars. The investment will also make your family members eligible for residence visas. The visas can be extended many times.

5-year visa

The following categories of foreign nationals are eligible to apply for residence visas in the UAE

  • Freelancers, the self-employed and remote workers who make at least 4,084 dollars per month;
  • Owners of UAE-based companies whose registered capital is at least 500,000 dirhams;
  • Talented students with a high grade point average.

Since September 2022, foreign investors who buy real estate in the UAE that is worth 2 million dirhams or more qualify for 10-year visas instead of 5-year visas as it used to be before.

In addition to that, a foreign retiree can apply for a five-year visa to the UAE. The retiree has to be over 55 years of age. He or she has to purchase property that is worth at least 2 million dirhams or have at least 1 million dirhams in a bank. Alternatively, the retiree can demonstrate having a stable income of at least 20,000 dirhams per month.

10-year visa

A ten-year residence visa to the UAE is sometimes referred to as a ‘golden visa to the UAE’. The following categories of foreign nationals are eligible to apply for 10-year visas:

  • Owners of real estate in the UAE that is worth at least 2 million dirhams (around 545,000 US dollars). The foreign investors have to retain the property in their possession if they plan to extend the visas in the future.
  • Foreign nationals who invest at least 10 million dirhams in the UAE economy. Several investment options are available. First, you can deposit 10 million in a local bank. Second, you can start a company with a registered capital of 10 million or more. In this case, an executive director and a business consultant will also be eligible for residence visas as well as the members of their families. Besides, you can make other types of investments on the condition that their amount is not less than 10 million dirhams.  
  • Highly qualified specialists: doctors, scientists, inventors, cultural figures, and heads of internationally recognized companies or institutions. The specialist shall have a job contract with a UAE organization. Scientists have to be approved by the UAE Council of Scientists, artists approved by the Ministry of Culture, and inventors approved by the Ministry of Economy.  

All the visas listed above are extendable. The visas can be extended an unlimited number of times if the foreign national preserves the legal foundations on which he or she has been granted a residence visa. For example, if the job contract is extended, the visa can be extended. If the real estate remains in the foreigner’s possession after the visa expires, it can be extended. If the foreign investor still has 10 million dirhams on his/ her bank account, the visa can be extended. If the company owner keeps the company going, the visa can be extended.

The visa extension opportunity actually makes it possible to legally reside in the United Arab Emirates until the end of your life. If you are happy with the hot climate, you can relocate to the UAE for good.