A Guide to Dubai Residence Visas for Investors

Table of Contents

The real estate sector has always been one of the most crucial growth factors of Dubai’s economy. The emirate’s government has consistently introduced and implemented various policy initiatives and projects to enhance this sector and as a result, has preserved investor trust and augment foreign investments.

So, in 2019, the UAE government launched the Golden Visa programme, which enables property investors and their families to obtain a long-term visa. There are a total of 4 types of visas for investors in the country: a 3-year investor visa, a 5-year Green Visa, a 10-year Golden Visa and a retirement visa. Below we look at the key features of each visa in detail, including the criteria, cost and application process.

Investor Visas

Previously, a 5-year Golden Visa was the most popular among the UAE investor visas and could be obtained when purchasing ready residential properties of AED 5M (USD 1.36M) or more. But thanks to new amendments to the UAE visa law, which came into force on October 3rd, 2022, the threshold for obtaining the Golden Visa has been lowered to AED 2M (USD 545K). And if your property investment amounts AED 750K (USD 205K) or more, you become eligible for a 3-year investor visa, as per the Dubai Land Department’s Taskeen Programme.

All these visas can be renewed an unlimited number of times and apply to your family members (spouse and children). Below we will outline the requirements and features of all available options for potential investors.

 

3-Year Residence Visa

If you purchase a completed residential property with a minimum value of AED 750k in Dubai, you will be able to apply for a 3-year Investor Visa. After obtaining it, you can receive an Emirates ID which is required for opening a local bank account, getting a driving licence and more.

Those who own mortgaged real estate can still apply for an investor visa if they have made an investment of at least AED 750K. To do so, the relevant bank statement must be submitted along with the application. Expats who own between 1 and 3 residential properties with a total value of at least AED 750K are also eligible to apply for an investor visa.

If the property is purchased on a loan, 50% of its value or at least AED 750K must be paid at the time of application. You also have to provide a No Objection Certificate and a mortgage bank statement.

You can apply online along with your documents via the DLD Vault website or the Dubai REST application. Once your application is approved, you will be required to pay the necessary fees at the Cube Centre at the DLD Head Office. It will cost you at least AED 15K (USD 4.1K) to get this type of visa, and the whole procedure takes 3-5 working days. Your visa will remain valid as long as the property is in your possession.

NBD! The holder of a 3-year visa must not spend more than 6 months per year outside the Emirates.

5-Year Green Visa

The Green Visa is a completely new type of residency that allows expats to sponsor themselves and their family without any assistance from UAE employers/citizens. Categories of individuals who can obtain this visa include investors setting up a business or engaging in commercial activities, freelancers and skilled professionals.

Green Visa holders are allowed to stay in the UAE for a grace period of 6 months after the cancellation or expiry of their residency. Other benefits of the Green Visa include the ability to sponsor sons under the age of 25, as well as unmarried daughters and children with disabilities without any age restrictions.

Investors should meet the following requirements in order to obtain a Green Visa:

  • Permission from the competent local authorities
  • Approval and confirmation of the investment (with more than one license, the total capital will be taken into account).

If applying for a freelance visa, you need to submit a freelance permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, a bachelor’s certificate and a proof of annual self-employment income from the previous 2 years of at least AED 360K (USD 98K).

NBD! It is also possible to obtain a freelance visa in the UAE which requires employer’s sponsorship, for a period of 3 years.

10-Year Golden Visa

If you already own a property of a specified value, you can also apply for the Golden Visa. All assets purchased must remain in the applicant’s possession for at least 3 years. If required, the Golden Visa real estate can be purchased through a loan from select local banks.

The 10-year investor visa allows holders to sponsor their families, including children, regardless of their age, as well as any domestic staff, asnd an adviser and an executive. In addition, under the latest amendments, family members are allowed to stay in the UAE for the entire duration of the Golden Visa residency, even in the event of the death of the principal visa holder. And unlike the previous rules, where the limit of a grace period is no more than 180 days, Golden Residence visas remain valid even if you are out of the country for more than 6 months. It takes 7 to 10 working days to obtain this type of visa.

Golden Visa holders can also apply for the Esaad card, which offers attractive discounts on goods and services from over 7,000 brands in 92 countries worldwide, in addition to the UAE.

NBD! When buying an off-plan property, the investor can also qualify for a 10-year residence visa, but only after the property has been completed. This requirement applies to 3-year investor visas as well.

A Guide to Dubai Residence Visas for Investors

Retirement Visa

This type of visa is aimed at elderly investors who are at least 55 years old and is granted for a period of 5 years. Applicants for this type of visa must have UAE medical insurance at the time of application. The applicant is also required to meet one of the criteria mentioned below:

  • Monthly income of AED 20K (USD 5.4K)
  • At least AED 1M (USD 272K) in savings
  • Purchased a local property worth at least AED 2M solely with one’s own funds

This visa type can be renewed every 5 years as long as all of the conditions mentioned above are met. The holder of this visa is still allowed to work while being a retiree. They can also sponsor their spouses and children (school and student age).

 

NBD! In Dubai, the minimum qualifying monthly income for a retirement visa is AED 15K (USD 4K).

Additional terms

Each of the visas described above requires the applicant to own a property worth at least AED 750K. These include freehold completed hotel apartments, townhouses, villas, offices, serviced apartments, warehouses and residential apartments. On the other hand, contested, rented and off-plan properties do not qualify for investor visas.

If the investment is a joint venture between spouses, they can still apply for an investor visa, with a certified marriage certificate attached to their application.

 

What Documents Must Be Provided during the Application Process?

Every applicant must provide the following set of documents along with the documents mentioned above:

  • Property deed
  • Passport copy
  • Copy of their current visa
  • Certificate of Good Conduct
  • Health insurance
  • Bank statement for the last 6 months

Before contacting the registrar, we recommend that you contact your visa advisor and make sure that you have the complete set of respective documents before starting the process.

The Application Process

The process of application for Dubai residence investor visas is as follows:

  1. Firstly, the investor must go to the Dubai Land Department (DLD) and bring their passport, title deed, and a copy of their current visa page, if they have one, and request a reference letter that should then be submitted to the Dubai Police.
  2. Based on this reference letter, the visa applicant has to get a certificate of good conduct from the Dubai Police.
  3. Then, the applicant must go to the Dubai Economic Department (DED) and apply for a trade license.
  4. As soon as the DED issues the license, the applicant has to go to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and apply for the specific type of residence visa.

 

What About the Fees?

The average cost of a 3-year investor visa starts at AED 15K:

  • Criminal Records Certificate – AED 220 (USD 59)
  • Various administrative fees – AED 420 (USD 114)
  • Application fees – AED 3K (USD 816)
  • Entry permit – AED 1K (USD 272)
  • DED license – AED 8.5K (USD 2.3K)
  • Emirates ID and health insurance – AED 2.5K (USD 680)

To apply for the Golden Visa and retirement visa, you have to take into account:

  • VIP medical insurance – AED 753 (USD 205)
  • Emirates ID processing – AED 573 (USD 156)
  • New visa fee – AED 2.23K (USD 606)
  • Administrative fees – AED 100 (USD 27)

The total amount is AED 3.7K (USD 1.01K). Extending the contract and sponsoring spouses or dependants incurs an additional cost of AED 4K-7K (USD 1.09K-1.9K).

How Can We Help?

Our highly qualified brokers at Metropolitan Premium Properties are ready to help you with obtaining a long term visa with the purchase of a completed residential property. In order to save you unnecessary stress, we will take care of the hassle of the transaction, from negotiating with the seller and completing the paperwork according to the local law, to registering the property with the relevant authorities. Our estate agents will inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a buyer and potential owner of the property to ensure you are protected against all kinds of risks.

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