Dubai Residency Visas Explained

Recent amendments to the visa application process introduced the Golden and Green Visa programs which is a huge benefit to the visa holder and once again shows the progressive nature of Dubai.

Investors or business owners can either obtain a residency visa through the purchase of a property or by way of self-sponsorship through the registration of a company.

The main categories of visas for investors or business owners are:

  • Mainland company with a validity period of 3 years
  • Free Zone visa with a validity period of 2 years
  • Green visa with a validity of 5 years
  • Golden visa with a validity period of 10 years

Additional categories of visas have been made available by the Dubai Government which do not require property investment or self-sponsorship. These include:

  • Job Exploration Visa
  • Five-year Multiple-entry Visa
  • Entry permit to visit relatives and friends
  • Medical Treatment Visa
  • Study or Training Visa

The Five-year Multiple-entry Visa is especially a good fit for an individual who does not want to invest formally in Dubai but would be traveling to or exploring the region. This allows for seamless entry into Dubai for up to 90 days each time over 5 years.


A more detailed overview of the most important visas offered by Dubai:

Mainland or Free Zone Visa

By registering a company in either the Mainland or a Free Zone you are entitled to a visa renewable every 2 or 3 years. Should you comply with the relevant criteria you will be able to upgrade your visa to either a Green or Golden Visa.

Green Visa

This is a 5-year residence visa aimed at exceptional talent, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. There is also no need for a UAE national or employer to sponsor the visa.

The benefits of a Green Visa include:

  • Sponsorship of family members with the maximum age for children being 25 years and no limit on unmarried daughters
  • Sponsorship of up to 1st-degree relatives
  • A grace period of 6 months from cancellation or expiration of the visa
  • Required to only visit the UAE once every year

The eligibility criteria for granting the Green Visa are stricter than that of a normal Mainland or Free Zone Visa. The main categories of the Green Visa scheme have the following requirements:

  • Skilled employees
    • Valid employment contract being classified in the first, second, or third occupational level
    • Must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and earn not less than AED15 000
  • Self-employed
    • Does not require a sponsor but must obtain a freelance permit from the ministry
    • Must have a bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma
    • Annual income should not be less than AED360 000

Golden Visa

This is a 10-year residency visa granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talent, scientists, doctors, professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes.

The benefits of a Golden Visa include:

  • Sponsorship of family members including children regardless of their age
  • Sponsoring support services or domestic workers without any limitation
  • No restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE for keeping the visa valid
  • Upon the death of the visa holder, the family members can stay out the term of the visa

The eligibility criteria for granting the Golden Visa are much stricter than that of the other categories due to the tenure as well as the added benefits. Each category has specific requirements, and we highlight the most relevant:

Professionals and skilled workers

  • Having a valid employment contract
  • The employee should be classified in the first or second occupational level as per classifications
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Must have a monthly salary of at least AED30 000

Real estate investors

  • Purchase of property worth at least AED2 million

Engineers

  • Attested degree (bachelor’s degree or higher), or a letter of equivalency for the academic degree from the Ministry of Education (in the case of a certificate from outside the country)
  • Copy of the sponsored residency
  • A work contract in one of the following disciplines: Epidemiology and Viruses, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Computer Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Genetic Engineering, and Biotechnology Engineering

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