Dubai Residency

In recent articles we have touched on various factors to consider as to why you should call Dubai your home. It is not possible to obtain citizenship in Dubai. It is however possible to obtain residency and all that comes with it.

This article provides a short overview of how you can obtain residency and what it entails.

Dubai residency can be obtained by way of:

  • Public investment of at least AED10 million
  • Real estate investment of at least AED1 million
  • Starting a business/incorporating a company
  • Being a person with specific talents
  • Being an outstanding student

Let’s look at the options in a bit more detail.

Public Investment

An investment of AED10 million will secure you a 10-year residency Visa in Dubai. This investment should be spent either:

  • as a deposit into an investment fund;
  • establishing a company with share capital;
  • investing into share capital of an existing company; or
  • combining investments into aforesaid with not less than 60% of the investment in sectors other than real estate.

This investment may not be on loan account and should be a cash contribution. Your investment Visa makes provision for your spouse and children as well as for an executive director and advisor.

Real Estate Investment

Dubai residency can also be obtained through property investment. Your investment should be at least AED1 million along with proving that your income is at least AED10 000 per month. This will allow you to obtain a renewable residency Visa for 2 years, including acting as a sponsor for obtaining residency Visas for your family. Renewal of your residency permit is subject to keeping a clean record and adhering to all the requirements.

Your investment may be in joint ownership with your spouse or company, but your personal portion must be at least AED1 million. The amount to be considered for investment is the cost price of the property and not the market value, must be contributed in full and cannot be for bare land or an uncompleted project.

By increasing your investment to AED5 million can increase your residency Visa to 5 years.

Starting a Business

Starting your business requires that you incorporate a company. You have three options to choose from when deciding where to incorporate a company being an offshore company, a free zone company or a Dubai mainland company. We have written extensively about the different options in a separate article titled “Setting up your company in Dubai”. Each of these options are viable depending on your situation, circumstances, or requirements.

Incorporating a company requires of you to choose a licencing activity allowing you to trade within the bounds of that activity. You will further be required to obtain some form of office space, as a bare minimum you would be required to sign up for a flexi or hot desk.

Setup fees varies significantly based on your choice of company structure. With more than 30 free zones operating in Dubai, each with their own cost structure, it is clear to see that the costing for this option will vary. Nevertheless, incorporating your company and including a Visa for you, the pricing will start at roughly AED30 000 to get things going.

Specialised Talent

A residency Visa for 10-years is available for people with specialised talent in the field of research, science and knowledge such as doctors, scientists, investors and creative persons in the fields of arts and culture.

This Visa is extended to your spouse and children and requires a valid employment contract in your field of expertise.

The conditions of what is referred to as specialised talent include the following:

  • Scientists must be accredited by Emirates Scientists Council or holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
  • Creative individuals in culture and art must be accredited by Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
  • Inventors must obtain a patent of value, which adds to the UAE’s economy. Patents must be approved by Ministry of Economy.
  • Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or scientific research published in a world-class journal.
  • Executives must be owners of a leading and internationally recognized company or holders of high academic achievement and position.
  • Doctors and specialists must meet at least two of the following conditions:
    • PhD Degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world (refer to ICA for information).
    • An award or certificate of appreciation in the field of the applicant’s work.
    • Contribution to major scientific research in the respective field of work.
    • Published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the respective field of work.
    • Membership in an organisation related to the field.
    • A PhD Degree, in addition to 10-year professional experience in his field.
    • Specialisation in areas of priority to the UAE.

Outstanding Students

Having a 95% grade average in a public or private school will secure you a 5-year residency Visa. University students require a GPA of at least 3.75 to qualify.