The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Golden visa system aims to continue to boost the economy and position of the country as a leader in business innovation and investment. The UAE Golden visa has recently been updated and widened in terms of eligibility, making it one of the most popular visa systems in the world among investors.
MSC Notaries have created a guide to the Golden visa in the UAE, including what it is, the benefits, requirements and how you can apply.
What is the UAE Golden Visa?
The UAE Golden visa is a long-term residence visa for those looking to live, work or study in the UAE. It’s open to a wide range of occupations with the aim to attract talented, skilled people and investors to promote business and economic growth in the country.
Some examples of individuals that are invited and encouraged to apply for the Golden visa in the UAE are investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, high-performing students, pioneers and frontline workers.
What are the UAE Golden Visa benefits?
- Valid for 10 years and renewable after the 10 years.
- An initial entry visa is valid for 6 months allowing multiple entries while proceeding with the application and residence issuance.
- Self-sponsored as this visa is aimed at those with a certain level of wealth, therefore no sponsor or employer is required for the application.
- No limit on how long you can stay outside of the country to keep the visa valid.
- You can sponsor family members, partners and children of any age as part of your visa.
- You can sponsor domestic helpers/staff.
- Family members can continue to benefit from the visa until the end of the permit if the primary holder was to be deceased.
- Eligible for exclusive health care and insurance packages including Silver, Gold and Premier packages for the visa holder and all sponsored dependents.
- Esaad privilege card eligibility for those who have their application issued in Dubai. The Esaad card is issued by the Dubai police and offers holders exclusive discounts for shops, education, healthcare, housing, restaurants, hotels and much more in the UAE and 92 countries across the world.
Recent updates for 2022 to the Golden Visa in the UAE
- The minimum salary requirement has been reduced from 50k Dh to 30k Dh.
- Previously the golden visa was revoked if holders were outside the country for six months, whereas now the visa stays valid no matter how long you are outside or inside the country.
- No age limits on the children that visa holders can sponsor.
- No cap on the number of domestic staff that visa holders can sponsor.
- Applicants can now purchase property using loans from local banks to be eligible for the visa too, with a minimum property worth of 2 million Dh.
Who is eligible for the UAE Golden Visa?
Real estate investors
The UAE Golden visa is open to real estate investors who must be able to invest a certain amount of money in the development of the UAE. This type of application is one of the most popular.
These individuals must:
- Purchase a property of a certain value with a minimum of AED two million, this value was recently reduced to open the visa up to more investors.
- Purchase a property using a loan from a specific local bank
- Purchase the plans for properties from approved real estate companies in the country.
The Golden visa scheme in the UAE is also open to entrepreneurs and business owners.
The individuals must:
- Own or be a partner of a small to medium (SME) start-up company in the country, with a minimum annual turnover of AED one million.
- Obtain approval from an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy or another local authority for a start-up idea.
- Have founded an entrepreneurial project sold for a minimum of AED seven million.
The Golden visa in the UAE is also open to the talented or highly skilled in vital areas such as sports, technology, culture and the arts. For example, inventors, innovators and individuals who are leading the way in these fields are all eligible to apply. All that’s needed is approval from a local government entity to vouch for the individual’s skills or talents.
Scientists who are leaders in their field or are high achievers are also eligible to apply for the Golden visa.
To be eligible, you will need:
- Recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.
- PhD or a Master’s degree in engineering, natural or life sciences, or technology from a prestigious university.
- An array of research achievements to support your qualifications.
Professionals or highly-skilled workers
Individuals with a profession or who are highly skilled in a certain discipline are also eligible for the Golden visa.
To apply as a professional or highly-skilled worker, you must:
- Have professional experience and educational qualifications in a discipline. The disciplines are wide-ranging including business, education, law, engineering, sciences, medicine and more to suit people with all kinds of professions.
- Have a valid employment contract with an employer in the UAE.
- Be classified in the first or second occupational category as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation’s classification system.
- Have a Bachelor’s degree in your discipline or equivalent.
- Earn a monthly salary or a minimum of AED 30,000.
High-performing students and graduates
High-performing and achieving students and or graduates of UAE secondary schools and universities, or of one of the most prestigious universities elsewhere in the world, are also eligible to apply for the Golden visa programme.
You must achieve a certain level and classification of academic performance or accumulate an average of a certain performance level throughout your time at the school or university.
Humanitarian pioneers are another set of individuals who are able to apply for the Golden visa in the UAE.
These individuals include:
- Prominent members of international and regional humanitarian organisations.
- Prominent members of associations for public benefit.
- Receivers of awards of recognition in humanitarian fields.
- Prominent volunteers or sponsors of humanitarian efforts.
Finally, frontline workers who have been recognised for their work and participation in crises like the COVID-19 pandemic are also eligible to apply for the UAE Golden visa.
How can you apply for the UAE’s Golden visa?
The application process can be carried out online via an app, or in person at an AMER Centre. Before you do so, there are various documents you will need to prepare and obtain for your application for the Golden visa.
Before you apply for your long-term resident visa, otherwise known as the Golden visa, you will need to apply for an entry permit for the UAE to be able to progress your application.
To apply for an entry permit for the UAE, you will need:
- Passport-style and correct-sized photos of yourself
- Bank statements of the previous 6-month period
- Any specific documents related to your purpose for entry, some examples are:
- Company trade licence
- Partnership contract and ID of other partners
- Memorandum of Association
- Proof of accreditation and recommendation from the relevant authority
- Proof of patent
To apply for the Golden long-term residence visa, you will need:
- Entry permit
- Medical certificate and proof of test
- Passport-style photos
- Immigration Establishment Card
- Any specific documents related to your purpose for entry
The documents required to successfully apply for the UAE Golden visa will be specific to the type of application, so it’s important to do plenty of research before applying.
It is advised to also seek professional help when preparing your application who will support you throughout the process, such as legal services and notary, apostille and translation services to ensure all your documents are legalised for use.
Which documents need to be legalised for the UAE Golden visa application?
The UAE is not part of the Hague Convention, therefore all foreign documents being submitted with an application need to be legalised for them to be recognised and authenticated for use.
The process of legalising your documents before you start your application requires you to have them attested in your home country or the country your documents were issued in, and then legalised in the UAE too.
Depending on the types of documents that need to be submitted and therefore legalised, the timeframe can vary. For example, documents such as marriage certificates, Powers of Attorney, and Certificates of Registration will need an apostille stamp from the authorities in your home country or country of issuance followed by attestation at the UAE consulate in the home country or country of issuance.
MSC Notaries are able to help with the entire process of legalising your documents ready to submit for the UAE Golden visa, whether you require notary services, apostille services, translation services or a combination of these. If you are unsure what documents will require legalisation, you can also get in touch with our team for advice, a quote and a timeframe in which we’ll be able to assist you.
How much does it cost to apply for the UAE Golden visa?
Once you have provided your documentation, you must also pay the relevant fees.
There are various costs associated with the application, including:
- AED 2,800 to 3,800 for individuals applying from the UAE.
- AED 3,800 to 4,800 for individuals applying from outside the UAE.
- Dh1,000 for the medical examination.
- Processing charge for an Emirates ID.
- Cost of UAE health insurance varies in price.
Where can you apply for the Golden visa in the UAE?
Your long-term residence visa, or Golden visa, will be issued from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in the relevant emirate you plan to reside in, including the below emirates:
- Abu Dhabi
- Ras Al Khaimah
How long does it take to apply for the UAE Golden visa?
Once you have submitted your application and all the necessary documentation, the average processing time is around 48 hours.
If your application requires a nomination or recommendation from an authority, it can take up to 30 days for the application decision to be made and communicated to you.
Once your application has been processed and approved, it can take a few weeks for your visa to be authorised by the Federal Authorities for Identity and Citizenship and for you to receive your visa.
Legalise your documents with MSC Notaries today
For those looking to apply for the UAE Golden visa who need documents legalising for use in your application, we provide the notarisation, legalisation and translation services to suit your timescale and budgets.
Get in touch with our family-run, friendly team today to enquire and receive a free quote.