UAE's New Visa Regulations: All you Need to Know about the Different Categories of Visas


UAE's New Visa Regulations -The UAE Cabinet, chaired by Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has adopted the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Foreigners' Entry and Residence. The United Arab Emirates comprises seven sheikhdoms, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The new system of admission and residence aims to recruit and retain global talents and skilled employees worldwide while increasing the job market's competitiveness and flexibility and promoting a strong sense of security among UAE residents and families.

1- Golden Residence

The Golden Residence Program has been revised to streamline eligibility requirements and expand recipient categories. This ten-year residence is open to investors, entrepreneurs, extraordinary talents, scientists and professionals, excellent students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes.

The amendments let the holder of a Golden Residence sponsor family members permanently, including spouses and children of any age, and support services (domestic) laborers.

Furthermore, there are no limitations on the maximum duration of stay necessary outside the UAE to maintain the Golden Residence's validity.

Additionally, there are perks for family members that allow them to remain in the UAE beyond the death of the original bearer of the Golden Residence permit until the expiration of their permit.

2- Scientists' Golden Residence.

That residency is offered on the recommendation of the Emirates Scientists Council to scientists and researchers who have made substantial contributions to their area.

The candidate should possess a doctoral or master's degree in engineering, technology, biological sciences, or natural sciences from one of the world's leading universities and notable research accomplishments.

3- Professionals' Golden Residence.

A new category has been created to attract highly talented employees with educational qualifications and professional experience in various sectors, including medical, science and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture, and the social sciences.

Applicants must hold a valid UAE employment contract and be classified in the first or second occupational level, as determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, based on the International Labour Organization's International Standard of Classification of Occupations ISCO.

The minimal educational level is a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and the monthly payment cannot be less than AED30,000.

4- Exceptional Talents' Golden Residence.

This residency is reserved for exceptional talent in critical subjects. It is given only based on skill, independent of educational background, employment situation, monthly wage, or professional level.

It requires the recommendation or permission of a federal or local government entity. It recognizes exceptional persons in culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators, and other vital fields.

5- A Golden Residence, For Real Estate Investors.

Golden Residences are available to real estate investors who purchase a house worth at least AED2 million.

According to the proposed changes, investors who fund the purchase of a property with a loan from one of many local banks may be eligible for the Golden Residence.

Golden Residence is also offered to investors who purchase one or more off-plan residences from reputable local real estate companies for a minimum of AED2 million.

6- Entrepreneurs' Golden Residence.

The executive laws establish flexible standards for entrepreneurs seeking to obtain the Golden Residence; an entrepreneur must own, or partner in a small or medium-sized firm (SME) registered in the country that generates annual revenues of at least AED1 million.

In addition, an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy, or the necessary local authorities must approve a startup concept to qualify for the Golden Residence in this category.

Additionally, suppose the individual is a founder (one of the founders) of a previous entrepreneurial venture(s) that were sold for a total of at least AED7 million.

 In that case, they will be eligible for the Golden Residence. The Ministry must approve projects and proposals of the Economy or the appropriate municipal authorities.

7- Outstanding Students and Graduates' Golden Visa.

Based on stated criteria such as academic achievement (cumulative average), graduation year, and university classification, this residence is targeted toward high-achieving secondary school students in the UAE and outstanding graduates from UAE universities and the world's top 100 institutions.

8- New Residence Types with Unparalleled Benefits.

The establishment of additional five-year residence tracks is a significant improvement designed to attract talent, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Additional advantages, such as more flexible notice periods of up to six months to stay in the country if a residence permit is canceled or expired, and relaxing and simplifying the requirements for all types of residency, are also available to enable family members to stay in the country.

9- Green Residence for Skilled Employee.

This new pathway provides talented employees with a five-year residency without the assistance of a sponsor or company.

As a minimum educational qualification, a bachelor's degree or equivalent is necessary, and the salary should not be less than AED15,000. Applicants must have a valid employment contract and be categorized at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation's first, second, or third occupational level.

10- Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment.

In keeping with the growing relevance of flexible work arrangements, this track enables freelancers and self-employed individuals to get a five-year residency in the UAE without a sponsor or employer.

It necessitates the acquisition of a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation by the applicant, a bachelor's degree or specialized diploma, and a minimum annual self-employment income of AED360,000 for the previous two years, or demonstrating financial solvency throughout their stay in the country.

11- Green Residence for Investor or Partner.

This residence permit was designed to attract investment by offering five years of residency to investors who develop or engage in commercial businesses.

It supersedes the prior residence, which was only valid for two years. The investment must be approved, and proof of investment must be provided.

It is required to obtain approval from competent local authorities. If the investor (partner) holds multiple licenses, the total invested capital will be determined.

12- Additional Family Member Benefits.

The new method expands family advantages by allowing residents to readily acquire residence permits for family members, including spouses and children.

The sponsorship age for children has been increased to 25 years (formerly 18 years), with no age restriction on unmarried daughters.

Children of determination, whatever of age, are awarded a residence visa.

Holders of Green Residences may give resident permits to their first-degree relatives. In all situations, the residency of family members shall be for the duration of the original residence holder's validity.

13- New Visa System.

The new system provides travelers to the UAE with several visa options based on their intended purpose of visit.

Significant enhancements include simplifying entry requirements for all visa classes and providing tourists with various visa periods that match their needs and the purpose of their visit.

For the first time, new categories of visas are introduced without the requirement of a host or sponsor. Furthermore, all entry visas can be used for single or multiple entries, are renewed for the same period(s), and are valid for 60 days after issuance.

14- Entry Visa for Job Exploration.

This visa was created to encourage young talents and skilled professionals to the country to explore career opportunities; it does not require a sponsor or a host.

It is given to those who have been classified as having the first, second, or third skill level by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and new graduates with a bachelor's degree or comparable to the minimum educational level from the world's top 500 institutions.

15- Visa for Business Entrance.

This visa permits investors and entrepreneurs to enter the UAE without the requirement of a sponsor or host, allowing them to pursue business and investment opportunities.

16- Tourist Visa.

A five-year multiple-entry tourist visa was launched along with the standard tourist visa sponsored by UAE tourism establishments.

This visa form does not require a sponsor and allows the holder to stay in the country for up to 90 days, as long as the overall stay does not exceed 180 days in a calendar year.

For this visa, documentation of a bank balance of at least US$4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies for the six months before the application submission is required.

17- Permit for Visits to Relatives or Friends.

As amended, visitors may apply for this entry permission if they are a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or resident. It is self-sustaining and does not require a sponsor or a host.

18- Entry Permit for a Temporary Work Mission.

This category is for individuals whose employer sponsors a temporary work assignment such as probation testing or a project-based mission. It requires a temporary employment contract or a letter from the employer stating the purpose of the visit and confirmation of physical fitness to work.

19- Permit to Enter for Study and Training.

That category is for those enrolled in training and study courses and internship programs.

The sponsoring institution may be a university or other educational or research institution licensed in the country and a government or commercial entity.

It requires a letter from the entity outlining the study, training, or internship program's specifics and duration.