Sunday 15 May 2022
The UAE Cabinet has approved the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners aimed at strengthening the UAE's position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest.
The new system of entry and residence aims at attracting and retaining global talent and skilled workers, boosting the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market, and fostering a high sense of stability for residents and families.
Substantial amendments are introduced to the Golden Residence Scheme to simplify the eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries. This long-term 10-year residence is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.
The amendments allow the Golden Residence holder to sponsor family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age, and to sponsor unlimited domestic staff. There is no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residence valid.
Family members can stay in the UAE in the event of the death of the original holder of the Golden Residence until the end of their permit duration.
Golden Residence for Scientists
This residence is granted to scientists and researchers with high achievements and influence in their field based on recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council. The candidate should have a Ph.D. or Master's degree in engineering, technology, life sciences, or natural sciences from the best universities in the world, as well as substantial research achievements.
Golden Residence for Professionals
A major expansion is introduced in this category to attract highly skilled workers with educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines, including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture, and social sciences.
The applicant should have a valid employment contract in the UAE, and should be classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization classification, which is aligned with the International Standard of Classification of Occupations (ISCO) by the International Labor Organization.
The minimum educational level must be a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the monthly salary should not be less than AED 30,000.
Golden Residence for Exceptional Talent
This residence is granted to top talent in vital fields regardless of educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary, or professional level. It requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity, and includes talented individuals in culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors, innovators, and other vital fields.
Golden Residence for Real Estate Investors
Real estate investors can obtain Golden Residence when purchasing a property worth no less than AED 2 million. As per the new amendments, investors are also entitled to obtain the Golden Residence when purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks. Investors can also obtain Golden Residence when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than AED 2 million from approved local real estate companies.
Golden Residence for Entrepreneurs
The executive regulations set flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible to obtain the Golden Residence. An entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a startup registered in the country in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) category and generates annual revenues of not less than AED 1 million.
Obtaining approval for a startup idea from an official business incubator or from the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is sufficient to obtain the Golden Residence in this category.
If the person is a founder (one of the founders) of a previous entrepreneurial project(s) that was sold for a total of not less than AED 7 million, he/she will be entitled to the Golden Residence. The approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is required for projects or ideas.
Golden Visa for Outstanding Students and Graduates
This residence targets high performing students in UAE secondary schools, and outstanding graduates from UAE universities and the best 100 universities worldwide, according to specific criteria that include their academic performance (cumulative average), the year of graduation, and the university classification.
New Residence Types with Unparalleled Benefits
A new five-year residence track has been introduced to attract talent, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. More benefits are offered to facilitate family members’ residence, and longer flexible grace periods that reach up to six months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired, in addition to facilitating and simplifying the requirements of all residence types.
Green Residence for Skilled Employees
This new track provides a five-year residency for skilled employees, without a sponsor or employer. The applicant should have a valid employment contract, and should be classified in the first, second, or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. The minimum educational level must be a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the salary should not be less than AED 15,000.
Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment
In line with the growing importance of flexible work models, this track provides a five-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals without requiring a sponsor or employer in the UAE. It requires obtaining a freelance / self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, the minimum educational level should be Bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma, and the annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than AED 360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout his/her stay in the country.
Green Residence for Investor or Partner
This residence permit is introduced to encourage investment, providing five-year residency for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence that was valid for two years. Requirements include approval of the investment and proof of investment. If the investor (partner) has more than one license, the total invested capital will be calculated. Approval of the competent local authorities is mandatory.
New Benefits for Family Members
The new system provides more benefits to family members, allowing residents to easily issue residence permits for their family members, including spouse and children.
The age of children who may be sponsored has been raised to 25 years (previously 18 years), with no age limit for unmarried daughters. Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age.
Green Residences holders are allowed to issue residence permits for their first-degree relatives, and in all cases the residency of family members shall be the validity duration as the original residence holder.
New System for Entry Visas
The new system offers UAE visitors a variety of visa types for different visit purposes. New types of visas are introduced without requiring a host or sponsor for the first time. Major improvements include facilitating the entry requirements for all visa types, offering flexible visa durations that meet the needs of the visitors and the purpose of the visit. In addition, all entry visas are available for single or multiple entry and can be renewed for similar period(s) and are valid for 60 days from their issuance date.
Job Exploration Entry Visa
This visa is introduced with the aim of attracting young talent and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities available in the country. It does not require a sponsor or a host. It is granted to those classified in the first, second, or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization and fresh graduates of the best 500 universities in the world and the minimum educational level should be a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
Business Entry Visa
This type enables easy entry without requiring sponsor or host to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
In addition to the regular tourist visa that is sponsored by a tourism establishment in the UAE, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa has been introduced. This type does not require a sponsor and it allows the person to stay in the country up to 90 continuous days. It may be extended for a similar period, provided that the entire period of stay does not exceed 180 days in one year.
This visa requires proof of having a bank balance of USD 4,000 or its equivalent in any currency during the last six months prior to submitting the application.
Entry Permit to Visit Relatives or Friends
As per the current amendment, a visitor can apply for this entry permit if he/she is a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or resident. It does not require a sponsor or a host.
Entry Permit for a Temporary Work Mission
This type is intended for those who have a temporary work assignment like probation testing or project-based mission, and is sponsored by the employer. It requires a temporary work contract or a letter from the employer clarifying the visit purpose and proof of health fitness to work.
Entry Permit for Study and Training
This type is intended for those attending training and study courses and/or participating in internship programs. The sponsor can be a university or educational or research institution licensed in the country or government or private entities. It requires a letter from the entity, clarifying the details of the study or training or internship program and its duration.