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Retire, work remotely for company outside the UAE, or invest in real estate – how to live in UAE without working. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Expatriates in the UAE can buy a house, get an Emirates ID, and sponsor their family members, even if they don’t work in the UAE. This is because the UAE offers three different types of self-sponsored residence visas, which do not require you to have a job or business in the UAE. Here are the details:

1. Remote Work Visa – One year

With this visa, you can live in the UAE and work remotely. People employed outside the UAE can live here on a self-sponsored virtual work visa, which is valid for one year.

The residency visa also allows remote workers to sponsor their family members in the UAE.

You can only apply for the visa if you meet the following conditions:
• Prove that you work remotely for an organisation outside the UAE.
• Receive a monthly income of US$3,500 (Dh12,853) - or its equivalent in a different currency.
• Passport with a minimum of six months’ validity.
• Valid health insurance covering your residency in the UAE.


Where do I apply for residency visas in the UAE?
If you are planning to live in the UAE, you can apply for a residence visa, either through the relevant immigration authority. If you plan to live in Dubai, the authority that will issue your visa is the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (GDRFAD). For Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain or Fujairah, the authority that will oversee the visa application process is the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP). Here are all the application options available to you:
1. Online:
- ICP, or the smartphone application ‘UAEICP’, available for both Apple and Android devices.
2. In-person:
- Amer centre: If you prefer to complete your visa application process in person, you can visit an Amer centre, which processes immigration applications on behalf of GDRFAD. You can find the list of Amer Centres located in Dubai, through this website : .
- Typing centres: Immigration authorities in the UAE have authorised several typing centres to process visa applications. You can find the complete list of authorised typing offices in the UAE, through this website:

2. Real estate investor visa – two- or 10-year visa

Depending on how much you have invested in real estate in the UAE, you can either get a self-sponsored residence visa for two years or apply for the Golden Visa, which is valid for 10 years.

Two year residence visa for real estate investors:

If you own property worth at least Dh750,000, or you and your spouse jointly own property of the same value, then you can apply for the Property Investor Visa through the Dubai Land Department's (DLD) Cube Centre.

For an in-depth guide on how to apply for the visa and the requirements, click here.

Golden Visa for real estate investors:

If you own property worth Dh2 million or more, you may be eligible for a Golden Visa. Here are the requirements for obtaining a Golden Visa through real estate investment .

• Real estate investors can obtain Golden Visa when purchasing a property that is worth at least Dh2 million.
• Investors are also entitled to obtain the Golden Visa when purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks.
• Investors can also obtain Golden Visa when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than Dh2 million from approved local real estate companies.


UAE Retirement Visa – five years

Retirees over the age of 55 can apply for a long-term visa of five years.

Here are the requirements:
• Have worked for not less than 15 years inside or outside the UAE, or be 55 years old or more at the time of retirement
• Own a property or properties of no less than Dh1 million, have financial savings of no less than Dh1 million or have a monthly income of Dh20,000 (Dh15,000 a month for Dubai), and provide bank statement for the last six months.