An employee at work at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: You can now apply for a residency permit without the need to have a sponsor in the UAE, after the government announced a new system for residence visas and entry permits on April 18.

In a major announcement made by the authorities, different types of new permits were announced to position the UAE as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest. This new scheme for expatriates will be active from September this year.

Within the announcement, a new type of Green Residence Permit was announced for investors, skilled employees, self-employed individuals and family members.

What is the Green Residence Permit and which categories of expatriates will be eligible to apply? Here is all you need to know.

5-year Green Residence Permit for workers

According to the announcement, certain professionals can get a five-year green residence visa, which does not require an employer or sponsor. These categories are:

1. Green residence for freelancers (self-employment)

• Applicant should obtain a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE)

• Minimum educational level should be bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma

• Annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than Dh360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout his stay in the country.

2. Green residence for skilled employees

• Applicants should have a valid employment contract

• They should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per MOHRE.

• Minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent

• Salary should not be less than Dh15,000.

This is apart from the standard employment residence visa, which is offered for two years.

5-year Green Residence for investors and partners

Another category for the Green Residence visa is for investors and partners. Under this category, too, a sponsor will not be required for the holder of the Green Residency.

Requirements including approval of the investment and proof of investment. If the investor (partner) has more than one licence, the total invested capital will be calculated. Approval of the competent local authorities is mandatory.

Education residence permit

Among the new residency permits that were announced on Monday, another category was for students enrolled in educational entities. A two-year residence permit will be available for students, which will be sponsored by a licensed educational establishment in the UAE.

How long will the permit be valid for?

The validity period depends on the type of permit you apply for:

Remote Work Residence: 1 year

Retirement Residence: 5 years

Real Estate Owner’s Residence: 2 years

All residence permits can be renewed for similar periods.

Can I sponsor my family?

• The resident can sponsor his or her family members including spouse and children till the age of 25 and unmarried daughters regardless of their age.
• Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of age.
• The Green Residence holder can sponsor first degree relatives.
• The duration of family members residence shall be the same as their sponsor’s residence duration.

Special humanitarian cases to also be considered

In the announcement, a special mention was made of specific humanitarian cases, where a residency permit may be granted. These are:

1. A female resident whose UAE citizen husband passed away and she has a child or more.
2. The parents or children of UAE citizens who hold foreign passports.
3. Spouse and children of GCC citizens who hold foreign passports.