Cultural Visa
Dubai Cultural Visa. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: If you are an individual specialising in art and design, heritage, culture or the performing arts, you can apply for a long-term Cultural Visa in Dubai.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the first long-term cultural visa in the world in 2019 to position Dubai as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent.

The long-term cultural visa is granted to creative talents in the fields of literature and culture, arts, heritage, history, and cognitive studies and creative industries.

Criteria for applicants

According to the criteria published by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the applicant’s creative profile must include a distinct artistic production in a creative field that is personal in nature and has a positive impact on the community. The profile should also showcase the applicant’s artistic journey, which should be no less than five years, and participations in art galleries, auctions, exhibitions, ceremonies, museums, and events, among others. Also highlighted must be their academic contributions and activities that have had an impact on younger generations and represented a source of inspiration for them.

Documents needed

1. Creative portfolio

Your portfolio should include the following details:

• Creative profile (including your name, specialisation and nationality)

• Experiences

• Artistic productions or services (including achievements, contributions, and participations)

2. List of awards and recognitions

All recognitions, such as medals, prizes, and certificates of appreciation, from renowned parties or organisations must be stated clearly as part of your creative journey. Each award must be accompanied with a short description that includes the purpose of the work, when the recognition or award was granted, and the granting entity. Provide a list of regional or international awards and recognitions with their details.

3. Details of community contributions

Your documents must include a detailed overview of involvement in community programmes that involve creative and cultural contributions as well as an explanation of the creative work done in support of respective programmes’ goals and agendas. A list of community contributions (including voluntary work), a brief description of the involved-in fields, the number of volunteered hours, the impact on the community.

4. Academic credentials

Attested educational certificates must be included with the submissions as well as any accreditations obtained by the applicant or records of training courses that they had completed.

5. Memberships and affiliations

Any membership obtained by the applicant from a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or any cultural and creative organisations must be listed.

6. Employment type

The type of work you performed, based on practised hours, should be mentioned, whether in a full- or part-time employment capacity, or even if it’s on a freelance basis or as a self-employed individual. The entities than the applicant had supported or worked with must be mentioned.

7. Income sustainability/financial stability

You would also need to provide sources of income detailing legitimate income generation. This includes:

• A one-year bank statement

• Proof of a minimum annual income of Dh120,000

Criteria and conditions - cultural and creative companies

If you are applying on behalf of your organisation, you would need to provide the following:

Company profile

A company brief that includes the nature of the business (proof of specialty in the cultural and creative field).

• Trade licence.

• Years of operation.

• Services scope.

• Details of customer base.

• Company achievements and its impact to the community.

Applicant portfolio

You may also need to submit an applicant portfolio, as per the details provided earlier.

Terms and conditions:

The Dubai Culture website also provide details of the terms and conditions for the Cultural Visa, to help applicants better understand the process. These include:

• Dubai Culture reserves the right to amend or remove any of the terms stipulated in this document, or add on to them, at any time as it deems appropriate.

• Obtaining an approval or a permit issuance from Dubai Culture does not comprise a final approval; it is a conditional approval as part of the required procedures to obtain other approvals from local and/or federal authorities concerned with issuing the visa.

How to apply for the visa

1. To submit the request for the Cultural Visa, you would need to send an email to

Provide the following documents:

• Passport and visa copies.

• A copy of the Emirates ID.

• Your resume.

• Contact numbers.

• Address and place of residence.

2. Applicants will be notified of the approval by email or phone.

3. An accreditation permit for the applicant will be issued.

4. Applicants need to visit the accredited office for the issuing of the long-term residence visa.