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If you are a researcher with a PhD or a recent graduate with a master’s degree, you might qualify for a Golden Visa. The programme targets specialists, scientists, and high-achieving graduates Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The UAE is on a mission to become one of the top 10 countries in the world for retaining global talent. In 2023, the UAE was recognised as one of the best countries for attracting top talent. One of the primary initiatives driving this success is the Golden Visa programme, offering a 10-year residency permit that allows foreign talents to live, work, or study in the UAE.

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If you are a researcher with a PhD or a recent graduate with a master’s degree, you might qualify for a Golden Visa. The programme targets specialists, scientists, and high-achieving graduates. Here's what you need to know about the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria for graduates of accredited universities in UAE

According to the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP), this is the eligibility criteria for applicants with a master’s or PhD degree:

• The applicant must hold a bachelor's, master's, or PhD degree from universities licenced by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
• The university must be approved by MOE. You can find out how to check if universities in the UAE are accredited by clicking here:
• A recommendation letter from the university or the graduation certificate should indicate that the student's cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) is not less than 3.5 for ‘A’ classified universities or 3.8 for ‘B’ classified universities.
• The applicant should not have graduated more than two years ago.
• The degree must be attested by MOE. Click here to find out how to get your degree attested.
• The passport must have a validity of at least six months.

It is important to note that this specific Golden Visa category is only reserved for recently graduated students in the UAE.

Eligibility criteria for Golden Visa for scientists, specialists in various fields, and skilled workers

If you haven’t graduated recently, but hold a PhD or Master’s degree in certain fields, you may also be eligible for the category of ‘scientists, specialists in various fields, and skilled workers’. Those who apply for a Golden Visa under this category should have a Master’s or PhD degree, and the category covers individuals with educational qualifications and professional expertise in various fields, including:

1. Scientists and researchers with achievements.
2. Distinguished scientists and religious leaders.
3. Elite specialists in health fields.
4. Elite specialists in educational fields.
5. Presidents and CEOs.
6. Specialists in Sciences (physicists, astronomers, computer scientists etc).
7. Engineering specialists (electrical, computer, communications, mining, environmental engineering etc).
8. Health specialists (doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, speech and hearing therapists etc).
9. Education specialists (higher education, general education, vocational education specialists, curriculum developers etc).
10. Business and management specialists (financial consultants, investment analysts, e-commerce specialists, and digital marketing).
11. Information Technology specialists (software and application developers, data science and artificial intelligence specialists, and information security experts).
12. Legal, social, and cultural specialists (lawyers, judges, economists, sociologists, philosophers, historians etc).

Am I eligible for a Golden Visa? Take this quiz

To find out if you qualify for a Golden Visa, complete an online quiz provided by the ICP on their official portal - The quiz will guide you through the requirements and help determine which Golden Visa category fits your profile.


How to nominate yourself for the Golden Visa

Once you understand the requirements and know which category suits you, you can nominate yourself for a Golden Visa through the ICP website. Based on whether your application meets the requirements for the Golden Visa, ICP will approve or reject your nomination. If approved, you then start your Golden Visa application process.

Important note:

Keep in mind that these are the basic criteria for each category and during the application process, you may be asked for additional details and documentation. The ICP has the final say on approving or denying your application.