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Are you interested in investing in the UAE? Whether it is through investing in real estate or creating a start-up, there are several options available for investors to become long-term residents.

Here is how you can legally reside in the UAE as an investor.

Here are three ways investors and entrepreneurs in the UAE can claim residency in the UAE:

1. Dubai Investor visa
- Investment through residential property
- Investment in a company

2. Golden Visa

3. Retirement Visa

1. The Dubai Investor or Partner Visa

According to Invest in Dubai, a business platform created by the Dubai Government, these are the options available to investors who wish to apply for the Dubai Investor Visa:

- Investment through residential property

• Applicable to individuals who opt to invest in residential property that is worth Dh1 million or more.

• A maximum of 50 per cent of the property value is under mortgage.

• Investors in a jointly owned property are eligible to apply if each individual’s share is worth at least Dh1 million.

• The investment must be in a single residential property and not in commercial properties.

• Additionally, the visa is applicable to freehold residential properties only, it is not possible to apply for this visa with an off-plan property.

• The visa length varies between three to five years and can be maintained for as long as the investor owns property in the country.

- Investment in a company


• Applicable to individuals who choose to invest in or start a business in Dubai’s mainland or Dubai’s various free zones.

• Starting a business in Dubai’s mainland generally requires a partner of UAE nationality. Recently, however, the UAE has allowed 100 per cent foreign ownership of onshore [mainland] companies in the UAE in certain business activities.

• This visa is granted to investors who own shares in an existing company worth at least Dh72,000, or are establishing a company with a capital investment worth the same amount.

• For foreign investors starting a business in a Dubai free zone do not require local sponsors or partners, companies are exempt from taxation, and foreign nationals could have full ownership of the company.

2. Golden Visa

Investors and entrepreneurs who meet specific criteria set by the UAE Government are eligible for a 10-year residency permit called the Golden Visa.

UAE announced a wave of new entry visas and residency permits on April 18. This also included an update to the Golden Visa Scheme. Some of the benefits of the Golden Visa scheme include:

• A long term, renewable residence visa valid for 10 years
• A self-sponsored visa that does not require an employment sponsor
• Ability to stay outside the UAE for more than six months in order to keep their residence visa valid
• Sponsoring their family members, including spouse and children regardless of their ages
• Sponsoring unlimited number of domestic helpers
• Allowing family members to stay in the UAE until the end of their permit duration, if the primary holder of the Golden visa passes away.

Eligibility requirements

Investing in real estate

According to the new rules set by the UAE Government on April 18, real estate professionals must fulfil one of the conditions:

• 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 the Golden Visa when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than Dh2 million from approved local real estate companies.


Entrepreneurs planning to make the UAE their home must fulfil one of the following conditions:

• An entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a start-up registered in the UAE in the category of small and medium enterprises (SME), which generates annual revenues of not less than Dh1 million.

• Obtaining approval for a start-up idea from an official business incubator (an organisation that helps start-ups or entrepreneurs to develop their business) or from the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities.

• If the person is a founder or one of the founders of a previous project that was sold with a total value of not less than Dh7 million.

The approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is required for projects or ideas.

Retirement visa

Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) issues a five-year retirement visa for people planning to retire in Dubai.

Visa requirements and eligibility criteria:

• You must be at least 55 years old.

You must fulfil one of the following financial criteria:

• Earn a sustainable income of at least Dh180,000 a year or Dh15,000 a month

• Have a three-year fixed deposit of Dh1 million

Dh1 million unmortgaged property or mortgaged property for which the payment to date is at least Dh1 million.

• A combination of the first two options, valued for at least Dh1 million in a three-year fixed deposit and property worth Dh500,000 each.