File photo: An employee at work at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: On May 15, the UAE Cabinet approved a new long-term residency visa – the ‘Blue Residency’, for individuals who have made contributions in the environmental field. The new visa reflects the UAE’s aim to enhance climate action and redouble environment conservation efforts in the country.


What is the Blue Residency visa?

The Blue Residency visa is a 10-year residency granted to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to environment protection, whether in marine life, land-based ecosystems, or air quality, sustainability technologies, the circular economy, or related fields.

The Blue Residency aims to amplify and maintain the UAE's Year of Sustainability efforts, which was extended from 2023 to 2024.

Who can apply for the Blue Residency visa?

“The Blue Residency will specifically be granted to supporters of environmental action, including members of international organisations, international companies, members of associations and non-governmental organisations, global award winners, and distinguished activists and researchers in environmental work,” the UAE Cabinet announcement said.

How to apply for the Blue Residency visa

According to the announcement, advocates and experts interested in the visa are invited to submit their applications directly to the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP), or through nominations by competent authorities in UAE.

Why is the Blue Visa being introduced?

The visa aims to attract global environmental leaders to contribute to the UAE's sustainable economic and social development.

What other types of long-term residency visas are available?

In the UAE, there are two other types of long-term visas:
- Green visa – which is a five-year residency permit for skilled professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
- Golden visa – this is a 10-year residency permit for different categories of applicants, including investors, entrepreneurs, doctors, and accomplished students.