Dubai: Started your own business as a side hustle, while working? If your business becomes successful and you want to move to an investor visa, or if you have invested in property in the UAE, you might be interested in shifting to an investor visa.
However, before you make the move, there are several aspects that you need to keep in mind to ensure you can move easily from an employee visa to an investor visa. Gulf News spoke with UAE-based business set-up experts on how entrepreneurs in the UAE can make smoothly the switch.
UAE Investor visa options to consider
Before you think of making the big move, it is important to take a look at all your possible investor visa options and the requirements for each.
1. Company shareholder visa
If you have started your own company, you would be listed as a shareholder in the company. In that case, you can apply for a regular investor visa.
“This investor visa for individuals who have set up a company in the in the mainland or in a UAE Freezone. They will be able to obtain an Investor Visa or Partner Visa by virtue of being a significant shareholder in that business,” Nazar Musa, the CEO of PRO Partner Group, a company service provider, told Gulf News.
“The investor visa is normally issued for a period of three years, and is renewable at the end of the three-year period,” he added.
This investor visa for individuals who have set up a company in the in the mainland or in a UAE Freezone. They will be able to obtain an Investor Visa or Partner Visa by virtue of being a significant shareholder in that business
2. Real Estate Investor Visa
In case you have invested in a property in the UAE, you may also be eligible for an investor visa, depending on the amount of your investment. According to Musa, real estate investors can either obtain a five-year or ten-year visa.
For a five-year visa, your investment in the property should have a value of at least Dh2 million.
“The investment must be the full amount and not on a loan basis. A 10-year Golden Visa by investment will require an investment in property of Dh10 million,” Musa said.
3. Investing in a UAE business
Another route you can take to get an investor visa is by investing in a UAE-based business. Depending on the amount you have invested, you will either receive a five- or 10-year Golden Visa.
The investment could be in a UAE-based investment fund or in a new or existing company, as a partner. If you are investing in a fund, your investment must be worth at least Dh2 million.
If you are investing as a partner, you must have shares of a minimum of Dh2 million, that is not financed by a loan.
As for the 10-year visa, you must invest at least Dh10 million in a UAE based investment fund or have a share value in a company of at least Dh10 million.
“You may also have a combination of investments mentioned above, provided that the portion of the investment in areas other than real estate is no less than 60 per cent of the total,” he said.
How do I move from an employee visa to an investor visa?
Once you have finalised the type of investor visa you want to move to, you can then begin the application process. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Get your documents in order
According to Pratik Rawal, the managing partner at Ascent Partners, a business management consultancy based in the UAE, new entrepreneurs should ensure they have all the documents required for the application in place as they have a short window of time to switch, once their employee visa is cancelled.
“Since you only have a 30-day grace period to get a new visa upon cancellation of the previous one, it is always best to have all the visa pre-requisites in place first, to save time,” Rawal said.
This means that if you are planning to move to your own company’s visa, you need to ensure that the registration process is complete and you have the immigration or establishment card in place.
Since you only have a 30-day grace period to get a new visa upon cancellation of the previous one, it is always best to have all the visa pre-requisites in place first, to save time
• Passport copy
• Passport size photo
• Copy of the cancelled visa
• Attested university degree certificate (this depends on the activities of the company and job designation of the investor)
• Valid health insurance for Dubai and Abu Dhabi
• Supporting documents like a company trade licence, immigration card or documents authenticating your investment.
“While you are under an employee visa, you can start finalising your investment such as getting a business licence or a property … this will be the best time to cancel your existing employment visa,” Rawal said.
2. Cancel your employment visa
“To change your employment visa to an investor visa, you must first cancel your employment visa,” Rawal said.
To do so, you need to apply for a new e-visa and then a ‘change of status’ to switch from an employee visa to an investor visa, according to Rawal. You would also need to fill in an application for the Emirates ID, depending on the duration of your visa – three, five or 10 years – at the immigration centre where you have applied for the e-visa and change of status.
3. Get a medical fitness test
You then need to get a medical fitness test, which will take between three to five working days for a standard medical test, according to Rawal.
4. Receive your investor visa and new Emirates ID
“The new Emirates ID will be issued between five to seven working days after the completion of the new investor visa process,” Rawal said.
How much does a UAE investor visa cost?
The average cost of an investor is approximately Dh6,000.
This cost includes:
- PRO (Public Relations Office) assistance fee
- Premium visa medical screening cost
- Assistance to process the visa
- Government application fees and documentation costs
Can I sponsor my family when I am on an investor visa?
Once you have your visa in place, you can also apply for the visas for your family. However, when you are on an investor visa, you are required to deposit an amount of Dh1,500 per person, which is refunded upon cancellation of the visa.
To find out how you can apply for your family’s visa, read our detailed guide here.