Dubai: A new visa system is about to come into effect in the UAE from October 3, which includes – among other visa options – the Green Visa.
But how is this visa different from the Golden Visa? While both offer residency options to people in the UAE, there are some similarities and distinctions between the two visa systems.
For example, both the Golden Visa and Green Visa allow a resident to sponsor himself or herself, without the need for a company (like an employer) to be the visa sponsor. This is referred to as self-sponsorship. Also, both these visas offer long-term residency options, compared to the regular two- or three-year residence visas.
However, what sets them apart is the duration for each visa, the eligibility criteria and the benefits. Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about the Green Visa and Golden Visa.
1. A five-year residency permit in the UAE.
3. You can sponsor first-degree relatives.
According to the decision issued by the UAE Cabinet in April this year, the Green Visa is available to these three categories:
1. Green Residence for freelancers (self-employment)
• Applicant should obtain a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
• Minimum educational level should be bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma.
• Annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than Dh360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout his or her stay in the country.
2. Green Residence for skilled employees
• Applicants should have a valid employment contract.
• They should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per MOHRE.
• Minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
• Salary should not be less than Dh15,000.
3. Five-year Green Residence for investors and partners
• Under this category, too, a sponsor will not be required for the holder of the Green Residency.
How do I apply for the Green Visa?
The Green Visa, along with the other new visas announced by the authorities, will come into effect from October 3. Details on the application process are expected to be announced by the authorities.
As per the updates announced on April 18 this year, these are all the benefits of the Golden Visa:
• Sponsor family members including spouse, children and support staff without any limit.
• There is no restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residency valid.
• An e-visa valid for six months will be provided, while the applicants proceeds with residence visa issuance process.
• Family members are allowed stay in the UAE in the event of death of the original holder of the Golden Visa until the end of their permit duration.
• No sponsor or employer is required.
In the updated Golden Visa scheme, the eligible categories were expanded to include the following:
• Public investment
• Real estate investment
• Owners of registered successful start-ups
• Those who have an approved idea for a start-up
• Previous founders of a successful start-up that was sold inside or outside the UAE
3. Exceptional talents in the fields of:
• Culture and art
• Investors and innovators
• Digital technology
• Other vital fields
4. Scientists and professionals
• Chief executives and senior officials
• Science professionals
• Engineering professionals
• Health professionals
• Education professionals
• Business and Administration professionals
• Information technology professionals
• Legal, social and cultural professionals
5. Outstanding students and graduates
• Best performing students in secondary schools
• Best graduates from UAE universities
• Graduates of best 100 universities worldwide
6. Humanitarian pioneers
• Distinguished members of international and regional organisations
• Outstanding members of associations of public benefits
• Recipients of recognition awards in humanitarian fields
• Distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts
7. Frontline heroes
• Frontline workers who made extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic
How do I apply for a Golden Visa?
If you fall under any of the categories listed above, you can apply for a Golden Visa through:
1. An Amer centre in Dubai. Amer centres process visa applications on behalf of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai.
2. A customer happiness centre of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) in other Emirates. Simply visit the centre along with your passport and employment or investment details to start the process.