Stock Dubai Skyline
Dubai Skyline seen from Dubai Creek Harbour. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority announced that it will grant cultural visas to 1,000 creators and artists from across the world in the upcoming phase.

The first initiative of its kind in the world, the cultural visa launched in 2019 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, seeks to position the emirate as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity and a hub for talent.

Applications from 46 nationalities

Since the announcement of the Cultural Visa, Dubai Culture received 261 cultural visa applications from individuals hailing from 46 nations. A total of 120 applicants have met the required and optional criteria. A majority of these applicants have been issued visas while the remaining are currently under process.

A home for creative talent

Hala Badri, Director-General of Dubai Culture, said: “Dubai’s contributions have helped raise the UAE’s position in the global cultural landscape by attracting exceptional writers, artists and creators. It is also aligned with the goals and pillars of the 2020-2025 Dubai Culture Strategy.

Stable base for creatives

Hala Badri

Badri added: “The long-term cultural visa provides talented people with a stable base in Dubai and contributes to enhancing the emirate’s growth by stimulating the creative economy. This will result in creating more jobs in the sector, especially as Dubai has a strong cultural foundation and diverse creative sectors that offer attractive opportunities to intellectuals and creative people.”

What is the long-term cultural visa?
The long-term cultural visa is granted for 10 years to accomplished creative talent in the fields of literature, culture, fine arts, performing arts, and design, as well as those in the heritage, history and knowledge-related sectors as well as intellectual and creative industries. Applications are accepted if they meet terms and conditions and key criteria related to years of residency in the country, record of knowledge-related and creative achievements, and willingness to meet optional conditions and pledges for each category, including a pledge to contribute 36 hours of service to the community in the UAE in creative or artistic capacities, among others. This will allow the visa holders to automatically renew their visas without an Emirati sponsor.


Dubai Culture signed an agreement with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) to establish cooperation in issuing cultural visas for investors, entrepreneurs and those with specialised talent, in accordance with the highest standards

Major General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri

Major General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, Director-General GDRFA, said: “The UAE and Dubai are destinations that welcome talented people seeking to achieve their dreams, without discrimination. The decision to grant long-term cultural visas to elite intellectuals, creatives and talented people from across the world will consolidate the UAE’s reputation as a global hub for culture and creativity.”

Incubator for creativity

Dubai has a modern infrastructure and strong assets in the cultural sector that enable it to provide a productive ecosystem for intellectuals and creators from all over the world. Its public libraries, theatres, publishing houses and operas combined with more than 135 heritage houses, three historical neighbourhoods, six archaeological sites, five creative complexes, 21 traditional markets, and 20 museums, six of which belong to the Authority, attract more than 1.6 million visitors annually.

Dubai’s 2,300 licensed cultural events held every year, creative facilities across the emirate and its vibrant creative community combine to create a dynamic ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs, artists and professionals in the sector to build new connections, share knowledge and ideas and showcase their work.