The UAE’s decision to offer long-term visas to property investors, scientists and entrepreneurs is part of its ongoing efforts to support the country’s move towards a globally competitive knowledge economy and diversify its businesses away from the traditional reliance on oil, according to analysts.

On Saturday, the UAE Cabinet announced long-term visas of up to 10 years. Until now, visas for expats have been valid for two or three years.

10years

Validity of the new long-term visas

Under the new rules, five-year residency visa will be granted to owners of UAE real estate worth at least Dh5 million, while renewable 10-year visas will be provided to expats with investments of at least Dh10 million if non-real estate assets account for at least 60 per cent of the total.

Investors will be allowed to bring spouses and children into the country.

5year

residency visas to owners of UAE real estate worth Dh5m

Other rules offer five-year visas to entrepreneurs and 10-year visas for scientists and researchers with top qualifications. Outstanding students can stay for five years.

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Analysts welcomed the government’s long-term strategic direction, and said the decision would positively impact investment and employment trends.

Jean-Paul Pigat, head of research at Lighthouse Research in Dubai, said the new visas were a step in the right direction and hoped that the policies would be further broadened so that even larger numbers of residents could qualify.

Investors/Real Estate Entrepreneurs

The Fineprint

  • The amount invested in real estate must be paid and not loaned
  • The property must be retained for at least 3 years
  • The visa could be extended to include business partners, provided that each partner contributes Dh10 million

The Questions

  • Will the property valuation of Dh5 million (5-year visa) and Dh10 million (10-year visa) extend to all types of commercial real estate?
  • Does the visa eligibility apply to existing property that had been acquired for Dh5 million or more?

Outstanding Students

The Fineprint

  • Five-year visa for students with a grade of at least 95% in secondary schools, with a distinction of 3.75 GPA upon graduation from any university
  • The long-term visa benefit will be extended to include families of the outstanding students

Special Talents: Innovators and Executives

The Fineprint

  • Creative individuals must be accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development
  • Inventors must obtain a patent of value added to UAE’s economy with the approval of the Ministry of Economy
  • Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or scientific research published in world-class journals
  • Executives must be owners of well-known and globally-recognised companies
  • They must also be holders of high academic achievement, professional experience and position

Doctors and Scientists

The Fineprint

  1. Holder of a PhD degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world
  2. Holder of an award for the work in the applicant's jurisdiction
  3. Contribution to a major scientific research related to the work of the applicant
  4. Published articles or books in distinguished publications in the field of work of the applicant
  5. Membership in a selective entry organisation related to the work of the applicant
  6. PhD in addition to 10-year professional experience
  7. Specialisation in priority areas to the UAE for doctors
  8. Scientists accredited by Emirates Scientists Council
  9. Holders of Mohammad Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence