UAE visa
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The new entry and residency scheme for foreigners in UAE will be active as of September this year.

The UAE cabinet, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has approved the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners aimed at strengthening the UAE position as an ideal destination to live, work and invest.

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The new visa rules were announced yesterday.

Ali Mohammad Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, said the new executive regulations provide comprehensive information on the types and conditions of entry visas and residence permits.

“The new rules will support sustainable development and the economic diversity policy in the country by attracting skilled workers, talents, professionals, specialists and experts,” said Al Shamsi.

The new model, in some cases, allows people who enter as visitors to stay for 60 days rather than 30 days at present.

Parents can sponsor their male children until the age of 25, up from 18, allowing them to remain in the UAE after school and university.

Al Shamsi said the new rules have different residencies and new categories to attract investors, entrepreneurs, high skilled workers, outstanding students, frontliners and others.

“The new scheme will ease procedures, adding new advantages and end the link between residency and the work sponsor and enhance quality of life,” he added.

Green visa

Al Shamsi said the new system will have a new generation of residencies in the country like the green visa that will provide five years of residency for skilled employees, without a sponsor or employer.

The green visa allows the holder to bring his or her family members as well as six months grace period after the residency expires or is canceled.

The green residency has three types. The first is for skilled workers, while the second is for freelancers and self-employed individuals. The third is for investors to establish or participate in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence that was valid for two years only.

“The cabinet was keen to enhance family stability for residents and the new rules add new benefits for family members. Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age,” Al Shamsi added.

He said Green Residency holders can bring their first-degree relatives into the country too.

Visit visa

The new model offers new options for visitors to have different, flexible and multi-entry of visit visas for up to one year and ends the need for arrivals to acquire sponsorship. The visit visa offers 60 days of validity and one platform to apply at.

The job exploration visa has been introduced with the aim of attracting young talents and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities. It does not require a sponsor or a host.

Another visa for investors is the exploration visa to explore investment opportunities inside the UAE. It does not require a sponsor or host.

Golden visa categories

Substantial amendments have been introduced to the Golden Residence Scheme to simplify the eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries. This long-term 10-year residency is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.

According to the new rules, there will be no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residence valid.

The amendments allow the Golden Residence holder to sponsor his/her family members, including spouse and children, regardless of their age, and to sponsor support services (domestic) laborers without limiting their number. If the holder of the Golden Residence dies, then his family members can stay in the UAE until the end of their permit duration.

Golden residency for scientists

The new rules aim to support and boost investment in the property sector by having new benefits in the Golden Residence for investors in this vital sector.

People are entitled to obtain the Golden Residence when purchasing a property worth no less than Dh2 million with a loan from specific local banks. Investors can also obtain Golden Residence when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than Dh2 million from approved local real estate companies.

Residency is granted to scientists and researchers with high achievements and influence in their field based on recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.

The candidate should have a Ph.D. or master’s degree in the disciplines of engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from the best universities in the world. The candidate should have substantial research achievements.

Golden residency for professionals

A major expansion has been introduced in this category to attract highly skilled workers with educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences.

The applicants should have a valid employment contract in the UAE, and should be classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification which is aligned with the International Standard of Classification of Occupations ISCO by the International Labour Organisation.

The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the monthly salary should not be less than Dh30,000.

Golden residency for exceptional talents

This residence is granted to top talents in vital fields. It is awarded based on talent only, regardless of the educational qualification or the employment status or the monthly salary or professional level.

It requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity, and includes talented individuals in culture, art, sports, digital technology, invention and innovation and other vital fields.

Golden residency for entrepreneurs

The executive regulations set flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible to obtain the Golden Residence; an entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a startup registered in the country in the category of small and medium enterprises SME and generates annual revenues of not less than Dh1 million.

In addition, obtaining approval for a startup idea from an official business incubator or from the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is sufficient to obtain the Golden Residence in this category.

Moreover, if the person is a founder (or one of the founders) of a previous entrepreneurial project (projects) that was sold with a total value of not less than Dh7 million, he will be entitled to Golden Residence. The approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is required for projects or ideas.

Golden visa for outstanding students and graduates

This residency targets high performing students in UAE secondary schools, and outstanding graduates from UAE universities and the best 100 universities worldwide according to specific criteria that includes their academic performance (cumulative average), the year of graduation, and the university classification.