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UAE's golden visa is aimed at investors, talented professionals and gifted individuals

Dubai: UAE announced golden visas for more categories of individuals last week, opening up the possibility of long and renewable residency for them in the country. The golden visa offers renewable 5 or 10 year residency based on the applicant’s profile.

UAE’s golden visa categories are unique in the fact that monetary investments are not the only category for approval. The UAE on November 15 announced it will grant the 10-year golden visa to all PhD holders, physicians, and engineers in the fields of computer engineering, electronics, programming, electricity and biotechnology, as well as graduates from UAE accredited universities who scored Grade Point Average, GPA, of 3.8 and above.

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Here are some other countries offering ‘golden visa’ categories to foreigners:

Saudi Arabia

In 2019, Saudi Arabia had announced their new permanent residency option for financially-solvent individuals over the age of 21. The fee for a permanent residency option is 800,000 Saudi riyals, around Dh784,000. Expatriates or foreigners can also get a residency permit, which requires no sponsor and allows ease of business, recruitment etc., for 100,000 Saudi riyals (around Dh98,000) for one year, renewable every year.


Another Gulf country with the option for ‘self-sponsorship’ through investment or other conditions is the Kingdom of Bahrain. Foreigners can get a renewable long-term residency permit if they are over the age of retirement but have enough income to support themselves and their dependents. Other options are if they have invested in real estate worth a minimum of BD50,000 (Dh487,000) in specific areas with a minimum monthly income of BD500 (Dh4,870), of or if they have a company investment in Bahrain of not less than BD100,000 (Dh974,000) and BD500 in minimum monthly income.

United States

Called the EB5 visa, the US only issues 10,000 of these out a year, including visas for the applicants’ dependents. The minimum investment amount is $900,000 (Dh3.3 million) and such investment should be able to directly create at least 10 jobs for American citizens. In some areas, the minimum investment for the visa goes up to $1.8 million (Dh6.6 million) along with the jobs requirement. The visa applicant, if successful, gets a green card, and is allowed to get residency for dependents as well.

United Kingdom

Getting a Tier 1 investor visa will put you back by £2 million (around Dh9.76 million) or more, and not in real-estate investments. The money needs to be invested in share capital, bonds market or loans market for UK-registered active firms. The Guardian reported in 2019 that 255 people were granted the visa in the first half of that year and that over 11,000 people got the visa since its inception in 2008.

European Union

Most nations in the EU have versions of the golden residency visa but conditions differ for some. Countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Italy don’t give out the long-term residency option for real-estate investments. These countries focus on economic investments and job creation, and the amounts required range from €250,000 (just over Dh1 million) to €10 million (over Dh43.5 million). Portugal, Spain, Malta, Cyprus and Greece, on the other hand, have options of real estate investment as a path to residency, and based on certain conditions, citizenship. The amounts of such investment start from €250,000.