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Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, at Emirates Towers in Dubai on Sunday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE on Sunday announced the launch of a new resident visa category—Green visa—that allows residents to sponsor their parents and children [up to the age of 25 years instead 18 years in the case of sons].

The green visa will not be linked to work permits from companies and targets highly-skilled people, investors, entrepreneurs, top students and graduates, announced Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade announced.

He also announced the launch of another category of ‘Freelance Visa’ to attract special talents to the country.

Dr Al Zeyoudi was among the top ministers who made a series of announcements about the first batch of 50 initiatives that the UAE is launching to commemorate its 50th anniversary and spur further growth of the economy and social system of the country.

He said the Green visa holders will be given 90-180 days’ grace period once their visas expire, unlike the current system of 30 days’ grace period, to exit the country.

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“In Green visas, the person [holding the visa] is going to be self-dependent and he is not going to be attached to companies and he can sponsor parents and children up to 25 years instead of 18 years,” Dr Al Zeyoudi later told reporters.

Freelance visas will be granted to owners of independent businesses, or self-employed individuals.

“Freelancers will have special dedicated visas…This is to attract experts, retirees and specialised people to niche sectors,” explained Dr Al Zeyoudi.

Speaking to Gulf News, he said the Green visa would be open to most categories of residents. “It is going to be open for most of the categories—investors, entrepreneurs, [those running] SMEs, talented people, scientists, students etc.”

The details including the duration of the visa will be announced soon, he said. No details about salary requirements or investment to be eligible for the Green visa were announced on Sunday.

Asked about the difference between Green and Golden visas, the minister said they all complement each other.

“It is a full package—tourist visas, green visas, golden visas. Freelancer visa is part of green visas. Each pillar is going to have different categories. Those details will be announced soon.”

Asked about some golden visa holders not being able to sponsor their parents, Dr Al Zeyoudi told Gulf News. “It is going to be modified like the green visa. The modification is going to applied in the whole residency system.”

He said the new modifications are the continuation of the changes that the country has already made into its residency laws which include temporary work visas for students above 15 and one-year visa for widows after the death of their husbands who were their sponsors.

He said the country is modifying the residency system to support families and economy.

“We have taken care of humanitarian aspects in the new system. We want to ensure that families are stable.”

“Human resources is the key element of the economic development. Family is DNA of the whole community. So, we have to ensure that they are stable so that they can contribute to the economy.”