Anyone who can find a job in the UAE or set up a company can obtain a residence permit and benefit from the absence of income and corporation tax - and all other direct taxes - that the UAE offers.
The UAE has straightforward requirements for obtaining a residence permit. It issues residence visas for periods of two, three, five and ten years, after which they expire or must be renewed. It does not issue permanent residence visas. If a residence permit holder is absent in the UAE for more than 180 calendar days in a row it will be automatically cancelled. In other words you should visit the country at least twice a year to prevent it from being cancelled.
Below a summary of the UAE residence visa requirements for the different types of visas available.
Shareholders and employees can acquire a two-year residence visa that entitles them to work in the UAE if they are respectively holding shares or are employed by companies established in the mainland (ie outside the freezones) as well as some freezones. Employees can sponsor their spouse and children provided their salary exceeds AED 4000 a month.
Shareholders and employees of companies established in most freezones can acquire a three-year residence visa that entitles them to work in the UAE if they are respectively holding shares or are employed by companies established in the mainland (ie outside the freezones). Employees can sponsor their spouse and children provided their salary exceeds AED 4,000 a month.
There are three categories of people who qualify for a visa with a 5 year validity period: real estate investors, entrepreneurs and outstanding students. They are allowed to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and can own 100 percent of a business in the UAE’s mainland (i.e. outside the freezones).
Real Estate Investors
A real estate investor needs to invest at least 5 million AED (equity capital) in a property in order to qualify.
Retired residents over the age of 55 can apply for a long-term visa of 5 years. For retirees to be eligible for the retirement visa, they must have worked for not less than 15 years inside or outside the UAE, or be at least 55 years old or more at the time of retirement. Next, they must own a property/properties of no less than AED 1 million, have financial savings of no less than AED 1 million or have a monthly income of AED 20,000 (15,000 a month for Dubai), and provide bank statement for the last six months.
Entrepreneurs qualify for a visa if they at least 500K AED in their business is made or if their project has been approved by an accredited business incubator in the UAE. Visas can also be obtained for spouse and children, a partner and three executives.
Outstanding students are those considered to have obtained at least a grade of 95% in secondary school or a GPA of at least 3.75 in university.
There are two categories of people who qualify for a visa with a 10 year validity period: high-end investors and certain specialists. They are allowed to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and can own 100 percent of a business in the UAE’s mainland.
The investment must be for a minimum of AED 10 million equity capital. The investment can be in a UAE investment fund or a UAE company. It can also be a combination on condition that the investment in the real estate sector does not exceed 40% of the total investment. Visas can also be obtained for the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.
Individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their specialism can apply for this type of visa. Scientists, doctors, inventors, executives, as well as artists potentially qualify. A visa for spouse and children can also be obtained.
Our advisors at our Dubai office are familiar with all the - ever changing - residence options and visa procedures in the UAE. Contact us
to obtain more information on whether you qualify for a particular visa. We can advise on the best option to obtain a visa and guide you through the entire process.