What is a residence visa in the UAE? It is a document that gives the right to temporarily stay in the country. UAE residence visa holders can work in the country, be a tax resident, open a bank account and/or take loans, rent real estate, get medical care, enroll children in public and private educational institutions, get a driver’s license etc.
Common Requirements for UAE Residence Visas
Validity period for UAE residence visas is 1 to 10 years. Renewing UAE residence permits can happen as many times as necessary. Moreover, it is enough to visit the country only once in six months for the residence visa to remain valid (this requirement was waved for Golden Visa holders).
Visa requirements for UAE residents include undergoing a basic medical examination and applying for and obtaining an Emirates ID, an identity card that any citizen of the United Arab Emirates, as well as foreigners residing in the country, must have.
The card is issued by the Federal Office of Identity and Citizenship and contains personal information about a person. Its validity period is equal to the validity period of the residence visa.
Renewal Process for UAE Residence Visas
When your visa is about to expire, you can extend it if your purpose of residence is still valid. When extending a visa, the applicant must go through the same procedure as when applying for it for the first time (except for the biometrics). Documents for extension should be submitted one month before the expiry date.
UAE Residence Visa Cancellation
A residence visa is automatically cancelled if its holder stays outside the UAE for more than six months. Nevertheless, such a visa must be officially cancelled. This procedure is handled by the sponsor.
Reasons for refusal of a visa to the UAE:
- The applicant did not pass security clearance;
- Unsatisfactory results of the obligatory medical examination;
- “Technical reasons” (in such cases it is possible to reapply);
- The applicant did not cancel the visa that became invalid due to exceeding a six-month period outside the country.
Please see more information about the most common types of residence visas in the UAE and eligibility criteria for UAE residence visas below.
Who can obtain a Residence Visa in the UAE?
- An investor who is the owner of an onshore company in the UAE;
- An employee hired by a UAE onshore company;
- Freelance Visa holder;
- A UAE real estate owner or public investor;
- A student of one of the UAE universities;
- Dependent family members of a residence visa holder
UAE Business Visas
It is necessary to take into account that the company must be an onshore one. In addition, the company should renew its license each year, as well as own or lease the work premises.
The Investor/Partner Visa is applicable to foreign nationals who want to start their own business or invest in an existing business in the UAE. Although they’re commonly used interchangeably, and very close in terms of legality and benefits, an investor visa and a partner visa are two different types of visas that serve distinct purposes.
An investor visa is issued to individuals who establish a sole establishment company in the UAE, which has one owner with no partners or shareholders.
A partner visa is issued to business owners who establish a company in the UAE with more than one owner, partner, or shareholder.
The employing company can obtain work visas for its foreign employees. In case of termination of employment, the company must cancel the employee’s work visa. The employee must apply for a new one within a month or leave the country. Some professions have strict employee qualification requirements; compliance therewith must be confirmed by an appropriate educational document.
|Company registration||1 day to 3 weeks depending on the free zone||Business License and Immigration File|
|Establishment card opening (immigration file)||3 to 5 business days|
|Registration of electronic channels||1 to 3 business days|
|Permit to enter the country||4 to 5 business days||Passport, photo, entry permit, certificate of medical examination, application for identity card (possibly employment contract, copy of diploma)|
|Applicant has 60 days to complete the procedure to enter the UAE. If the applicant is already in the UAE at the time of issuance of the entry permit, it is necessary to change visa status||1 to 3 business days|
|Applicant visiting the UAE should undergo medical examination, provide biometric data, obtain e-visa and Emirates ID||5 to 7 business days|
Freelancer Visa allows you to reside and conduct business in the UAE, open accounts with local banks, participate in public and private projects throughout the Emirates, rent accommodation, sponsor family members and get other benefits.
Golden Visa in UAE
This kind of visa in the UAE is a certain type of long-term residence visa in the UAE, which is granted for 10 years.
What are the Benefits of a Golden Visa?
The client can:
- Reside in the UAE for 10 years without renewals;
- Open an account with a local bank and become a tax resident of the country with a comfortable tax regime;
- UAE Golden Visa holders receive Esaad privilege card, which provides significant discounts in the UAE and 92 other countries;
- Be entitled to stay outside the UAE for any period of time without having to cancel the visa (previously, it was permitted to live abroad for six months only);
- The investor may choose the Golden Visa programme that suits him best.
Golden Visa Visa for the Purchasing of Real Estate or Bank Deposit
|Type||Real Estate||Bank Deposit|
|Value||over AED 2,000,000 (~ USD 548,000)||over AED 2,000,000 (~ USD 548,000)|
|Requirements||ready to move in||Full amount has to be deposited for a period of minimum
|multiple investments allowed|
|rental property can be leased out|
|in case of mortgaged properties, at least 50% of the mortgage must be paid off when applying for a residence permit, no encumbrances are allowed|
|Issuing Authority||Dubai Land Department (Dubai)
Department of Community Development (Abu Dhabi)
|GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreign
Department of Community Development (Abu Dhabi)
|The main package of documents||– certificate of ownership;
– Passport, valid visa;
– 2 photos (passport size, on white background);
– certificate of criminal record from the UAE;
– bank statement certifying income (on request);
– medical insurance.
|– bank letter;
– Passport, valid visa;
– 2 photographs (passport size, white background);
– health insurance.
|Time to obtain||7-10 working days||7-10 working days|
|Requirement to visit the country||None||None|
Please note that if the visa has expired, the resident has the right to stay in the country for no more than 30 days.
Student Visa in UAE
This type of visa is for those over 18 years of age enrolled or studying at accredited higher education universities and colleges in the UAE. The visa is issued for 1 year and can be extended for the same period subject to proof of continued study.
The document is issued to the applicant on demand:
- The institution: university or college;
- Parent of the student holding a resident visa.
UAE Residence Visas for Family Members
UAE residence visa policies say that the holder of any residence visa (other than a student visa) may sponsor family members for residence visas:
- Both men and women can sponsor their family members as long as they fulfil the criteria.
- The sponsor must provide proof of housing as well as utility bills.
- An important condition is to have a salary of at least AED 4,000 per month or AED 3,000 per month if accommodation is provided by the employer.
- The client will need to provide a deposit and health insurance policies for parents in order to obtain a residence visa.