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UAE Golden Visa

UAE Golden Visa

In recent years, the UAE, particularly Dubai, has become an attractive destination for those seeking new opportunities for work, business, and residency. Among various residency programs in the UAE, the Golden Visa program has garnered significant attention from foreigners.

This program is part of an Executive Order issued in 2022 under the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners, aimed at strengthening the UAE’s position as a hub for foreign professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors.

Features and Benefits of the UAE Golden Visa

Essentially, the UAE Golden Visa is a long-term residency permit. Its main features and differences from a standard residency visa include an extended duration and eligibility for specific categories of individuals who meet set criteria.

The visa offers holders the following benefits:

  • Multiple entry to process residency status
  • Long-term residency visa for 10 years with the possibility of renewal
  • Ability to sponsor oneself
  • Ability to sponsor family members, including spouses and children regardless of their age, as well as domestic helpers
  • Ability to stay outside the UAE for more than six months without losing the visa’s validity
  • Family members can stay in the UAE until the expiration of their residency permits even after the death of the main visa holder

These factors create new prospects and opportunities for holders of the UAE Golden Visa.

Categories of Applicants Eligible for the UAE Golden Visa

One goal of the program is to stimulate an environment that supports entrepreneurial growth and overall national development. Consequently, the UAE is keen on attracting investors, entrepreneurs, highly skilled talented professionals in various fields of science or sports, as well as outstanding students and scholars.

In addition to the general conditions required for a UAE residency visa, additional requirements are set for these categories of applicants. Let’s examine these requirements in more detail, using Dubai, a key emirate in the UAE, as an example.

Investors

Investors can apply for a 10-year renewable Golden Visa in Dubai by making the following investments:

Business InvestmentsThe investor must be a partner in a business and provide:

  • A valid commercial license

  • Information about the company (financial statement, bank statement for the last six months, registration documents)

  • Tax authority documents proving the company transacts at least AED 100,000 annually

Deposit InvestmentsProof of a deposit of at least AED 2 million from an accredited investment fund or bank in the UAE.
Real Estate InvestmentsOwnership of one or more properties with a total value of at least AED 2 million, verified by a letter from the land department.
Tax PaymentsEligibility can also be based on tax payments of at least AED 250,000 annually, along with a valid commercial license.

Different emirates may require additional documents.

Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs can obtain a 10-year renewable Golden Visa if their economic project promises technological or innovative development in the UAE.

In Dubai, the Dubai Future Foundation evaluates the project. Generally, the project should generate a high annual income:

  • AED 1 million if registered with the Ministry of Economy or relevant local authorities, or
  • AED 2 million if the entrepreneur receives support from an accredited business incubator in the UAE or the Ministry of Economy to start their activity in the country.

The founder can also qualify for the UAE Golden Visa even after selling their project if the sale amount is at least AED 7 million.

Outstanding Professionals

The UAE attracts outstanding professionals with high qualifications in areas of special interest and potential for the country’s development, such as:

  • Epidemiology and virology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Big data
  • Computer engineering
  • Electronics
  • Software
  • Electrical engineering
  • Genetics and biotechnology

Professionals in these fields can hold various positions and perform different functions, such as:

  • Doctors
  • Scientists
  • Inventors
  • Senior managers, etc.

Additionally, this category includes creative professionals and athletes.

These individuals must provide a recommendation letter or confirmation letter from the relevant UAE ministry or department. For example, doctors would need one from the Ministry of Health and Prevention, and inventors from the Ministry of Economy.

Additional criteria may be set for each category of professionals. The Golden Visa for this category can be issued for 10 years with the possibility of renewal.

Talented Students

Talented students are a distinct category eligible for a 10-year UAE Golden Visa. For this group, the term is fixed and cannot be extended under the same conditions.

Golden Visas may be granted to high school students who demonstrate academic achievements (according to established criteria) and have a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education.

University students can obtain the UAE Golden Visa if:

  • The university they attend is rated according to an international classification approved by the UAE Ministry of Education.
  • They can prove a sufficiently high level of academic performance.

University graduates can also qualify for the UAE Golden Visa if no more than two years have passed since graduation, provided other conditions are met.

Pioneers in Humanitarian Work and Crisis Response

More rare categories include:

  • Members and outstanding employees who have worked for at least five years in international and regional organizations or civil associations concerned with public interest issues.
  • Individuals who have received awards or recommendations from a local, regional, or international organization engaged in humanitarian activities.
  • Individuals who have funded humanitarian activities to the tune of at least AED 2 million or an equivalent amount.
  • Individuals who have demonstrated exceptional abilities in crisis situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic; for example, this could include nurses, physician assistants, lab technicians, pharmacologists, and other staff.

Thus, through the Golden Visa program, the UAE attracts individuals capable of making significant contributions to the development of humanitarian activities and actively participating in solving the most acute social and environmental issues.

Key Steps to Obtaining the UAE Golden Visa

The process of obtaining the UAE Golden Visa for each of the above categories of applicants is similar and consists of the following main steps:

1. Eligibility CheckThe UAE has developed an online tool that allows applicants to determine which type of visa suits them by answering a series of questions.
2. Document Collection for Specific Applicant Categories and Application SubmissionApplications for the Golden Visa can be submitted online.
3. Visa ApprovalThe applicant will receive a notification about the status of their application and visa approval.
4. Cancellation of Existing Residency Visa (if applicable)If the applicant is already in the UAE and has a residency visa on another basis, they must cancel this visa and complete all related formalities (e.g., pay any fines that may have arisen) to continue the Golden Visa process.
5. Medical ExaminationAll individuals aged 18 and older must undergo a medical examination. Additionally, they must obtain medical insurance for two years.
6. Fingerprinting (if applicable)This must be done at one of the ICA centers in the UAE.
7. Obtaining Emirates IDThe Emirates ID is a plastic card that all citizens and residents of the UAE must have.

Some Tax Features in the UAE

The UAE Golden Visa program is unique in that it actively attracts outstanding professionals from various fields, as well as affluent individuals.

For the latter, one of the most popular ways to access the benefits of life in the UAE, particularly in rapidly developing Dubai, is through the acquisition of real estate.

However, when deciding to obtain the UAE Golden Visa through real estate investments, it is important to consider the associated tax aspects.

The UAE has a relatively lenient tax system. For example, the country does not have:

  • Personal income tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • Inheritance tax

In other words, income from employment and dividends in the UAE are not taxed.

However, it should be noted that individual emirates may impose their taxes, and often some taxes are levied on real estate transactions.

For instance, in Dubai, the property transfer tax (i.e., the tax paid when purchasing real estate) is 4% of the price stated in the contract.

Conclusion

Choosing the UAE for residency through the Golden Visa not only provides comfort and a high standard of living but also offers unique opportunities for business development and investment. The country is a global hub for business, trade, and finance, making it attractive for establishing new enterprises.

Moreover, the UAE’s openness to foreign investment and business, along with its strategic location at the crossroads of trade routes, creates a unique dynamic environment conducive to exploring new opportunities and growth.

Company Formation in the UAE
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