How much investment required for UAE citizenship? Guidelines for acquiring UAE citizenship through investment in 2023

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Christina
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27 Jun 2023
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article
27 Jun 2023
556 views
In this article

Currently, the real estate market in the UAE presents a highly appealing opportunity for investments. In this article we will outline the minimum investment requirements necessary to qualify for residency.

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Citizenship or Residency – investor eligibility

The resident status allows foreigners to legally reside in the UAE for a specified duration, while citizenship entails receiving a UAE passport.

From a legal standpoint, both options are available to investors. The UAE passport holds a prestigious position, ranking first in the global Passport Index. In 2021, the eligibility for a UAE passport was expanded to include foreign citizens beyond just residents of Persian Gulf countries. In terms of residency, individuals can obtain a resident visa, which serves as an equivalent to a residence permit. This can be obtained by both individuals and legal entities.

Qualification criteria for UAE citizenship  

The process has become easier compared to previous requirements, where citizenship applications were limited to individuals who had resided in the country for at least 30 years and renounced their previous citizenship. In comparison, Swiss citizenship can be applied for in 12 years.

To attract promising talents and long-term investments, the UAE authorities amended the «Law on Citizenship and Passports» in 2021, expanding the list of potential candidates for citizenship.

The following categories of individuals are now eligible to apply for a UAE passport:

  • Large investors with real estate holdings in the UAE. 
  • Doctors who are highly reputable specialists in specific fields such as oncology, with over 10 years of experience. 
  • Scientists working in research institutes who have been awarded prestigious international prizes for their contributions, with at least 10 years of experience. 
  • Inventors with one or more patents approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or other prestigious international organizations.
  • Creators who have received at least one international award in the domains of culture and art.

It's important to note that investors cannot directly submit an application for citizenship. Instead, they need to be chosen by members of the royal family or UAE officials among other candidates. The final decision rests with the Cabinet of Ministers. The authorities have not specified the exact investment amount required for citizenship, but it is presumed to be higher than the threshold for the «golden visa» of $545,000. Consequently, obtaining UAE citizenship, although more feasible now, still presents numerous variables and uncertainties.

Benefits of long-term visas  

A long-term visa, also known as a resident visa or Emirates ID, offers numerous advantages for foreigners seeking a comfortable life in the UAE. This visa allows individuals to study, work, and live in the country.

The duration of a resident visa ranges from 6 months to 10 years, depending on factors such as investments or professional qualifications. Unlike permanent residence, there is no requirement for continuous stay, and it is only necessary to renew the Emirates ID once a year, with the option to do so indefinitely.

Here are the opportunities that residents enjoy after obtaining an Emirates ID:

Right to relocate to the UAE

The country attracts a large expatriate 90% population, with Dubai being particularly appealing. The UAE ranks 26th globally in the human development index and is recognized as the second safest country in the world. Furthermore, according to the Crime Index by Country for 2023, the UAE holds the position of the second safest country globally.

Tax benefits

Residents and citizens of the Emirates enjoy the advantage of being exempt from income tax, including taxes on income, interest, dividends, and royalties. However, starting from June 1, 2023, a corporate tax of 9% has been implemented for businesses operating in the UAE. It's worth noting that companies registered in the free zone remain exempt from this tax. Additionally, the value-added tax (VAT) in the Emirates is set at 5%, which is considerably lower compared to the 20% VAT rate in Europe.

Simplified banking

The Emirates ID simplifies the process of opening bank accounts, both domestically and internationally. Residents only need to present a valid passport with a resident visa and the Emirates ID card.

Mortgage and installment plans

Residents have access to mortgage and installment plans for various projects, irrespective of the property's cost.

Access to healthcare

As the United Arab Emirates strives to attract skilled professionals, numerous experts are drawn to this destination. The UAE has established 4 expansive medical establishments known as «health cities»: Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and Sheikh Shakhbout City in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Healthcare City in Dubai, and Sharjah Healthcare City in Sharjah. These facilities encompass multiple blocks and offer a diverse array of services.

Education opportunities

With over 130 universities, including prestigious international branches like New York University Abu Dhabi and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the UAE offers a wide range of educational options.

Driver's license eligibility

Residents can obtain a UAE driver's license, which is recognized in 50 countries worldwide. Foreigners can also purchase cars in the UAE, including through car loans. Since the country is not pedestrian-friendly, owning a car is advisable for those planning to relocate permanently.

The opportunity to bright the family

In order for a family to relocate to the UAE, men must be residents of the country and earn a minimum income ranging from $820 to $1000, in addition to owning real estate. The requirements for women, on the other hand, are more stringent, with a salary threshold of $2,700 or higher. There is also a specific list of family members who are eligible to accompany the resident:

  • Spouse of the opposite sex. 
  • Unmarried daughters without any age restrictions. 
  • Sons under the age of 21, provided they are pursuing their studies. However, this rule does not apply to children with disabilities. 
  • Stepdaughters and stepsons can be included with the consent of their biological parents during the application process. 
  • Parents can join if they have a minimum monthly income of $5,200.
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Best real estate offers

Categories of Emirates residency visas for investors

Investors in the UAE have the opportunity to obtain Emirates Resident visas, and the process of obtaining an Emirates ID is relatively straightforward. The country follows the principle of inviting investors to contribute their money, allowing them to reside in the UAE for an extended period. In 2022, the UAE government introduced updates to the visa system, streamlining the process of obtaining a «golden visa» for residency and making revisions to the 2-year visa. Currently, there are two primary types of visas available through investment: a 2-year visa and a 10-year visa.

2-year visa  

2-year visa is provided to those individuals who have purchased a property worth approximately $205,000. This visa also permits the inclusion of family members. However, there are several conditions that investors must meet when applying for residency through real estate investment:

  • If the property is mortgaged, at least 50% of the loan must be repaid before applying for a residence permit. 
  • The required amount of $205,000 must be paid in full before submitting the necessary documents. 
  • Real estate investments are limited to properties that are ready for occupancy, and purchasing properties still under construction is not allowed.

Furthermore, it is important for investors not only to buy a property for investment, but to fulfill the general requirements set by the UAE authorities:

  • Maintain a minimum monthly income of $2,700. 
  • Possess mandatory health insurance if applying in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. 
  • Avoid staying outside the country for more than 6 months without a valid reason.

10-year visa  

In 2022, the requirements for obtaining a 10-year resident visa, also known as a «golden visa», were simplified by the authorities. To acquire this visa, individuals must purchase a property valued at $545,000. Similar to the 2-year visa, a mortgage can be used, subject to certain conditions: at least 50% of the debt must be repaid, and $545,000 must already be deposited when submitting the necessary documents.

Holders of the golden visa enjoy several advantages, including:

  • The ability to purchase real estate in properties under construction. 
  • Flexibility to leave the UAE at any time. 
  • The opportunity to bring family members to the country without any age restrictions.

Investment potential in the UAE and Dubai  

Current demand in the real estate market significantly surpasses the supply, with projections of further growth in the coming years. Investing in apartments or properties in the Persian Gulf country is considered one of the most promising avenues for allocating funds.

However, it is crucial to determine the purpose of the investment before making a purchase, whether it's for subsequent resale or rental purposes. On average, real estate in the UAE offers a high profitability rate, estimated at around 5-6%. This is particularly noticeable in luxury projects. Additionally, Abu Dhabi should not be overlooked, as since 2019, foreigners have been permitted to acquire real estate with 100% ownership rights, but only in specific freehold zones. In this emirate, the return on investment can reach an annual rate of 7-8%.

Requirements for real estate buyers  

Buyers of real estate must fulfill certain requirements to obtain an Emirates ID. The authorities request the following documents from investors:

  • Health status certificate – It is mandatory for the investor and their family members to undergo HIV tests and obtain a lung tuberculosis X-ray from accredited clinics in the UAE. 
  • Submission of biometric data at one of the country's official centers. 
  • Proof of income through a bank statement. 
  • Certificate of good conduct from the UAE police, confirming the absence of any criminal offenses.

Step-by-Step guide to UAE residency application  

Selecting and purchasing real estate  

Foreigners are allowed to buy property only in the UAE freehold zones. These zones include approximately 9 investment zones in Abu Dhabi and around 50 in Dubai. It's essential to keep in mind that when applying for a resident visa, the investor must meet the minimum investment threshold, which is $205,000 for a 2-year visa and $545,000 for a 10-year visa, even if the property is acquired through a mortgage.

Acquiring a DMT Certificate  

DMT refers to the Department of Municipalities and Transport, responsible for real estate registration. The investor needs to register their property with a competent authority in the country. The DMT Certificate reflects the property's value and provides a confirmation of the absence of any encumbrances on the investment capital.

Residence permit registration  

When applying for a resident visa, it is crucial to provide written consent to retain ownership of the property until the end of the visa period. Failure to do so may result in losing the property. In order to regain resident status in the UAE, it would be necessary to purchase real estate once again.

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Can the investor's family members obtain citizenship?

Under the new rules, family members of investors, specialists, and individuals with special talents are eligible to obtain citizenship in the UAE, subject to certain conditions.

Next steps following visa acquisition  

However, it is important to note that obtaining citizenship cannot be solely based on holding a «golden visa» or making investments. The specific criteria and requirements for citizenship are not explicitly defined in the law. It is understood that the investor's candidacy needs to be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, and a proposal from a high-ranking official is also necessary. Examples of individuals who have received UAE citizenship include IT businessman Pavel Durov and billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, among others from Russia.

Few real estate options  

Fashionz  

Fashionzis a 56-floor residential tower developed by the renowned developer Danube in collaboration with Fashion TV. It is perfectly situated in the Jumeirah Village Triangle district, providing easy access to Dubai Hills Mall and Mall of the Emirates, which are just a short 17-minute drive away.

All the residences in the tower are thoughtfully furnished, eliminating the need to wait for months for renovations to be completed. The interior design showcases serene pastel tones with occasional contrasting decorative elements. The panoramic windows allow residents to enjoy picturesque views of the Emirate's surroundings. The developer offers a range of floor plans, from studios to spacious 3-bedroom apartments.

Lobby walls are tiled with white marble. The lounge zone, furnished with comfortable seating, offers a relaxing space to unwind. Residents can take in the vibrant views of the Persian Gulf or seek assistance from the concierge for any household matters.

The residents of Fashionz can indulge in an array of services and amenities. These include a beauty salon with personalized stylists, a spa center, therapeutic rooms, and a state-of-the-art gym. After a long day, residents can unwind in the outdoor swimming pool or enjoy a delightful dinner at the rooftop restaurant, which offers breathtaking views of the city.

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Fashionz

Mar Casa

Mar Casa is an impressive 52-floor tower located in Dubai Maritime City, featuring an elegant facade inspired by the captivating power of marine nature. Positioned on the first coastline of the peninsula, the project offers breathtaking sea views. With its convenient location, the city center, Dubai Mall, and Burj Khalifa are a 20-minute drive away, while Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina can be reached within 28 minutes. Dubai International Airport is a mere 15-minute car journey from the property.

The project offers a diverse range of apartment options, ranging from small studios to spacious penthouses with 3-4 bedrooms. The panoramic windows fill the spaces with natural light, creating a sense of openness, while providing residents with uninterrupted views of the endless sea and stunning sunrises and sunsets.

Corner apartments on the terrace boast private pools, providing a tranquil retreat for relaxation after the fast-paced city life. Penthouse units feature expansive living rooms with double-height ceilings. All units are sold with designer finishes, high-quality plumbing fixtures, and state-of-the-art household appliances, enabling residents to move in seamlessly and start enjoying their new homes immediately.

The spacious lobby of Mar Casa showcases a modern design. A captivating light installation in the center of the space adds a warm glow and visually enhances the room. The lounge zone, furnished with comfortable furnishings, offers residents a space to relax with friends or conduct meetings. The concierge service is available to assist residents with various requests, including arranging food delivery, making restaurant reservations, or booking transportation, allowing residents to spend more quality time with their loved ones or take a break from daily tasks.

A wide range of amenities and services are available for residents' convenience and enjoyment. These include a children's club and playground, providing a fun and engaging environment for young residents to socialize. Adults can take advantage of the fitness room with a yoga area or indulge in relaxation at the spa with saunas. In the evening, families can come together and enjoy cooking dinner in the designated BBQ area.

In the vast artificial peninsula of Dubai Maritime City, residents of Mar Casa have access to all the essentials for a comfortable lifestyle, work, and entertainment. The area features business buildings for office spaces, shopping malls for retail therapy and entertainment, and a picturesque promenade for leisurely family strolls.

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Mar Casa

Conclusion

If you are considering purchasing a property in Dubai for personal use or investment purposes, we are here to assist you. Our website features a wide range of current offers for apartments and properties in the Dubai real estate market. If you don’t want to spend time on it, you can contact our experts at +7 (495)431-99-33. They will guide you through the process, help you find the most suitable options, and navigate through any legal intricacies. With care and without any commission fees.