UAE Golden Visa 2023 - who is eligible for the coveted visa

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Christina
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13 Jul 2023
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article
13 Jul 2023
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In this article

While visiting Dubai as a guest is enjoyable, becoming a permanent resident brings numerous advantages. Particularly appealing is the opportunity provided by the UAE government, which encourages foreigners to relocate and offers them the chance to obtain a 10-year residence permit, commonly known as a «golden» visa. This comprehensive article outlines the eligibility criteria, conditions, and the step-by-step process for applying for residency in the Emirates.

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Understanding Resident Visas

In the United Arab Emirates, the concept of a residence permit does not exist. Instead, expatriates are granted a resident visa for permanent residency status.

There are five distinct types of resident visas:

  • «Golden Visa» – Valid for 10-year duration. 
  • Work Visa – Issued for a period ranging from 2 to 5 years.
  • Study Visa – Granted for a duration of 1 year. 
  • Pension Visa – Extended for a period of 5 years. 
  • Family Visa and Sponsor Visa – Allocated for the same period as the resident visa.

Resident visas can be renewed an unlimited number of times, provided the initial conditions under which they were granted are maintained. For instance, a student can renew their visa when progressing to the next academic year, while an employee can extend their visa when their employment contract is renewed with a local company.

An essential document serving as proof of residency in the Emirates is the electronic Emirates ID card. This card serves various purposes, including authorization on government websites, payment for utilities, opening bank accounts, conducting real estate transactions, and registering vehicles.

The Benefits of a «Golden» Resident Visa  

For Business and Investment:  

  • Exemption from income tax, capital gains tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, and real estate tax. 
  • Corporate income tax is set at a favorable rate of 9%. 
  • Gain the ability to open a corporate bank account. 
  • Access benefits provided by the government for company founders. 
  • Benefit from grants and incentives specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • The information regarding the assets of UAE residents remains confidential from other countries.

For daily life:  

  • Obtain the freedom to open settlement and credit bank accounts.
  • Experience no individual income tax. 
  • Apply for a mortgage. 
  • Qualify for extended medical insurance coverage. 
  • Obtain a UAE driver's license.
  • Enroll in local universities. 
  • Bring the family to reside in the UAE. 
  • Enroll your child in kindergarten, school, and university. 
  • Seek employment opportunities with local companies. 
  • Enjoy visa-free travel to 181 countries worldwide. 
  • Face no restrictions on staying in other countries. 
  • In the event of the resident's passing, family members can remain in the UAE until the visa's expiration. 
  • Apply for UAE citizenship.

Additional advantages for 10-Year Visa holders:

In Dubai:

  • Receive discounts and bonuses in stores, clinics, and government agencies with Esaad privilege card. 
  • Benefit from reduced tuition fees for exceptional students and specialists.

In Abu Dhabi:

  • A lowered mortgage interest rate. 
  • Obtain discounts on select projects by Imkan Properties. 
  • Access reduced prices for annual health insurance and extended insurance benefits. 
  • Receive discounts on the purchase of a car and special maintenance offers. 
  • Enjoy discounts in restaurants, spas, fitness centers, and select hotels.

Eligibility for a «Golden» Visa and its conditions  

The «Golden» visa is available for individuals who meet certain criteria. Specifically, the 10-year visa is open to the following categories: investors, entrepreneurs, talented students and specialists.

The UAE differentiates investors into two groups: those who choose to invest in the local economy and those who opt for real estate investments.

Requirements for business investors:  

  • Obtain a letter from the UAE investment fund verifying that the prospective resident has a deposit of approximately $545,000. 
  • Provide a letter from the UAE Federal Tax Service indicating that the investor pays an annual tax of $680,000.
  • Demonstrate that the monetary capital is a personal asset and not a loan. 
  • Arrange and pay for medical insurance coverage for oneself and family members.

Requirements for real estate investor-owners:  

  • Acquire one or more residential properties in the UAE from an accredited developer, with a minimum value of $545,000. 
  • Present a certified certificate of ownership issued by the Land Department of the respective Emirate. 
  • Secure a mortgage from a local bank approved by the local Land Department for 2-year or 5-year Visa holders.

Requirements for entrepreneurs:  

  • Rule a small or medium-sized business. 
  • Confirm that the business generates an annual income of at least $272,000.
  • Obtain a letter from a UAE auditor certifying that the business has a value of at least $136,000.
  • Provide a letter from the relevant Emirate's government stating that the company meets the required criteria. 
  • Include a letter from a franchise or business incubator confirming the business's registration with them.

Requirements for talented specialists:  

  • Work in one of the specified fields. 
  • Attach letters of recommendation or approval from the Emirate's government bodies. 
  • Submit a letter detailing work experience, a salary certificate, and a work contract for executive directors.
  • Provide a copy of a bachelor's or master's degree certified by the UAE Ministry of Education for researchers.

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Sample recommendation letter for a talented specialist

Requirements for talented students:

  • The student's alma mater must be ranked among the top 100 universities globally. 
  • Include a letter of recommendation from the university or a diploma certified by the UAE Ministry of Education. 
  • Maintain a cumulative average score of at least 3.5.

Process of acquiring a Resident Visa  

In this section, we will provide a comprehensive breakdown of each stage involved in obtaining a resident visa, specifically focusing on the scenario of a real estate buyer in the UAE as an illustrative example.

Step 1: Purchase and registration of real estate  

The first step in the process is acquiring and registering real estate. The investor needs to gather essential supporting documents, which include the Title Deed for a completed project, Pretitle Deed/OQOOD, SPA (Sales and Purchase Agreement), and a bank account statement.

Title Deed: This document confirms the ownership of the real estate and is registered with the Land Department.

Pretitle Deed/OQOOD: It serves as a certificate of ownership for a property that is still under construction.

Bank Account Statement: A statement from a bank account, demonstrating that the investor has made a payment of at least $545,000.

SPA: The Sales and Purchase Agreement is a legally binding contract for property transactions in the primary market.

Olga, Consultant at the Great Goal consulting:

«When investors choose a property under construction, it must be at least 50% completed to ensure the approval of the visa application. In some cases, visa denials may occur due to developers failing to submit the necessary information to the Land Department».

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Sample Title Deed issued by the Dubai Land Department

Step 2: Visa application to the Land Department

The next step involves applying for a visa through the Land Department, and there are two available methods to do so:

Required documents:

  • Title Deed, OQOOD, SPA, and bank account statement. 
  • Passport with a UAE visa, either tourist or guest. 
  • Receipts for administrative and registration fees, along with ownership certificates. 
  • Proof of paid medical insurance for a duration of 2 years. 
  • A color photo, in electronic format, sized 3x4 on a white background.

The processing time for application review typically ranges from 3 to 20 days.


«In certain instances, clients may possess two international passports. It is crucial that the prospective resident arrives in the UAE using the same passport that will be associated with the purchased property. Failure to align the passport details in the system may result in the Land Department rejecting the visa application».

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Olga
Consultant at the Great Goal consulting:

Step 3: Medical examination

Once the application is approved, the investor will receive a letter from the Land Department containing a list of designated medical centers where medical tests are to be conducted. An approximate list of clinics can be found on the official website of the Government of Dubai.

Required Tests:

  • Blood tests for various conditions such as hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, tuberculosis, and leprosy. 
  • X-ray examination.

Step 4: Obtaining the «Golden» Visa  

The Land Department reviews the medical examination results. If everything is satisfactory, the investor will receive a red visa in PDF format via email within a few days. This red visa represents the coveted «golden» visa. The final step is to convert the red visa into an Emirates ID.

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In the UAE, it is possible to obtain an electronic visa through a mobile application. Sourse: khaleejtimes.com

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Step 5: Biometrics enrollment

The UAE is actively implementing biometric technologies, offering convenient authentication methods for citizens and residents. Individuals can utilize their fingerprints to access government websites or undergo iris scanning at airports. Biometric data, including fingerprint information, will also be recorded on the Emirates ID.

Once the visa is approved, the individual will receive an invitation to complete biometrics enrollment. This process is typically scheduled within 20 days and can be done at authorized medical or visa centers.


«The biometrics enrollment marks the final essential step in obtaining the resident visa. After this, the resident is free to travel outside the UAE and can collect the Emirates ID upon their return».

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Sofia
Consultant at Simple Business Network:

Step 6: Obtaining the Emirates ID 

Printing and delivery of the Emirates ID document usually take between 3 to 7 days. A courier from the immigration service will deliver the resident's card to their designated address.

Once the investor receives the coveted Emirates ID, they can proceed to acquire a SIM card and open a bank account. Additionally, they can apply for 10-year visas for their family members and household staff.

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Emirates ID

Reasons for denial of a «Golden» Visa

There are several factors that can lead to the rejection of a residence permit application:

  • If an expatriate fails to provide accurate or complete documentation during the application process, it can result in visa denial. 
  • If an expatriate purchases real estate using one passport but enters the UAE with a different passport, it can lead to visa refusal. 
  • If a property is registered in the name of two individuals, such as an expatriate and their brother, it may result in visa rejection. 
  • If the property is not at least 50% complete at the time of application, it can be a reason for visa denial. 
  • If the expatriate has not paid the minimum required amount of $545,000 towards the property, it can result in visa refusal. 
  • If an expatriate is listed on international wanted or sanctions lists, their visa application may be denied.


«Seeking assistance from specialists in case of visa refusal is necessary. Some cases can be easily resolved, while others require accessing internal channels and specialists within the immigration service to determine the exact reason for the denial. We also proactively contact the Land Department to obtain clarifications on the client's case».

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Olga
Consultant at the Great Goal consulting:


«If an expatriate's visa is denied, they may not be provided with specific reasons, as the immigration service does not disclose this information. Therefore, to save clients' time, we conduct a preliminary assessment to determine the likelihood of visa approval before proceeding with the application».

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Sofia
Consultant at Simple Business Network:

Assistance with «Golden» Visa registration

In addition to assisting clients with selecting investment projects, Whitewall Agency also takes care of the practical aspects concerning buyers. After transactions, their brokers connect buyers with partner organizations that specialize in expediting the «Golden» visa application process.

Since 2022, Simple Business Network has been providing comprehensive support to Whitewill clients at every stage of residency registration. Their team of specialists also assists entrepreneurs who aim to establish businesses in the UAE but may have limited knowledge of the local tax system and banking sector.

Apart from helping individuals with obtaining a residence permit, The Great Goal Firm offers consultations on UAE laws and provides guidance on maintaining proper accounting practices. They have maintained a successful partnership with Whitewill Agency since the beginning of 2023, and satisfied client reviews and broker feedback can be found on their website.

Price list tables for consulting firms:

Simple Business Network

Investor Visa processing
Individual bank account opening
Speedy processing of Emirates ID
Speedy processing of biometry
Speedy processing of tests
Family Visa processing
from $6,974
from $1,906
$293
$354
from $218
from $5,200

Great Goal

Visa processing in 7-10 days
Visa processing in 3 days
Visa and Emirates ID processing in 4 days
Individual bank account opening
Family Visa processing
from $5,400
from $5,400
from $8,900
from $4,200
from $4,700

Note: Both companies provide customized estimates tailored to each client's specific needs. The final price depends on factors such as the urgency and complexity of the case.

Projects Eligible for a «Golden» Visa

Opus Residences


Completed

Price: Starting from $1,089,000

Opus Residences is a multifunctional project that seamlessly integrates offices, a hotel, and residential apartments. It is strategically situated in the bustling Business Bay district, the commercial hub of Dubai. Within a convenient 20-minute walk, residents can access renowned landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Musical Fountain, Dubai Mall, and Dubai Opera. The project enjoys close proximity to the metro station and offers easy access to Sheikh Zayed Highway. Without traffic congestion, DXB Airport is only a 20-minute drive away.

Opus Residences stands out not only for its remarkable aesthetics but also for its architectural significance. The project was crafted by the renowned Zaha Hadid's bureau, with the architect herself contributing to the creation of a futuristic glass cube, interior designs of public spaces, layouts, and unit designs.

In the Opus Residences, buyers can choose from 1-bedroom apartments starting at 76 m2 or 2-bedroom apartments starting at 200 m2. Additionally, there are unique formats available, such as two-level and three-level residences. The panoramic windows offer breathtaking views of the business center's skyscrapers, Burj Khalifa, and the Dubai Canal. All units are sold with a finished interior. Zaha Hadid has meticulously designed two color schemes for the residential apartments: a light sand tone and a dark blue hue.

Residents of Opus enjoy access to the services offered by ME by Melia hotel, including concierge services, cleaning, and food delivery from the restaurant. The club-like amenities include a scenic terrace with a bar, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa, a fitness center, and meeting rooms.

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Opus Residences by Omniyat developer

SLS Residences The Palm

Expected finishing in 2026

Price: Starting from $3,268,000

The project is placed on the western part of the Palm Jumeirah crescent. Residents enjoy living on an island with a well-established infrastructure, including a shopping center, supermarkets, restaurants, and cafes. Within a five-minute drive, residents can reach the center of the crescent, which is home to the newly built Atlantis the Palm Hotel, a water park, dolphinarium, and beautiful beaches. The residence offers convenient access, with a 27-minute drive to Downtown and a 30-minute drive to DXB Airport.

SLS Residences The Palm offers a range of housing options to suit different needs. These include apartments with 2-3 bedrooms, duplexes with 3-4 bedrooms, and penthouses complete with outdoor swimming pools. Each unit features spacious terraces, providing panoramic views of Dubai Marina beaches, the iconic Ain Dubai Ferris Wheel, the high-rises of Business Bay, and the stunning Persian Gulf. The apartments are sold with completed finishes, furnished interiors, high-quality plumbing fixtures, and essential household appliances.

Residents of the project have exclusive access to a private fitness club, spa, wellness center, and an inviting outdoor pool. Additional recreational facilities include a cinema, a state-of-the-art recording studio, and a game center, catering to various hobbies and entertainment preferences. Parents can also entrust the care of their children to experienced educators at the nursery facility.

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SLS Residences by Roya developer

Conclusion

If you are interested in investing in a profitable project and becoming a resident of the UAE, Whitewill is here to assist you. Contact our experts at +7 (495) 431-99-33, and they will guide you in selecting suitable investment options and provide support throughout the entire process of purchasing a new property in Dubai. Our trusted partners will assist you in obtaining a resident visa for you and your family promptly after.