• Jenny Hunt

NEW - UAE's 10 Residency Options

21st April 2022

The UAE has announced changes to its residency options for expats making it more attractive for foreigners to live, work and invest in the country. The Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners will come into effect after three months.


There are now 10 UAE residency visa options, including employment visas, residency by investment, education visas and live visas. The different types of residency reflect the UAE's understanding of, and willingness to accommodate the modern and evolving trends for living and working.


In essence, the new five year visas are intended to attract and accommodate talented professionals and entrepreneurs, in line with the UAE's ambitious plans to develop and transform the country into a comprehensive hub in all sectors, with a strong focus on digitalization and emerging technologies so its at the forefront of future industries, stimulating innovation, governing regulations, setting high standards and generating market confidence; thus establishing a thriving and sustainable economy and positioning it as one of the top destinations globally to live and work.


The longer validity of visas combined with the improved benefits for families is intended to provide expats with increased stability, removing the sense of their time in the UAE being a temporary stint. This in turn is intended to encourage them to put down roots, spend more locally and invest in properties, boosting the local economy.


Extended Grace Period

The changes to residency visa conditions provide added benefits for both individuals and expat families. In particular, the 30 day grace period following the cancellation or expiry of residence visas has been increased to six months. This will ease some of the anxiety and uncertainty expats experience in such instances, giving them more time to either search for and secure a new job to get a new visa to remain in the UAE, or to arrange moving back to their home country.



UAE WORK VISAS


1. Standard Employment Residence Visa

This is a work visa issued to employees for two years by mainland companies, and for three years by free zone companies. Most employees working in the UAE will have this type of visa and will continue to have this type of visa moving forward.


2. Green Residence For Skilled Employees

This is a work visa for skilled employees with a validity of five years.

  • A sponsor / employer is not required.

  • Applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

  • Applicants should have a monthly salary of AED15,000 or more.

  • Applicants should have a valid UAE employment contract classified in the first, second or third occupational levels of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), which is aligned with the International Standard of Classification of Occupations (ISCO) by the International Labour Organisation.

  • Can sponsor first-degree relatives - the validity of their residency shall be in line with the validity of the Green Residence holder’s residency.


3. Green Residence For Freelancers (Self Employed)

This is a work visa for freelancers and self-employed individuals with a validity of five-years.

  • A sponsor is not required.

  • Applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate an annual income of AED360,000 or more from self-employment for the previous two years, or demonstrate financial solvency throughout their stay in the UAE.

  • Can sponsor first-degree relatives - the validity of their residency shall be in line with the validity of the Green Residence holder’s residency.


UAE INVESTMENT VISAS


4. Green Residence for Investors/Partners

This is a visa for investors in commercial activities (business owners/company shareholders) with a validity of five years (previously, this visa was only valid for three years).

  • Applicants should have approval and proof of the investment for approval by the competent local authorities.

  • Can sponsor first-degree relatives - the validity of their residency shall be in line with the validity of the Green Residence holder’s residency.


EDUCATION VISAS


5. Student visas

This is a visa for expat students, aged at least 18 years, studying in UAE colleges or universities, with a validity of one-year, renewable for a similar period upon an official proof of continuation of a study issued by the respective higher educational institute.

  • The visa is sponsored by the UAE higher educational provider

  • Applicants should supply an official admission letter from the respective UAE educational provider.

  • Last year, it was announced that foreign students could sponsor their families for the duration of their undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UAE


LIVE VISAS


6. Family Visas

UAE residents provide the sponsorship for their family's residence visas (also referred to as dependent's visas).


The duration of family visas are as per the validity of the main UAE resident’s visa sponsoring them. Previously, parents visas were only valid for a year, and the same if children were sponsored by their mothers.


Spouse visas

  • A husband sponsoring his wife must earn a minimum monthly salary of AED4,000 per month or AED3,000 per month plus accommodation.

  • If a wife is sponsoring her husband, it is necessary for her to earn a minimum monthly salary of AED10,000 or AED8,000 plus accommodation.

  • According to an article in published in the Gulf News, Muslim residents are no longer allowed to sponsor a second wife in the UAE.

  • A spouse visa only provides residency and does not permit the spouse to work. If the spouse wants to work, a work permit needs to be applied for.


Childrens' visas

  • A father sponsoring his child/children must earn a minimum monthly salary of AED4,000 per month or AED3,000 per month plus accommodation.

  • If a mother is sponsoring her child/children, it is necessary for her to earn a minimum monthly salary of AED10,000 or AED8,000 plus accommodation.

  • Sons can now be sponsored up to the age of 25 years, previously it was only until 18 years, or 21 is he continued into higher education.

  • Unmarried daughters can be sponsored regardless of their age.

  • Children of determination can be sponsored regardless of their age.


Parents' visas

  • Applicants must sponsor both parents unless one has passed away or they are divorced.

  • Applicants must demonstrate they are the sole support for their parents and nobody can care for them in their home-country.

  • Applicants must have suitable accommodation, eg a minimum of two bedrooms.

  • Applicants must earn a minimum monthly salary determined by the government in each respective Emirate at the time of application, eg. in Dubai the minimum salary requirement is AED20,000 per month and this must be for the individual applicant, not a combined salary amount with their spouse.

  • Applicants must pay a deposit for each parent as a guarantee.


7. Retirement Visas

This is a visa for retirees over the age of 55 years with a validity of five years.

  • A sponsor is not required.

  • Applicants should provide proof of financial means by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • UAE property investment worth AED2 million or more

  • Savings of AED1 million or more

  • Active income of at least AED20,000 per month


8. Remote Work Visas

This is a visa for individuals to live in the UAE whilst working for an overseas employer, with a validity of one-year, renewable.

  • A sponsor is not required.

  • Employee applicants should provide proof of the following:

  • employment contract valid for one year

  • Minimum salary of US$5,000 per month

  • Salary slip for the previous month

  • Bank statements for the previous three months

  • Company owner applicants should provide proof of the following:

  • Company ownership for at least one year

  • Average monthly income of at least US$5,000 per month

  • Company bank statements for the previous three months


9. Real Estate Owner Visas

This is a residency by investment visa for individuals investing a minimum of AED1 million in property in the UAE, with a validity of two years, renewable, providing the property ownership is maintained.


Alternatively, individuals investing AED2 million or more in a property can apply for a 10 year golden visa. This now includes purchasing with loans/mortgages and is not restricted to investors owning properties fully outright; and the purchase of off-plan properties worth AED2 million or more from approved local real estate companies.


A sponsor is not required.


10. Humanitarian visas

Humanitarian visas can be applied for in the following instances:

- A female resident whose husband passed away and she has a child/children

- Parents or children of UAE citizens who hold foreign passports

- Spouse or children of GCC citizens who hold foreign passports.


UAE Visa Costs

The fees associated with the new five year visas are yet to be announced.


It should be noted that whilst investors, freelancers and self employed individuals would pay for their own visas, companies which employ staff are legally required to cover the cost of employment visas for their employees and also provide health insurance. Sadly, we do hear of instances where disreputable companies try to recover visa and health insurance costs from employees. This is illegal. We suggest that any employees unsure of their legal employment rights should contact MOHRE on 80060.


Processing visas can be emotional and distracting for employees, especially if they are new to the country, bringing their family to the UAE or travelling around that time. Have you considered how this affects the efficiency of your business? Let Gateway remove that anxiety and take care of your company's visas. We're are processing visas on a daily basis in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and provide a personal service which is quick and efficient.


Request a call back for Gateway Group Of Companies to organize your entry visas and residence visas in the UAE. Click the button.



Gateway Group Of Companies - Why We Exist

The Gateway Group Of Companies helps organizations to mitigate the risks of getting licensed to do business in the UAE. We were established back in 2014 to provide no-nonsense, transparent and well communicated services, as a result of witnessing the troubles companies encountered during their company formation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.


Establishing a presence in the UAE doesn't need to be difficult, providing you engage the right expertise at the outset. We are just like you - we have invested our own money to establish our businesses in the UAE, so unlike a sales team, we understand and can empathize with the anxieties and risks of doing business overseas and the implications of making the wrong decisions. We are best positioned to provide, on-the-ground, practical advice from first hand experience. Hence, our services are designed to give you full control of your business, protect your assets and keep your profits. After all, this is exactly what we want for our own businesses too.


Our core values are Honesty, Trust & Integrity.


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Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & Strategic Advisor to the Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE

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