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Business Setup in UAE/Dubai

Key things to know about UAE Residence Visa

August 19, 2021

Why you should become UAE resident and obtain UAE residence visa

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been on a growth trajectory for the last few decades. This growth is multifold and has attracted global talent to make active contributions in this. Besides, UAE has also emerged as the preferred destination for residency among HNIs (High Net Worth Individuals).

Today, with zero income tax on individual income, property and capital gains, ease of doing business, sorted administration, political stability, excellent connectivity to other parts of the world, bright and sunny weather throughout the year, UAE stands ahead of traditional jurisdictions like Singapore, Switzerland, UK etc. and has become an attractive proposal as a residency jurisdiction.

To add to above, the UAE expat population consists of over 200 nationalities.

What is UAE Residence Visa?

UAE residence visa is a permit that allows foreign nationals to work, invest or live in the UAE.

UAE Residence Visa Validity

UAE residence visa validity ranges from 2 years and up to 10 years depending on the eligibility category of the applicant. It can be renewed as many times as a person needs. To maintain permanent residency in the UAE, you simply have to have a visa stamp in your passport and constantly live there.

UAE Residence Visa Benefits:

UAE residence visa benefits are well acknowledged by foreign nationals. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Safety and Security
UAE has been consistently listed in the top 10 safest countries to reside in. UAE’s high law and order index scores further assure foreign nationals to consider UAE as their next residence.
  • Support the family
Once a person has obtained the UAE residence visa, he or she is eligible to apply for UAE residence visa for the family members
  • Tax-free income
UAE residents enjoy tax-free income as UAE doesn’t have the income tax policy. Only in certain conditions, VAT is applied on generated income.
  • Purchase Property
Real estate sector in UAE has seen a massive growth in the last two decades. With the UAE residence visa, you are eligible to purchase or invest in property and even rent out the same for getting sound returns.
  • Corporate and Personal Bank Account

UAE regulations and compliances consider UAE residents in the low risk category. So, UAE residents are allowed to open both corporate bank account (while incorporating a company in UAE) and personal bank account to conduct various types of transactions.

Ways to obtain UAE Residence Visa

A few ways to obtain UAE residence visa are listed below:

  • Business setup in UAE
  • Employment opportunity
  • Freelance permit
  • Take admission in a college or university
  • Be a dependent (spouse/child/retired parent of resident)
  • Purchase a property worth over 1 Million AED

Business setup in UAE is one of the most preferred ways to obtain UAE residence visa. The reasons are obvious- no investment requirement, 100% ownership (in UAE Mainland and UAE Free Zone (for a number of sectors)), visa remains valid for 3 years, enjoy tax benefits and actively conduct business in UAE.

Types of Residence Visa in UAE:

There are various types of residence visa in UAE which foreign nationals can apply for. We have listed them below:

  • UAE Employment Visa
  • UAE Retirement Visa
  • UAE Investor Visa
  • UAE Residence Visa through Family Sponsorship
  • UAE Golden Visa
  • UAE Residence Visa for Property Owners
  • UAE Residence Visa for Students
  • UAE Residence Visa for Domestic Workers
  • Freelance Visa
  • Overseas Remote Working Professionals

Let’s talk about some of the above UAE Residence Visas in detail:

1- UAE Retirement Visa

A retired expatriate and their spouse can qualify for a 5-year residency visa and can be renewed automatically online as long as the retiree continues to meet the eligibility criteria.

-Requirements for UAE Retirement Visa

  • You must be at least 55 years old
  • You must have valid UAE health insurance
  • You must fulfill one of the following financial criteria:
    • Option 1: AED 20,000 (approx. USD 5,500) Monthly Income OR
    • Option 2: AED 1 million (approx. USD 275,000) savings OR
    • Option 3: AED 2 million (approx. USD 550,000) property OR
    • Option 4: A combination of Options 2 and 3 valued at least AED 2 million (approx. USD 550,000)

2-UAE Investor Visa

A foreign national will be eligible for UAE Investor Visa or partner visa if he/she owns a company or holds shares in an existing company. The validity of the UAE investor visa is 3 years and can be renewed.

-Requirements from the Company:

  • Trading License
  • Partners list
  • Immigration Card
  • Memorandum of Association/Local service agent contract

-Requirements from the Investor

  • Passport
  • Personal photo with white background
  • Medical fitness certificate
  • Emirates ID biometric scan

3- UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa has been one of the most trending topics in the country since its announcement. The new visa rules in the UAE allow investors and people from specific occupations to apply for a ‘10 year long term UAE residency visa’ or a ‘5 year long-term residency visa’. Golden visa can be classified into two categories:

  • UAE Golden Visa for Investors
  • Golden Visa UAE for Specialist Talent

The golden visa UAE advantage extends to the spouses and children. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialized field of a priority in the UAE.

  -UAE Golden Visa for Investors An expatriate investor can apply for 10 year resident visa if he/she has met certain conditions
  • Investment Requirements
    • A deposit of at least AED 10 million in an investment fund inside the country
    • Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than AED 10 million
    • Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than AED 10 million
    • Having a total investment of not less than AED 10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in the sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 % of the total investment.
  • The investor also has to meet the following conditions for granting the Golden visa;
    • The amount invested must not be loaned.
    • The investment should be retained for at least three years
    • There should be a financial solvency up to AED 10 million.

4- UAE Residence Visa For Overseas Working Professionals

The global pandemic has changed how we live and work. As multinationals and leading start-ups across the world accelerate their rates of digital adoption and practical implementation; the need to be physically present to fulfil professional responsibilities has been redefined.

Dubai is uniquely positioned to offer a safe, entrepreneur and dynamic lifestyle opportunity to these digitally savvy workers and their families while they continue to work remotely, whether it is for a couple of months or an entire year.

UAE has launched a new residency programme which will allow overseas remote working professionals to relocate and live in the emirate – along with their families – while continuing to work remotely for their overseas employer.

  Who Can Apply?

-To be eligible for the programme individuals must fulfil the following conditions:
  • Possess a passport with a minimum validity of six months
  • Have health insurance with UAE coverage validity
  • Show proof of employment from their current employer with a one-year contract validity, a minimum of $5,000 monthly salary, and must furnish the previous months’ payslip as well as three months of bank statements
  • If the applicant is a company owner, then they must show proof of ownership of the company for at least a year, along with an average monthly income of $5,000 supported by three months of bank statements.

5- UAE Residence Visa for Property Owners

An expatriate investor invested in real estate can also apply for the UAE residence visa. Depending on the value of the property, the investor can get either a 5 year UAE residence visa or 3 year UAE residence visa, provided the requirements are met

  • Eligibility for 5 year visa
    • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million
    • The amount invested in the real estate must not be on a loan basis
    • The property must be retained for at least 3 years
  • Eligibility for 3 year visa
    • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 1 million
    • Property has been completed and handed over to its owner by the developer
    • The investor must have a monthly income no less than Dh10,000 or equivalent in foreign currencies.
    • The apartment or villa must be comfortable to accommodate the family of the investor.
  •  Requirements
    • Title deed
    • Passport copy
    • Personal photograph
    • Current residency or visa copy
    • Health Insurance

6-Freelance Visa

A freelance license is a permit issued which allows you to work on your own as a freelancer, a sole practitioner, or an independent contractor in the UAE. The permit will enable you to establish yourself as one-person company. The Freelance license will enable the freelancer to apply for Freelance visa which is valid for 3 years.

List of professionals who can apply for Freelance Visa:
  • Actors, Screenwriters, Editors, Producers, Make-up Artists, and Technicians working in the field of film, TV, and Radio
  • Journalism, Photography
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Advertising, Branding
  • Customer Service
  • E-Learning, Guest Lecturing, Education Advisor, Training
  • Web Development and Designing
  • Graphics Designing
  • Copywriting, Guest Blogging
  • Mobile App Development
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Computer-Aided Design, 3D Modelling
  • Language Translation and Interpretation
  • Legal Services

UAE Residence Visa Renewal: UAE residence visa renewal is not a challenging task. All you need to do is to get your medical checkup and Emirates ID renewal done.

For medical checkup, you can visit the medical screening center 1-2 weeks before visa expiration date and get prescribed tests done. Post this, you can apply for Emirates ID renewal. Once you receive the medical report, send it to the immigration office along with your passport and your visa will be renewed and stamped for another period.

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