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How to move to Dubai: all about the visa regime in 2022

Moving to Dubai and obtaining a resident visa

The United Arab Emirates welcomes the influx of foreign investment and creates comfortable conditions for non-residents. Dubai remains the most popular destination for both investment and permanent residence. The number of districts where housing is sold to foreigners is regularly increasing. Innovations in immigration policy also encourage the influx of expats who can consider property for sale in Damac Hills, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and other popular areas of the emirate. Let’s take a closer look at why immigration to Dubai has become easier.

Visa regime

To legally stay in the country, a foreign national must become a resident. It is extremely difficult to obtain citizenship, but this does not prevent moving to one of the world’s most popular countries. An alternative to citizenship is a residence permit. Officially, the term “residence permit” does not exist in the UAE. It is replaced by a resident visa.

What was and what has happened with the “golden visa” in the UAE

“Golden” is called a visa that opens up the opportunity to live in the country for 10 years. It is available to a wide range of people, from students and talented professionals to investors. The maximum period of stay for holders of this type of visa is unlimited.

Changes for investors in foreign real estate

Previously, a 10-year visa could be obtained only when buying ready-to-move housing and for cash. The cost threshold of housing for foreign nationals was supposed to be at least $2.7 million. Legislative changes introduced new rules:

• For registration, it is enough to purchase a home worth from AED 2 million ($544,000). The total cost of buying several properties is allowed.

• It is possible to purchase real estate with a mortgage. However, the mortgage must be issued by a government-approved bank.

• It is allowed to purchase an off-plan property, and not just a ready-made one. The developer must be approved by the state.

A 3-year investor visa, issued when buying a property for over $204,000, remains available. This allows you to obtain a residence permit even with a limited budget. This price threshold was set in Dubai in 2021. Previously, the amount was at least $272,300. An exception was made only for this emirate, there was no price reduction in other emirates.

It is important to bear in mind that if the property is shared, to issue a residence permit, the share of each owner must be at least $204,000. Therefore, to obtain a residence permit, it is not necessary to include all family members in the contract of buying and selling budget housing. The only exception is the Taskeen program. This makes it possible to purchase a property for $204,000 or more and register it for two spouses with an official marriage certificate. In this case, you should pay the entire amount in cash without loans and choose a ready-to-move housing. This rule does not apply to off-plan real estate.

New rules for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs can get a “golden visa” if they participate in a start-up with an annual income of at least $272,294. The start-up must belong to the category of small or medium-sized businesses and be registered in the UAE. It is mandatory to have an official approval of the idea by the Ministry of Economy or other competent authorities established by law.

Visas for specialists

Specialists from various fields of activity, from medicine and scientific technologies to culture and information technologies, can apply for a permit. It is mandatory to have an employment contract with a local employer and confirmation of the qualification level. The applicant’s monthly income must be at least $8,168. Outstanding scientists can apply for a residence permit based on the recommendation of the UAE Council of Scientists. The candidate’s level should not be lower than a doctor or master. Favorable conditions are also available for gifted individuals. The status is assigned by federal authorities, whether they have real estate in the country, place of work or salary or not. These legislative changes allow athletes, actors, writers, poets and other creative personalities to move to the UAE if their contribution to the development of the state is recognized as significant.

Visa for study

Students and schoolchildren can get a 10-year residence permit if they have a high academic performance. The rule is designed for students of secondary schools and higher educational institutions.

Innovations for investors’ relatives

Changes in legislation have affected the age of dependents:

• Previously, it was possible to sponsor a male child under the age of 18. Now, you can apply for a visa for your son up to 25 years old. There are no age restrictions for female children, but an adult daughter must not be married.

• If the main sponsor suddenly dies, his relatives can stay in the country until the visa expires. 

Another innovation is to apply for any number of staff. You can move to the UAE for permanent residence with your maid, driver, gardener and others who help you maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Other types of residence permit

Qualified specialists, freelancers, businessmen and investors can live in the UAE for 5 years. They have a simplified registration procedure and can stay in the country for 6 months when their residence permit expires. Each category of persons has its own peculiarities to obtain a residence permit:

• The self-employed do not need a sponsor or a contract with an employer in the UAE. It is enough to get a work permit from the Ministry of Resources. Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree and have an income of at least $98,000 in the last two years.

• For businessmen-founders of companies or investors, the validity period of the previous residence permit has been extended. The green residence program now provides for a stay in the country for 5 years instead of 2. Investments must be approved by local authorities.

• Qualified professionals also do not need a sponsor. It is enough to have an employer and belong to the first 3 skill levels established by the Ministry of Human Resources.

New types of visas

It has become easier to come to the country. You can choose a visa for various purposes, without confirmation from the receiving party. Entry visas can be extended for a period similar to the one issued. You can get a work permit without additional sponsorship or an employment contract. To do this, it is enough to belong to the first 3 qualification levels of the Ministry of Human Resources. Bachelors of institutes who have recently received a diploma can also apply for a permit. The measure is designed to stimulate the influx of qualified personnel to the UAE. 

The tourist visa has also been extended. In addition to the traditional one-time visa, there has appeared a multiple one. Its validity period is 5 years and allows you to stay in any emirate within 90 days. It is possible to extend it for a similar period, but the total period of stay in the country must not exceed 180 days per year. The applicant must confirm a bank account of at least $4,000.

Emirates.Estate can help you choose a property in the UAE

There are several other types of entry permits. You can find out detailed information about the conditions of the visa regime in the UAE on the official website https://emirates.estate/. On the pages of the site, you can also pick up real estate to move.

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