The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Golden Visa system began in 2019 as a route for foreign nationals to live and work in the UAE, and is open to a variety of individuals, including professionals, scientists and of course real estate investors. Read on to find out everything you need to know about UAE Golden Visa, including the latest developments for 2023.
Table of Contents
- What is the UAE Golden Visa?
- How can I get a Golden Visa in the UAE?
- Does the golden visa lead to UAE citizenship?
- What are the key benefits of the UAE Golden Visa?
- Are there any changes to the UAE Golden Visa in 2023?
- Can I apply for a Golden Visa with a mortgage?
- Is the UAE Golden Visa worth it?
- Invest in the UAE with GuestReady
1. What is the UAE Golden Visa?
The UAE Golden Visa is a long-term residence visa that makes it possible for you to live, work and study in the UAE, without having to have a sponsor. It is essentially a long term residence visa, aimed at attracting talent and investment to the country. And with expatriates making up more than 88% of the nation’s population of 10 million people, you’ll be in good company.
The visa gives you access to the whole of the UAE, which is comprised of seven ‘emirates’, or states. For this reason, it could just as easily be thought of as a Dubai Golden Visa or an Abu Dhabi Golden Visa. These two emirates and their namesake cities are home to the vast majority of UAE’s population, and are favourites for real estate investors.
2. How can I get a Golden Visa in the UAE?
A. Identify and purchase a suitable property
To fulfil the real estate requirements for a UAE Golden Visa, you need to purchase a property or group of properties worth at least 2 million Dirhams (£442,270). Once you have done this, you will need to acquire a letter from the land department of whichever emirate you have bought in which states this fact. Dubai is by far the most popular part of the UAE to invest in property, and is home to a dizzying mix of futuristic architecture, luxury shopping and nightlife.
B. Assemble the necessary documents
When applying for the visa you will need to present a number of documents:
- E-copy of property title deeds
- Valid health insurance certificate
- Personal photo
- Previous ID or visa for the UAE (if renewing)
C. Pay for the visa
You will need to pay a variety of fees to obtain your UAE Golden Visa, including medical checks, ID cards, the visa itself and administrative fees. The total cost of this at time of writing is 9,734 Dirhams (£2,151), which can be paid in cash, by credit/debit card or by bank transfer.
You can pay for your visa upon application at one of the country’s dedicated service centres, where you will also submit your documents. A medical examination will be carried out on you at the centre. All being well, you will get your visa and residency ID within 7-10 days.
When it’s time to renew your UAE Golden Visa, you don’t need to do anything as it will be renewed automatically, provided that the conditions for it are still met.
3. Does the golden visa lead to UAE citizenship?
There’s no single fast-track route to citizenship for UAE Golden Visa holders, but there are a number of ways you may eventually qualify. Marriage is one route, as is naturalisation after living there for 30 years if you speak Arabic. Finally, as a real estate investor in the UAE, you can be nominated for citizenship, and this may be granted at the discretion of the country’s Cabinet and Executive Council.
4. What are the key benefits of the UAE Golden Visa?
- You will have a long-term renewable residence visa which is valid for 10 years. As well as being able to live and work in the UAE, you will have the right to open a bank account, access health services and invest in further real estate.
- You do not need to have a sponsor in the country to apply. You can sponsor your family members, including sons up to 25 years-old and daughters of any age, for residency. In the event of your passing, they will be able to stay for the full length of the visa.
- Any number of domestic helpers can also be sponsored for residency.
The normal residence visa rule which will void your residency if you live outside of the UAE for more than six continuous months of the year, does not apply. So your visa will stay valid, even if you’re not in the country. During the application process, you will be given an entry visa with multiple entries allowed, for a period of six months.
5. Are there any changes to the UAE Golden Visa in 2023?
The UAE introduced a raft of changes to its Golden Visa scheme in October 2022, and these are the most significant things to consider if you are applying in 2023:
- It’s now possible to obtain the visa when purchasing property with a loan from local banks. Previously this was only possible with purchases up front.
- You can now become eligible by buying off-plan properties worth at least 2 million Dirhams from approved UAE real estate companies. This is a particularly attractive option in high rental yield locations like Dubai, where many exciting new developments are being built.
- A six-month grace period after visa expiry now exists, to give visa holders time to renew or make other arrangements. This was previously 30 days.
- The length of the Golden Visa for all eligible categories, including real estate investment, is now 10 years instead of five years.
- The government has introduced a new online eligibility checker, so you can quickly find out if you qualify for the scheme.
- The Emirates ID card has become the official residency document, replacing the previous passport stamp.
Holders of the Golden Visa in UAE can now sponsor their parents for a 10-year residency. Previously this was one year.
6. Can I apply for a Golden Visa with a mortgage?
Yes, you’re permitted to take out a mortgage when buying property to qualify for the visa, but a down-payment of 50% is required.
7. Is the UAE Golden Visa worth it?
Obtaining the visa is worth it for the chance to live and invest in one of the world’s most exciting and forward-thinking countries. There are many other reasons why it’s a worthwhile prospect for property investors, including:
- The opportunity to have a UAE bank account and invest in the country
- Access to good government-funded healthcare from a health system with approximately 181 doctors per 100,000 residents
- You can invest in new property developments and holiday homes in rapidly growing places like Dubai
- You can move your whole family there and have access to world-class schools
8. Invest in the UAE with GuestReady
GuestReady helps property investors in the UAE to get the most out of their investments. We can help you to manage your rental properties and get the best returns possible, hassle-free. If you’re ready for investing in the UAE, get in touch today to find out how we can help.
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