Golden Visa and Dubai Residency Status: The Benefits of Owning Real Estate in Dubai

Golden Visa and Dubai Residency Status: The Benefits of Owning Real Estate in Dubai

The real estate market in Dubai is currently on the rise: buyer demand has soared to record levels since last year and prices are still rising. Real estate in the emirate attracts investors and expats from all over the world. Local authorities have also been stirring up interest by offering attractive programs. Buying properties of a certain price allows people to become UAE residents, which provides property owners with many advantages.

Resident Status and Real Estate

In most countries, foreigners are required to have a residence permit to stay long-term. There is no residence permit in the UAE as such. Instead, foreign citizens are given residence visas. One of the ways to obtain such a residency in Dubai is through buying real estate.

Currently, if you buy a property that costs 750,000 dirhams (which is approximately $205,000), you are eligible for a residence visa that is valid for 2 years.

For example, in Dubai, one could buy a small apartment in a residential complex for a similar amount of money. Many experts recommend starting with exactly this kind of property to make oneself at home and find out if the area and the country in general are to your liking.

What Is A Residence Visa?

Residence visas in Dubai used to be valid for three years, but since Autumn 2022 the time has been reduced to two years. Residence visas are given not only to the property owner but also to all their family members (parents, spouse, unmarried daughters and sons under 25 years old).

Though a residence visa does not give one all the rights of an UAE citizenship it still provides plenty of opportunities, such as:

  • the opportunity to open a bank account,
  • the ability to obtain a driver's license and get a loan,
  • visa-free entry to several countries,
  • the opportunity for one’s children to go to public or private schools,
  • health insurance.

Note: Several categories of citizens also have the right to obtain a residence visa, e.g. foreign employees of local government agencies or private companies, students of local universities, persons dependent on a UAE citizen or a foreign resident, and investors and foreigners planning to retire in UAE who have the necessary financial means to do so.

15 Northside (Housearch)

It’s important to note that a property owner can apply for visa renewal in the UAE as many times as they wish. The UAE authorities offer expats a 30-day grace period starting the moment their visa expires, meaning that even if the visa expires one can stay in the country for 30 more days. But there is a longer term option for investors: the so-called Golden Visa.

What Is The UAE Golden Visa?

The UAE has a long list of categories of people who can acquire a Golden Visa, and real estate investors are among them.

The UAE first introduced a five-year Golden Visa for especially valuable foreigners in 2019. In autumn of 2022, new rules came into effect allowing for a 10-year visa. Almost all of the applicant’s family members have the right to a visa, including parents, spouses, and unmarried daughters and sons under 25 years old.

Azizi Park Avenue (Housearch)

However, in order to obtain a long-term residence visa, an investor needs to invest at least 2 million dirhams (approximately $545,000) into a finished property. This kind of money gets you a premium property in Dubai: a luxury apartment with a view, a penthouse, or even a villa. Additionally, there is the condition that the property must be purchased by the investor with their own money, excluding loans. 

Advantages Of A Golden Visa 

According to current rules, UAE Golden Visa holders may:

  • freely open accounts in local banks.
  • sponsor an unlimited number of family members, as well as domestic workers.
  • become a tax resident of the country and, consequently, benefit from the relaxed UAE tax regime.
  • get special package deals for medical treatment and insurance, the latter of which costs approximately 2400 dirhams ($653) and covers up to 20 million dirhams ($5.4 million).
  • easily obtain a driver's license, ie. foreigners living in Dubai with a Golden Visa and a driver's license from their home country can now pass the driving exam without taking additional classes.
  • obtain the Esaad privilege card with which a visa holder can get various discounts for education, healthcare, airline tickets, real estate, and vehicles, in addition to discounts at shops, restaurants, theme parks, hotels, SPA centers, gyms, and more.

Who Else Can Get A Golden Visa?

 A 5 year Dubai residence visa is available to company owners with a registered capital of no less than 500,000 dirhams or to owners of companies that have the approval of business incubators accredited in the UAE. Additionally, the business owner may also include three top managers of the company on the application.

A 10-year UAE visa can be obtained after investing 2+ million dirhams in the UAE investment fund; founding a company with a registered capital of no less than 2 million dirhams; or investing 2+ million dirhams into the UAE economy as long as real estate investments account for no more than 40% of the total amount.

Peninsula One (Housearch)

A long-term residency in UAE is also available to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the country, such as those who are highly qualified in certain areas and working in key industries. As a rule, these individuals are doctors, engineers, inventors, artificial intelligence specialists, IT specialists, and those who work in electronics and electronic engineering.

Talented individuals (inventors, cultural workers, artists, athletes), scientists, outstanding students, humanitarian pioneers (charitable organizations) as well as medical personnel, e. g. those who fight the COVID-19 pandemic or other medical emergencies, can also apply for a visa in the UAE.

Required Documents For UAE Residence Visas

The list of documents required to apply for a UAE residence visa is similar to those required in other countries:

  • valid international passport (with no less than six months until its expiration date upon entry in the UAE);
  • documents confirming the purpose of the foreigner’s stay in the UAE: in this case, a certificate of ownership of the property;
  • certificate of marriage with an apostille;
  • children’s birth certificates with an apostille;
  • proof of financial means to stay in the country: bank statement, salary certificate, receipt of tuition fees, etc.;
  • receipt of payment of the visa fees.
  • certificate of medical examination by a licensed center in the UAE.

These documents are provided to the General Directorate of Residence and Affairs either in person or online.

Where Can One Live With A UAE Residence Visa?

With a UAE residence visa one can live in any residential area of the UAE, regardless of which emirate gave them the visa. For example, a real estate investor can buy an apartment in Abu Dhabi allowing them to become a resident and rent a house and live with their family in Dubai. An entrepreneur can obtain resident status by opening a business in Sharjah, but live in Fujairah City.

However, there is one important detail: in the UAE, you may only obtain a driver’s license in the emirate where your residence visa was issued.

Photo by Kevin JD (Unsplash)

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