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Changes to UAE’s ‘golden visa’ rules as scheme is expanded

Changes to UAE’s ‘golden visa’ rules as scheme is expanded

The criteria for the UAE Golden Residence Scheme has been simplified and the categories of people eligible to apply for the 10-year visa have been expanded under a new set of executive regulations.

The UAE Cabinet approved the changes to the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners regulations, in order to attract more people to live, work and invest in the Emirates.

Under the changes, the UAE Golden Visa will grant 10-year residence to investors, entrepreneurs, ‘exceptional talents’, scientists and professionals, and outstanding students and graduates who meet the eligibility rules.

The new rules will allow the Golden Visa holder to sponsor his or her family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age, and to sponsor an unlimited number of support staff.

Added to that, the rules limiting the length of time golden visa holders could spend outside the UAE without losing their visa have been scrapped.


Golden visas for professionals

The UAE has announced a major expansion in this category, in order to attract skilled workers with educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines. These include medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences.

Applicants must have a valid employment contract in the UAE, and should be classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification. Their monthly salary must be at least $8,167 (AED 30,000).

And they must meet a minimum level of education and must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.


Entrepreneurs and start-up owners

The new regulations have introduced more flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible for Golden Residence status.

Entrepreneurs should own or be a partner in a start-up registered in the UAE under the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) category, and the registered start-up must generate annual revenues of not less than $272,250 (AED 1 million).

Entrepreneurs who are founders or co-founders of an enterprise that was sold for at least $1.9 million (AED 7 million) are entitled to the UAE Golden visa. For this category, the approval of the Ministry of Economy or competent local authorities will be required for projects or ideas.


Outstanding students and graduates

This long-term, 10-year visa will also target high-performing students in UAE secondary schools, and outstanding graduates from UAE universities, as well as from the best 100 universities worldwide, according to specific criteria that includes their academic performance, year of graduation and the university classification.