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Several Ways of Acquiring Legal Residence in the UAE


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You can obtain a resident visa in the UAE that is going to be valid for 1 to 10 years depending on what legal grounds you use to apply. You can qualify for a visa by purchasing real estate in the country, by launching (or joining) a business venture, by finding a job, by enrolling into an educational institution, or by applying for the Retire in Dubai program for pensioners.

Any foreign national who is of age is eligible to apply for a resident visa. You have to choose the legal option, obtain an entry permit to the UAE, prepare the application documents, and apply for a visa to the immigration authorities in the Emirate of your choice. A resident visa holder is entitled to request visas for his/ her family members. If you are starting a business in the UAE, you can obtain visas for your collaborators and business partners.

Advantages that a UAE resident visa brings to its holder

  • Adequate pay and good working conditions;
  • Zero taxes with the exception of a 5% VAT;
  • Visas for all family members;
  • An opportunity to easily register a business company;
  • An opportunity to open an account with a local bank;
  • A high level of personal security;
  • Free travel across other countries in the Persian Gulf.

Possible ways of acquiring legal residence in the UAE

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One of the most popular routes to UAE residence is establishing a company in the country or joining an existing business venture. In this way, you can establish legal residence in a comfortable country and earn good profits at the same time. Purchase of property is also popular with foreign investors. The prices are constantly growing in the Emirates and the property can be sold with a hefty profit after some time.

Purchasing property in the UAE

The validity term of your visa will depend on the amount of money that you invest into property:

  • 3 years if you invest 750,000 dirhams (205,000 USD) into residential or commercial property in the UAE;
  • 5 years if you invest 5,000,000 dirhams (1,361,300 USD) into one or several pieces of property;
  • 10 years if you invest 10,000,000 dirhams (2,722,570 USD) in the UAE economy putting 60% of the money into real property.

You cannot use borrowed money to invest into property in the UAE. In addition to making the investment, you have to confirm having at least 10,000 dirhams (2,723 USD) of income per month, whichever investment option you choose. Besides your family members, you can apply for visas for your service personnel (up to 3 people). Please note that if you are absent from the UAE for more than 6 months without a weighty reason, your visa will be annulled.

Starting a company in the UAE

You can qualify for a resident visa if you invest 70,000 dirhams (19,060 USD) into business in the UAE. Your business project has to be approved by an authorized business incubator in the country. Depending on the business area, the visa can be valid for 1 to 3 years and it can be extended. You can qualify for a resident visa even if you register a company in one of the Free Zones in the Emirate of Ajman (JAFZA in particular).

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You can also qualify for a resident visa if you invest into an existing company in the UAE. Its validity term will depend on the amount of investment that you make:

  • If you invest 2,000,000 dirhams (544,500 USD) into business in the UAE, you will qualify for a 5-year visa  ;
  • If you invest 10,000,000 dirhams (2,722,570 USD) into a new or an existing company in the UAE, you will qualify for a 10-year resident visa.

Please note that your business project needs to be approved by the authorities if you are launching a new company in the UAE. Besides, you will have to go through due diligence procedures. To handle these issues, you will be issued a temporary 6-month residence permit. This time is enough to obtain project approval and pass the due diligence checks.

Finding a job in the UAE

You can qualify for a 1 to 2-year resident visa in the UAE if you find a job in the country. Your employer has to be registered in the UAE. You will get a 2-month temporary residence permit to enter the country and handle the document issues. Outstanding medical doctors, engineers, and other professionals can be eligible for 10-year visas.

Your prospective employer has to apply for a visa on your behalf. The employer also has to cover all the costs that the visa acquisition process involves including the cost of the medical examination. In addition to the visa, you will get an Emirates ID and a work permit. English is the language of business in the UAE.

Studying in the UAE

If you are fluent in English, you can enroll into a university in the UAE. The tuition fees vary between 5,000 and 10,000 USD per year at the Arabic universities and they start at 20,000 USD at the branches of UK universities.

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A student visa is valid for a year and it is extendable. It does not give the right to work to its holder. Honor students are eligible for 5-year visas. Besides, their parents can qualify for long-term visas too.

Retiring in the UAE

The Emirate of Dubai launched a program for foreign retirees in 2019. A foreign national above 55 years of age can qualify for a 5-year visa that can be extended if he or she meets one of the following three requirements:

  • Has a stable income of at least 22,000 dirhams (5,990 USD) per month;
  • Has a bank deposit of at least 1,000,000 dirhams (272,300 USD);
  • Invests in real property in Dubai at least 2,000,000 dirhams (544,500 USD).

Retired married couples are also welcome to apply for legal residence in Dubai.

Reasons why your application for legal residence in the UAE may be turned down  

  • You have a criminal past;
  • You application document package is incomplete;
  • You’ve supplied false information;
  • You don’t have sufficient funds;
  • You are an single woman below 30 applying for residence on your own;
  • You have violated visa requirements in the past;

The United Arab Emirates are friendly towards immigrants: almost 90% of the country’s population are foreigners. If you compile a neat package of application documents and you are affluent enough, the chance for visa denial is small. At the same time, there are several routes to legal residence in the UAE. Please seek assistance from an immigration specialist to relocate to the UAE with your family.

Bellie Brown
Bellie Brownhttps://businesstimes.org
Hi my lovely readers, I am Bellie brown editor and writer of Businesstimes.org. I write blogs on various niches such as business, technology, lifestyle., health, entertainment, etc as well as manage the daily reports of the website. I am very addicted to my work which makes me keen on reading and writing on the very latest and trending topics. One can check my more writings by visiting Cleartips.net

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