Bill Anderson, one of our senior partners, discusses the various visa possibilities available to people looking to move to the UAE. The options are wider than most would think…

At GTAG, we’ve been lucky enough to have lived in the UAE for many years. We understand how great a place it is to live in and do business. From our headquarters in Dubai, we have watched the unprecedented growth over the last few years. It has become a hub for those who wish to have safety and security for their families as well as those who wish to do business in a business-friendly environment. The UAE has dealt with Covid in a practical manner and has come out the other side stronger and more attractive for global investors. Its diverse and international orientated workforce come together to produce something unique in the world. 

Are you happy living in a high tax European location? Do you feel safe where you live and do your children have a future in your home country? Are your assets protected against currency fluctuation and capital restrictions? 

Did you know that you can relocate your business to the UAE and still service the customers you have globally, and in the process be far more tax effective?

·       No Personal Income Tax

·       Low VAT 5%

·       Low Corporate Tax 9% (from June 2023)

·       No Capital Gains Tax

·       No Inheritance Tax

·       Fantastic educational facilities for your children

·       Dubai & Abu Dhabi have been voted as safest cities in the world

Things to know about residency

There are several options for residency in the UAE; here’s a quick summary of the key things to know:

Residency in Dubai

Residency is the term applied to expatriates who wish to make their home in a country they were not born in or do not have citizenship in. It denotes their ‘right to residency’ in that country and recognizes a status beyond ‘tourist’. In Dubai, as in many countries, residency is essential for those who wish to stay long-term, either for work or to study or just to live. Residents of Dubai must have their own residency visa, inserted into their passport, that outlines the length of their stay and type of visa, and their own health insurance.

Types of Residency

There are several options for residencies; you need to ensure that you get the appropriate residency for your circumstances.

·       Golden Visa: This is typically a 10-year term residence visa that can be granted on a case-by-case basis to investors, entrepreneurs, bright students with potential and specialist talents and researchers in a variety of fields. Individuals must apply, which can be done by those with existing types of residency visas already, and those who are not residents but do match all the criteria needed and outline their qualifying attributes depending on the category they fall under.

·       Investor Visa: There are a range of residency visa options available for financial investors looking to settle in Dubai. Most issued on a three- or five-year basis. These visas reflect the amount of the investment made by the individual into a company or companies within Dubai and include shareholder visas for those with vital roles within organizations. Investor residency visas can also be provided to individuals who invest in property in Dubai. With a required minimum value of AED 750,000 for a three-year visa and AED 2 million for a five-year visa individuals or spouses can secure residency visas based on their purchase of a property or properties within the city. Investor visas issued following company or property investment can also provide sponsorship for the family.

·       Employment Residency Visa: This visa is required for those who wish to work in the region. You need a contract of employment for this. Typically, it lasts for between 1-3 years. You will receive an Emirates ID as part of this work visa, which allows you to come and go into the country.

·       Virtual Working Programmer/Digital Nomad Visa/Remote Visa: Under this visa, individuals can relocate to Dubai but remain an employee within a company that is based outside of the UAE and work remotely. The visa is valid for one year and can be renewed annually and it also allows for family sponsorship during the duration. The cost of this visa is around AED 2,500 and to qualify, an individual must either have an employment contract in place for at least a year, earning a minimum salary of over AED 18,000 per month or proof of ownership of a company for at least a year with a monthly income of over AED 18,000 for entrepreneurs.

·       Student Visa: This is available for foreign students over the age of 18 applying to study at a university or college in the UAE. Valid for one year, but renewable, the visa is issued based on the student meeting certain qualification criteria and, upon graduation, grants the individual a one-year residency visa. There are also additional opportunities for sponsorship and benefits for a student’s family associated with this visa as well.

·       Retirement Visa: If you are over 55 and would like to retire to Dubai, there is now a retirement visa that is available if you meet the criteria. This visa is a five-year renewable residence visa available to individuals, and their families, who have either cash savings of no less than AED 1 million, a non-mortgaged property in Dubai that is worth no less than AED 2 million, a monthly income of no less than AED 20,000 or a combined value of savings and property that is no less than AED 1 million.

·       Freelancer Visa: This visa is offered to self-employed workers in Dubai who wish to sponsor themselves and not be associated with a specific brand. Particularly promoted to those in the fields of media, education, technology, art, marketing and consulting, this visa is also available to owners of independent businesses.

·       Dependent Visa: This is the type of residency in Dubai visa that is issued for spouses and family members who require sponsorship and due to their age, circumstance or preferences are unable to secure a residency visa through employment. Individuals with most types of residency visas will be able to sponsor their spouse and any children if they meet the necessary criteria as determined by the Ministry, and the validity of the sponsorship will be in place for the duration of the sponsor’s visa and will need to be renewed alongside theirs when the time comes.

If you would like to talk to our expert team about the Golden/Investor Visa or any of the visa options that could suit you, your family or your company, then please get in touch today on  +971 (04) 439 6134 or