If you would like to obtain a long-term visa to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you can follow several routes. Investors in real estate or in a business venture will qualify for a long-term visa. Professionals with outstanding skills are one more group of people eligible for long-term visas to the UAE. Students who perform exceptionally well can obtain long-term visas to the UAE and study there. Close relatives of the investors, professionals, students, etc. will also qualify for long-term visas to the country. Obtaining full citizenship of the UAE has recently become theoretically possible but extremely difficult in practice.
A long-term visa to the UAE via registering a company in the country
Registering a company in the UAE is the most economical way of obtaining a long-term visa to the country.
There are several free economic zones in the United Arab Emirates. It does not cost too much to register a company in one of these zones. In some of them, you do not even have to rent an office for your company but use shared space instead. This, of course, will lower the company maintenance costs. Here are the main advantages of choosing this way of obtaining a long-term visa to the UAE:
Both owners of the company and its employees are eligible for long-term visas to the UAE.
The company does not have to be an active one, that is, it does not have to be engaged in real business operations.
Registering a company in the UAE will make you qualified for a three-year visa (normally) that can be extended when the validity period expires.
The cost of registering a company in the UAE and obtaining a long-term visa to the country starts at US$ 8,000.
The long-term visa holder is entitled to apply for visas for his/ her close relatives if certain conditions are satisfied. So if you would like to move to the United Arab Emirates, you could bring your family with you.
We will gladly help you register a company in a free economic zone in the UAE!
Long-term visas to UAE for investor’s relatives
The foreign national holding a long-term visa to the UAE is entitled to apply for visas for his/ her relatives. In the investor’s case, the visa holder shall act as a sponsor of his/ her relatives. This means that he/ she will have to demonstrate a monthly income of a certain amount.
If the investor is a male person, he shall demonstrate an income of 4,000 dirhams (US$ 1,090) per month to support his wife in case he is renting residential accommodations. If the investor has his own house or apartment in the UAE, the monthly income has to be at least 3,000 dirhams (US$ 817).
If the investor is a female person, she shall demonstrate an income of 10,000 dirhams (US$ 2,725) per month to support her husband.
To be able to sponsor your parents, you have to have an income of 20,000 dirhams (US$ 5,450) per month in the Emirate of Dubai, for instance. Only close relatives are eligible for long-term visas to the UAE.
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Obtaining a long-term visa to the UAE by purchasing real estate in the country
One more popular way of obtaining a long-term visa to the UAE is purchasing some real property there. If you do that, your close relatives will also qualify for long-term visas to the country.
To qualify for the long-term visa you have to buy real estate in the UAE that costs at least 1 million dirhams (US$ 272,480). The visa is going to be valid for three years but you can extend it if you keep the property in possession. Under certain conditions (see below), a five-year visa can be issued to you.
You can invest into several residential accommodations if their total worth comes up to the aforementioned amount. The houses/ apartments shall be livable.
Foreign nationals are entitled to purchase only those pieces of real property that are in the freehold type of ownership. Consequently, only this type of property will make you qualified for a long-term visa to the UAE.
You can buy a house, an apartment, a villa, a hotel suite, or a semidetached house to qualify for a long-term visa to the UAE. Commercial property such as an office or a warehouse will also make you qualified.
If a married couple is buying a house or an apartment in the UAE, the required investment amount remains the same – one million dirhams. However, if two foreign investors want to jointly own a piece of real property in the UAE and they are not husband and wife, each of them shall bring at least one million dirhams.
If you buy a more expensive piece of real property in the UAE that costs at least five million dirhams (US$ 1,362,400), you will become eligible for a five-year visa to the country.
A long-term visa to the UAE valid for ten years
It is also possible to acquire a ten-year visa to the UAE. To qualify for it you have to make an investment into a business venture in the country of at least 10 million dirhams (US$ 2,724,800). The cost of the real property that you will be buying cannot exceed 40% of the total investment amount.
You have to invest your own money (not loaned) in a business venture in the UAE if you want to qualify for a long-term visa to the country. Besides, you have to remain the owner of the company for at least three years, as your visa will be invalidated otherwise.
A ten-year visa for talented specialists
Professionals such as doctors, inventors, scientists, artists, and so on can also qualify for a long-term visa to the UAE. They have to demonstrate an employment agreement with an UAE company that specifies their job responsibilities.
One of the following conditions has to be satisfied if you are to qualify for a ten-year visa to the UAE as a talented specialist:
- If you are a scientist, you have to be nominated for the visa by the Scientific Council of the UAE or have a Mohammed bin Rashid medal for scientific achievements.
- If you are an outstanding artist, you have to be approved by the local Ministry of Culture and Knowledge.
- If you are an inventor, you have to hold a patent for an invention that is valuable for the UAN economy. An approval of the Ministry of Economy is also required.
- If you are a scientist, you have to have a relevant patent or have publications in the leading journals.
- CEOs of companies that significantly contribute to the cultural and economic development of the UAE will also qualify for ten-year visas to the country.
- If you are a medical doctor, you have to meet two of the following conditions:
- You have a degree from one of the five hundred leading medical universities of the world.
- You have a certificate confirming your professionalism or a letter of appreciation.
- You conduct fundamental research in a medical area.
- You have publications (books or articles).
- You are a member of a reputable medical association.
- You have ten years of working experience.
- You can greatly contribute to the development of the healthcare system in the UAE.
A five-year visa to the UAE
Certain categories of foreign nationals can qualify for five-year visas to the UAE. One such category is talented students who can demonstrate a 95% or better performance or a GPA of 3.75. Close relatives of such students (spouses and parents) will also qualify for long-term visas to the UAE.
In addition to that, a foreign entrepreneur who invests at least 500,000 dirhams (US$ 136,420) in a business project in the UAE can qualify for a five-year visa to the country. Alternatively, the entrepreneur has to get an approval from an authorized business incubator in the Emirates.
Citizenship of the UAE
Since recent times, the United Arab Emirates grants citizenship to foreign nationals with some outstanding achievements. The changes to the local legislation are aimed at attracting talented foreigners who can contribute to the growth of the UAE economy.
Millions of expats live in the UAE. They account for more than 80% of the country’s population. Over several decades, foreign workers have been the pillars of the local economy. However, most of them still do not have a clear method of acquiring citizenship of the UAE even if they have been born and raised in the country.
At the same time, foreign investors and professionals such as doctors, scientists, engineers, writers, and artists can qualify for citizenship of the UAE. If they do, their close relatives will also be eligible for citizenship of the country.
The Cabinet has to nominate the foreign national for citizenship of the UAE or a local executive council or a court of law. Every category of applicants for citizenship will have to meet a different set of criteria. When acquiring citizenship of the UAE, the foreign national can keep his/ her home country’s citizenship.
The following main criteria have to be satisfied when applying for citizenship of the UAE:
- An investor shall possess real property in the country.
- An inventor shall have a patent from the Ministry of Economy of the UAE or some other reputable institution. The Ministry of Economy has to issue a Letter of Recommendation in any case.
- Medical doctors and other professionals shall specialize in a unique field or in a field of vital importance for the United Arab Emirates.
- Scientists shall have at least ten years of research experience.
- Artists shall have impressive achievements in their areas of specialization.
Taxes in the UAE
One of the main reasons why relocating to the UAE and working there is so attractive is the taxation system in the country. Taxes are few and low in the UAE. Most types of business in the country are exempted from the income tax, the corporate taxes, the taxes on dividends and royalties, and so on.
The VAT tax is levied in the UAE. The standard rate is 5% and it is payable on sales performed on the territory of the UAE. For certain types of goods, the VAT rate is zero percent.
Goods imported to the UAE are subject to an import duty of 5%. If the goods are brought from abroad to the territory of a free economic zone in the country, no import duty is payable.
Some free economic zones in the UAE are very inviting for establishing a business venture there. If you start a manufacturing company in one of such zones, you will have to pay little in customs duties when importing raw materials and exporting your produce. Import, export, and re-export operations can be highly profitable in a free economic zone in the UAE.
What is also important is that foreign nationals are allowed to be full owners of the companies registered in a free economic zone in the UAE. This does not apply to companies registered outside such zones, however.
Please apply for our assistance in relocating to the UAE! We will gladly help you register a company in the country, open bank accounts there, and keep the financial records. We can also assist you in collecting the necessary documents and in optimizing the company ownership type and corporate structure. You are welcome to apply for a consultation with InternationalWealth experts on all issues related to relocating and doing business in the UAE.
Will registering a company in the UAE make me eligible for a long-term visa to the country?
Yes, it will. Moreover, this is the most affordable way of obtaining a long-term visa to the UAE. Company employees and relatives of the company owner will also qualify for long-term visas to the country.
Will purchase of real estate in the UAE make me eligible for a long-term visa to the country?
Yes, it will. The minimum required investment amount is US$ 272,000 (in dirhams) if you choose this route to obtaining a long-term visa to the UAE.
Can I acquire full citizenship of the UAE?
Yes, the local legislation now allows foreigners to apply for full citizenship of the UAE.