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"The new system means more professionals will have the opportunity to live and work in the UAE for a longer period."

Long-term visa system approved in UAE

28 Nov 2018

In a bid to engineer a more attractive investment environment, the UAE Cabinet has approved a long-term visa system for a range of disciplines including investors and entrepreneurs and has now provided the qualifying criteria. The issuance of the new visas begins on February 3rd 2019.

In addition to investors and entrepreneurs, specialists in science, medicine, research and technical fields and outstanding students are also entitled to long-term visas.

The lenient visa system has been introduced in order to “facilitate business and create an attractive and encouraging investment environment." The new system means more professionals will have the opportunity to live and work in the UAE for a longer period.

Open for business

The move comes at a time when the UAE is relaxing many of its laws that previously limited foreign direct investment. The new visa system bolsters the message of the UAE being a competitive market open to international investors.

The move was announced earlier in the year where investors were granted ten-year residency visas in addition to those specialists in the medical, scientific, research and technical fields; and for creative talents of culture and arts. The terms and conditions also cover the spouses and children of the particular professionals.

Making life easier for investors

The new visa system grants both five and ten year visas to investors, correlating directly to the level of investment, as seen below: 

  • Investors in a property of a value of 5 million dirhams or more will be granted a residence for five years.
  • Investors in public investments through a deposit, an established company, business partnership of 10 million dirhams or more, or a total investment of no less than 10 million dirhams in all areas mentioned with the caveat that at least 60% of it must be a non-real estate investment, will be granted a renewable residency visa every 10 years.

The Cabinet decision outlines the following conditions for both categories:

  • The amount invested shall be wholly owned by the investor and not loaned, and should be proven by supporting documents.
  • Investment retention for at least three years.
  • A standard financial liability with a financial solvency not exceeding Dh10 million.
  • The long-term visa can also be extended to include business partners, (if each partner contributes Dh10 million) the spouse and the children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.
  • A six-month period granting multiple entries is permitted to enable the application for the long-term visa requirements.

Seizing the entrepreneurial spirit

There are also two categories of entrepreneurs which have been granted long-term visas providing they:

  • Have a previous project with a minimum value of 500,000 dirhams.
  • Have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

Entrepreneurs will be granted a five-year visa with a possibility of upgrading to an investor’s visa provided they meet the requirements. They are also allowed entry into the country for a six month multi-entry visa period, with the option for renewal for another six months.

The benefits of the entrepreneurial visa include the coverage of the entrepreneurs, partners, three executive directors, spouses and children.

You can read more about the new long-term visa system here and discover what Ocorian's UAE office can provide here.

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