The UAE Cabinet has approved the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners aimed at strengthening the UAE’s position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest.
The executive regulations provide comprehensive information on the types and conditions of entry visas and residence permits. The new system of entry and residence aims at attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers from all over the world, boosting the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market and fostering a high sense of stability among UAE residents and families, according to local media reports.
Substantial amendments have been introduced to the Golden Residence Scheme to simplify the eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries. This long-term 10-year residence is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.
The amendments allow the Golden Residence holder to sponsor his/ her family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age, and to sponsor support services (domestic) laborer’s without limiting their number. Furthermore, there is no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residence valid.
There are other benefits for family members that allow them to stay in the UAE in the event of the death of the original holder of the Golden Residence until the end of their permit duration.
This residence is granted to scientists and researchers with high achievements and influence in their field based on recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.
The candidate should have a PhD or master’s degree in the disciplines of engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from the best universities in the world, as well as substantial research achievements.
A major expansion is introduced in this category to attract highly skilled workers with educational qualifications and professional experience in all disciplines, including medicine, sciences and engineering, information technology, business and administration, education, law, culture and social sciences.
The applicants should 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 Emiratization classification, which is aligned with the International Standard of Classification of Occupations ISCO by the International Labor Organization.
The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the monthly salary should not be less than AED30,000.
This residence is granted to top talents in vital fields. It is awarded based on talent only regardless of the educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary or professional level.
It requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity, and includes talented individuals in culture, art, sports, digital technology, inventors and innovators and other vital fields.
Real Estate Investors
Real estate investors can obtain Golden Residence when purchasing a property worth no less than AED2 million.
As per the new amendments, investors are also entitled to obtain the Golden Residence when purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks. Investors can also obtain Golden Residence when buying one or more off-plan properties of no less than AED2 million from approved local real estate companies.
The executive regulations set flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible to obtain the Golden Residence; an entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a startup registered in the country in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) category and generates annual revenues of not less than AED1 million.
In addition, obtaining approval for a startup idea from an official business incubator or from the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is sufficient to obtain the Golden Residence in this category.
Moreover, if the person is a founder (one of the founders) of a previous entrepreneurial project(s) that was sold for a total of not less than AED7 million, he/she will be entitled to the Golden Residence. The approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is required for projects or ideas.
Outstanding Students and Graduates
This residence targets high performing students in UAE secondary schools, and outstanding graduates from UAE universities and the best 100 universities worldwide, according to specific criteria that includes their academic performance (cumulative average), the year of graduation, and the university classification.
New Residence Types and Benefits
Major improvements include introducing new five-years residence tracks to attract talents, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors and entrepreneurs. More benefits are offered to facilitate family members residence, and longer flexible grace periods that reach up to six months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired, in addition to facilitating and simplifying the requirements of all residence types.
Green Residence for Skilled Employees
This new track provides a five-year residency for skilled employees, without a sponsor or employer. The applicants should have a valid employment contract, and should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the salary should not be less than AED15,000.
Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment
In line with the growing importance of flexible work models, this track provides a 5-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals without requiring a sponsor or employer in the UAE. It requires obtaining a freelance/ self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, the minimum educational level should be bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma, and the annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than AED360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout his/her stay in the country.
Green Residence for Investor or Partner
This residence permit is introduced to encourage investment, providing 5-year residency for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence that was valid for 2 years only. Requirements include approval of the investment and proof of investment. If the investor (partner) has more than one licence, the total invested capital will be calculated. Approval of the competent local authorities is mandatory.
New Benefits for Family Members
The new system provides more benefits to family members, allowing residents to easily issue residence permits for their family members, including spouse and children.
The age of children who may be sponsored has been raised to 25 years (previously 18 years), with no age limit for unmarried daughters. Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age.
Green Residences holders are allowed to issue residence permits for their first-degree relatives, and in all cases the residency of family members shall be the validity duration as the original residence holder.
New System for Entry Visas
The new system offers the UAE visitors a variety of visa types for different visit purposes. New types of visas are introduced without requiring a host or sponsor for the first time. Major improvements include facilitating the entry requirements for all visa types, offering flexible visa durations that meet the needs of the visitors and the purpose of the visit. In addition, all entry visas are available for single or multiple entry and can be renewed for similar period(s) and are valid for 60 days from their issuance date.
Job Exploration Entry Visa
This visa is introduced with the aim of attracting young talents and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities available in the country, it does not require a sponsor or a host. It is granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization and the fresh graduates of the best 500 universities in the world and the minimum educational level should be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
Business Entry Visa
This type enables easy entry without requiring sponsor or host to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
In addition to the regular tourist visa that is sponsored by tourism establishment in the UAE, a five-years multi-entry tourist visa was introduced.
This type does not require a sponsor and it allows the person to stay in the country up to 90 continuous days, and it may be extended for a similar period, provided that the entire period of stay does not exceed 180 days in one year.
This visa requires proof of having a bank balance of US$4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies during the last six months prior to submitting the application.
Entry Permit to Visit Relatives or Friends
As per the current amendment, a visitor can apply for this entry permit if he/she is a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or resident. It does not require a sponsor or a host.
Entry Permit for a Temporary Work Mission
This type is intended for those who have a temporary work assignment like probation testing or project-based mission, and is sponsored by the employer. It requires a temporary work contract or a letter from the employer clarifying the visit purpose and proof of health fitness to work.
Entry Permit for Study and Training
This type is intended for those attending training and study courses and/or participating in internship program. The sponsor can be universities or educational or research institutions licensed in the country or government or private entities. It requires a letter from the entity, clarifying the details of the study or training or internship program and its duration.
The executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners shall come into force after ninety days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.