The United Arab Emirates — home to the world's cleanest cities, unparalleled infrastructure, a blend of modernity and heritage, is a land where tradition meets innovation. The UAE represents more than just a destination; it embodies a lifestyle.

In recent years, the UAE has become a magnet for people seeking opportunities. It offers lucrative jobs, flourishing businesses, and minimal taxes, making it a hotspot for expatriates.

In the past, acquiring long term residency in the UAE was a rare privilege, mainly reserved for special cases. However, as the UAE grows in popularity among expatriates, the government has recognized the need for a pathway for investors, skilled individuals, and their families to establish long-term roots. This gave birth to the UAE Golden Visa program in 2019, initially designed for the ultra-wealthy. In 2021, the program underwent reforms to make it more accessible and centered around exceptional skills and talents.

This guide will comprehensively outline the ins and outs of the UAE's long-term residence visa.

What is the UAE Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa is an extended residence program that grants foreign talents and investors the opportunity to reside, work, or study in the UAE, all while enjoying exclusive privileges. Eligible individuals encompass a diverse spectrum, including investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, exceptional students and graduates, humanitarian innovators, and frontline heroes.

The 10-year residency permits are granted to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the country, possess highly sought-after skills, or are employed in pivotal industries crucial to economic growth.

In Dubai, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs reported in November that over 150,000 golden visas had been issued in the emirate.

Golden visas have been extended to a diverse range of individuals, encompassing outstanding students who achieved top scores in their final-year exams and healthcare professionals who played pivotal roles on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic. Numerous prominent global figures, including celebrities and respected members of the business community, have also been recipients of golden visas.

Why the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, situated along the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean, is a young, oil-rich nation with diverse cultural influences. UAE's cities, primarily Dubai, are landmarks of modernity. Massive skyscrapers punctuate the skyline, public services are top-notch, and luxury is embedded in daily life. The UAE offers a lifestyle of opulence.

Housing in the UAE is luxurious, even non-luxury residences. Whether you prefer an apartment, villa, or condo, you'll find turn-key housing solutions. The UAE attracts the best and brightest globally, from investors and entrepreneurs to academics and innovators. The Golden Visa Program reflects the country's commitment to appreciating exceptional skills and talents.

Benefits of the UAE Golden Visa

The UAE's 'Golden Visa' is an extended residency program that offers foreign talents a host of exclusive benefits, including:

  • A long-term, renewable residence visa, valid for either 5 or 10 years.
  • The privilege of not requiring a sponsor, granting independence in residency matters.
  • The flexibility to stay outside the UAE for more extended periods, exceeding the typical six-month limit, while still maintaining the validity of the residence visa.
  • The capability to sponsor family members, encompassing spouses and children, regardless of their ages.
  • The capacity to sponsor an unlimited number of domestic helpers.
  • The provision for family members to remain in the UAE for the duration of their permit, even in the unfortunate event of the primary Golden visa holder's passing.

UAE Golden Visa Requirements

The UAE Golden Visa is unique in that it allows individuals to obtain it based on skills as well as investment. The prerequisites for obtaining a Golden Visa are contingent upon the specific category of residence, whether it be for investors, talents, entrepreneurs, and more.

Investors in Public Investments:

For those investing in an accredited investment fund, eligibility for a 10-year Golden Visa without the need for sponsorship necessitates:

  • Submission of a letter from a UAE-accredited investment fund confirming that the investor has a deposit of AED two million dirhams (Approx $5 OR
  • Submission of a valid commercial or industrial license and a memorandum of association indicating that the investor's capital amounts to no less than AED two million dihrams.
  • Submission of a letter from the Federal Tax Authority, affirming that the investor pays the government a minimum of AED 250,000 annually.

Additionally, investors must:

  • Possess full ownership of the invested capital, with no reliance on loans.
  • Provide evidence of medical insurance for themselves and their family, if applicable.

Real Estate Investors:

In 2022, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced groundbreaking changes to its Golden Visa program, making it more accessible and enticing for investors. Notably, the UAE has eliminated the previous minimum down payment requirement of 1 million dirhams for Golden Visa investors.

One of the noteworthy changes pertains to off-plan properties. To be eligible for a Golden Visa, the off-plan property project must have reached a significant milestone - it must be at least 50% complete in its construction phase.

These remarkable revisions have opened up exciting possibilities for investors. Now, individuals seeking the Golden Visa can enjoy reduced investment thresholds, greater flexibility regarding the duration of their stay in other countries, and even the opportunity to purchase off-plan properties with the added option of securing a mortgage.

To obtain a 10-year Golden Visa, investors need to commit to a minimum real estate investment of at least 2,545,000 USD. Alternatively, there's a more affordable option for a 2-year residency visa, requiring just 750,000 AED in investment. These changes have positioned the UAE as an even more attractive destination for investors looking to reap the benefits of this prestigious visa program.

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Entrepreneurs may obtain a 5-year Golden Visa if they own an innovative economic project. This project should be of a technical or futuristic nature, with risk and innovation as core elements. Additionally, they must possess approval letters from the following entities:

  • An auditor in the UAE, certifying that the project's value exceeds 500,000 dirhams.
  • The emirate's authorities, confirming that the project is of a technical or futuristic nature.
  • An accredited business incubator in the UAE, to establish the proposed activity within the country.

Outstanding Specialized Talents:

This category encompasses a broad range of professionals, including doctors, scientists, artists, inventors, executives, and specialists in various scientific fields. For those holding a doctoral degree or excelling in engineering and scientific domains such as epidemiology, artificial intelligence, and genetics, a 10-year Golden Visa is attainable by meeting specific requirements:

Doctors and Scientists:

  • An approval letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE (for doctors).
  • A letter of recommendation from the Emirates Council of Scientists or the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence, affirming the recipient's achievement of the Medal of Scientific Excellence (for scientists).


  • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Economy, attesting that the patent holds significant economic value for the country.

Creative Professionals in Culture and Art:

  • An approval letter from the Department of Culture and Arts in the respective Emirate, acknowledging the applicant's creative contributions in the fields of culture and art.
  • Departmental Approval: An approval letter from the respective Emirate's Department of Culture and Arts, recognizing the applicant's significant contributions to the fields of culture and art.

Related Services:

  • Apply for Creative Talent Accreditation (Cultural Visa) – Dubai Culture
  • Obtain an Endorsement Certificate for Creative Individuals – Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism
  • Get a Recommendation Letter for Golden Visa Application – Ministry of Culture and Youth

Executive Directors:

To qualify for a Golden Visa as an Executive Director, the following documents are required:

  • Educational Requirement: A copy of a university degree accredited by the Ministry of Education, with a minimum educational attainment of a Bachelor's degree.
  • Experience Confirmation: A letter confirming a minimum of 5 years of experience in the same executive position.
  • Salary Certificate: A salary certificate demonstrating a salary of at least AED 50,000.
  • Valid Work Contract: A valid work contract.


Athletes seeking a Golden Visa must provide a recommendation letter from the General Sports Authority or one of the sports councils.

Specialists in Engineering and Science:

Specialists in engineering and science should submit:

  • A copy of a Bachelor's or a Master's degree certified by the Ministry of Education.
  • A valid work contract.

Outstanding Students:

For outstanding high school students:

If you are a high school student and a national-level topper, achieving a minimum grade of 95 percent in a public or private secondary school, you may be eligible for a 5-year Golden Visa without sponsorship. This is subject to submission of a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education (Emirates Schools Establishment). The duration of the Golden Visa for students is 5 years and may be extended if you are enrolled in a major/college in the country that requires a study period exceeding five years.

For outstanding university students:

If you are an exceptional university student, you may qualify for a 10-year Golden Visa without sponsorship under the following conditions:

  • The university must hold a rating of either A or B class by the Ministry of Education.
  • Submission of a recommendation letter from the university or an accredited graduation certificate or an accredited academic record indicating a cumulative GPA of not less than 3.5 for A class universities and 3.8 for B class universities.
  • Graduation must have occurred no more than 2 years prior.

Outstanding students from foreign universities may also be eligible for a 10-year Golden Visa without sponsorship, provided:

  • The university is ranked among the top 100 global universities according to a rating system recognized by the Ministry of Education.
  • The student maintains a cumulative GPA of not less than 3.5.
  • Graduation occurred no more than 2 years prior.
  • The graduation certificate is accredited by the Ministry of Education.

Pioneers of Humanitarian Work:

Individuals categorized as pioneers of humanitarian work may receive a 10-year Golden Visa if they fall within the following groups:

  • Members and exceptional employees with a minimum of five years' service in international and regional organizations.
  • Members and outstanding employees with a minimum of five years' service in civil associations and public interest institutions.
  • Individuals who have received an appreciation award from a local, regional, or international organization dedicated to humanitarian work.
  • Funders of humanitarian work, provided that the support value remains above two million UAE dirhams or its equivalent.

Frontline Heroes:

Frontline heroes, recognized for their exceptional efforts during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, may be eligible for a Golden Visa with a recommendation from a competent authority. Frontline heroes include nurses, medical assistants, lab technicians, pharmacologists, and other approved cadres as recognized by the Frontline Heroes Office.

The UAE Golden Visa Process:

The UAE Golden Visa application process involves several distinct steps:

  1. Select the Investment Category: Determine the investment category that best suits your objectives, whether it's real estate, business, entrepreneurship, or other eligible investments.
  2. Make an eligible Investment (if applicable)t: Invest the required amount in the chosen category, meeting the specified minimum investment threshold.
  3. Gather Required Documents: Collect the necessary documentation, which typically includes a copy of your passport, proof of investment, comprehensive health insurance coverage, and a valid Emirates ID.
  4. Submit the Application: Prepare and submit your Golden Visa application to the relevant UAE authorities. Ensure that all documents are complete and accurate.
  5. Application Review: The UAE immigration authorities will thoroughly review your application. Processing times may vary depending on the investment category and the completeness of your application. This stage can take several weeks.
  6. Interview and Biometrics: Applicants are required to attend an interview or provide biometric data as part of the verification process.
  7. Receive Golden Visa: Once your application is approved, you will be issued a Golden Visa, granting you the right to reside in the UAE for a specified period, which can range from 2 to 10 years, depending on your investment category.
  8. Renew or Extend: Depending on the duration of your Golden Visa, you may need to renew or extend it when it approaches its expiration date. This typically involves meeting certain criteria related to your initial investment.

These steps offer a structured overview of the UAE Golden Visa application process, but it's essential to consult with official sources or immigration experts for the most up-to-date and specific information, as requirements can vary based on individual circumstances and government regulations.

Program Overview:

The UAE Golden visa is tailored to empower foreign nationals to reside, work, and pursue education in the UAE without the requirement of a local sponsor, along with the advantage of full business ownership on the UAE mainland.

The UAE golden visa is initially valid for 10 years, and as long as the visa holder maintains the necessary eligibility criteria, they have the option to renew for another decade upon expiration.

In contrast, typical expatriate workers must undergo visa renewal every two to three years.

It's important to note that the UAE golden visa is a residence visa for foreign nationals, which differs from UAE citizenship, which can exclusively be conferred upon individuals nominated by the government or officials from the royal court.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the timeline for the nomination process?

You can expect to receive an email notification regarding the status of your nomination application within 30 days. Once your nomination is successfully approved, you will receive a link via email to upload the necessary documents for your visa application.

Can I submit my application from abroad?

For those residing outside the UAE, a six-month visa will be granted, affording you the opportunity to enter the country, explore its prospects, and establish yourself.

To apply for this multi-entry visa, you'll need to complete an online application form, tailored to either investors or entrepreneurs and outstanding students. The cost for this visa is Dh1,150.

It's essential to note that the six-month visa for individuals with exceptional talents is valid for a single entry. During this duration, the conversion of your temporary visa into a residency permit will be obligatory.

Does my golden visa grant me the ability to work in the UAE?

In order to work in the UAE, you must possess a valid employment contract, a work permit, or an appropriate license.

Nonetheless, the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization has initiated the issuance of work permits for golden residency holders. These permits are mandatory for individuals who were jobless at the time of receiving their golden visa and aspire to commence employment with a particular employer, as well as for those intending to embark on new employment with a different employer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.