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UAE residency by investment

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The UAE offers a programme of getting UAE residency (a long-term visa) by investment. The UAE programme has its specifics, allows for investment options, and imposes certain criteria on eligible investors in 2022.

UAE residency programme

The United Arab Emirates issues residency to investors contributing at least 205,000 US dollars into real estate. The investor and family obtain the resident’s status and may stay in the country permanently. UAE law has no such concepts as residence permit or permanent residency, so residents get a residence visa instead that is basically similar to a residence permit and is valid for a term from six months up to ten years.

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A UAE residence visa may be extended an unlimited number of times: in fact, a foreigner may be a UAE resident all their life. However, A UAE residence visa may be extended only if the conditions of issuing it are still met, meaning that the real estate entitling to it has not been sold.

In April 2022, the UAE Cabinet simplified the long-term visa rules and reduced the real estate investment threshold for golden visas.

Starting from September 2022, a ten-year golden visa may be issued for acquisition of a real property worth at least 545,000 US dollars (2,000,000 UAE dirhams). The previous eligible investment threshold was about 1,360,000 US dollars (5,000,000 UAE dirhams) for a visa of just five years.a

Advantages of the programme

  • The investor becomes a UAE resident and may stay permanently in the UAE. A residence visa may be extended an unlimited number of times while the investor owns the acquired real property.
  • A foreigner does not have to live all the time in the UAE. A visit to the UAE at least once in six months is enough to keep the resident's status and obtain a three-year visa. A ten-year golden visa does not require any minimum stay in the UAE.
  • A foreign investor who obtains the UAE resident status may take their family to the UAE: the spouse, sons up to 18 or 21 years if they continue their university studies, unmarried daughters of any age, and parents. The new rules for a ten-year golden visa cancel age restrictions for children.
  • The procedure to obtain a residence visa in the UAE is fast. A UAE residence visa by real estate acquisition may be obtained for two or three weeks after submission of documents.
  • The UAE resident status allows one to get a Schengen visa and a US visa, open a bank account, get a driver’s licence, but also be obliged to become a UAE tax resident.
  • The UAE residents may send their children to a public or private school, provide them with university education, and get access to public and private healthcare.

Investment thresholds

  • The investor acquiring real estate in Dubai worth at least 205,000 US dollars (750,000 UAE dirhams) is eligible for a three-year residence visa.
  • Under the new golden visa rules effective as of September 2022, the investor acquiring real estate in Dubai worth at least 545,000 US dollars (2,000,000 UAE dirhams) is eligible for a ten-year golden visa rather than a five-year visa as it was before.

A three-year residence visa

A ten-year golden visa

Minimum real estate investment

205,000 $

545,000 $

Mortgage loans

The investor may make the entire investment out of own funds without raising a mortgage loan. However, a part of the investment beyond the investment threshold of 205,000 US dollars may be made with borrowed funds.

It is now possible and not against the programme rules to get a loan to acquire real estate worth 545,000 US dollars and more. A mortgage loan may be obtained from the banks approved by the government.

Acquisition of a newly constructed house

A new residential property may be acquired only if the project is completely constructed and ready for move-in.

An under-construction house may be acquired only in the development projects approved by the authorities.

Minimum term of stay in the UAE

The investor may not stay outside of the UAE for more than six consecutive months; otherwise, the resident’s status will be lost.

The investor does not have to live all the time in the UAE or even visit the UAE once every six months. The UAE imposes no requirements for the minimum term of stay.

Family reunification

The investor may take the spouse and children to the UAE after proving the minimum income of 1,090 US dollars (4,000 UAE dirhams) a month. The investor may take the dependent parents to the UAE after making a deposit and proving income of at least 5,450 US dollars (20,000 UAE dirhams) a month.

The investor may obtain a residence visa for the entire family with no age restrictions for children. There are no financial requirements for sponsors. The applicant may take their support service workers to the UAE: nurses for children, housekeepers, butlers.

Documents for residence visa

  1. A valid foreign travel passport, its copy, copies of the previously issued visas.
  2. A title certificate to the acquired property obtained from the Dubai Land Department (DLD).
  3. Biometric photo and fingerprints made in a public GDRFA or Amer centre in Dubai.
  4. A good conduct certificate from the UAE police.
  5. A medical certificate certifying the applicant is free from serious infectious diseases (HIV blood test and TB chest X-ray) obtained from a certified medical centre in the UAE.
  6. Medical insurance for all the family members.
  7. A bank statement proving income (for sponsors taking their family to the UAE).
  8. Apostilled and legalised marriage certificate and birth certificate (-es) for a child (children).
  9. Emirates ID, if any.

Eligibility requirements for investor

  • Be over 21 years of age.
  • Invest at least 205,000 US dollars into residential / non-commercial real estate in the UAE.
  • Complete due diligence.
  • Have a clean criminal record.
  • Get a medical certificate of no serious infectious diseases.
  • Procure medical insurance for all the family members.
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