26 May 2022

New entry visas and residence permits announced for the UAE

Authored by: Hana Mohamed

In Brief:

  1. The UAE Cabinet has approved the Executive Regulations to Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners.
  2. The Regulations expand the eligibility criteria for the 10-year Golden Visa; introduce the new 5-year Green Visa; and enable a range of flexible and renewable entry visas.
  3. The Regulations will come into effect ninety days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette to attract and retain skilled workers from across the world in the UAE.

Overview

On 18 April 2022, the UAE Cabinet approved the Executive Regulations to Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners (the “Regulations”).

The Regulations introduce a plethora of new, flexible visas to the UAE and residency permits which include benefits for individuals and their families.

The Regulations expand the eligibility criteria for the 10-year Golden Visa; introduce the new 5-year Green Visa which extends to family members and does not require a sponsor or employer; and enable a range of flexible and renewable entry visas to the UAE valid for between 60 and 90 days.

The introduction of the new system is a welcome initiative that will be of particular interest and benefit to investors, skilled employees, freelancers and their families. It will attract and retain talent to the UAE, along with easing red tape burden of moving country.

Set out below is a selection of the new visas and residency permits with their respective requirements.

Golden Visas

The Golden Visa residence scheme has undergone a major overhaul. The eligibility criteria has expanded to include distinguished humanitarian workers and frontline staff; the requirements have been simplified; and the benefits have increased, particularly for family members.

More specifically, under the new Regulations:

  • there is no longer an age limit on family members sponsored by a Golden Visa holder;
  • there is no longer a limitation on the number of support staff the Golden Visa holder can sponsor; and
  • there are no restrictions on the duration the Golden Visa holder can stay outside of the UAE.

Below is a table summarising the specific requirements for the Professional, Real Estate Investor and Entrepreneur Golden Visa residence permit:

   Golden Visa Residence Permits

   Type

   Requirements

   Professional

  • Valid employment contract in the UAE;
  • Classified in the 1st or 2nd occupational level as per MOHRE classification;
  • Minimum education qualification: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent; and
  • Monthly salary of no less than AED 30,000

   Real Estate Investor

  • Purchase a property worth no less than AED 2 million;
  • Purchase a property with a loan from specific local banks; or
  • Buy one or more off-plan properties worth no less than AED 2 million from approved local real estate companies.

   Entrepreneur

  • Own or be a partner in an SME startup registered in the UAE;
  • Said startup generates an annual revenue of no less than AED 1 million; and
  • Approval for a startup idea from either: (i) an official business incubator, (ii) the Ministry of Economy, or (iii) the competent local authorities; or
  • is the founder, or one of the founders, of an entrepreneurial project(s) which was sold for no less than AED 7 million.

 

Green Residence

The flexible 5 year residence permit does not require a sponsor or employer and notably provides a grace period of up to 6 months after the residency is cancelled or has expired.

Green residence holders will be able to sponsor their first-degree relatives for the duration of their residency. This extends to children up to the age of 25, unmarried daughters and children of determination.

Below is a table summarising the specific requirements for the Skilled Employee, Freelancing and Self-Employment, and Investor or Partner Green Residence permit:

   Green Residence Permits

   Type

   Requirements

   Skilled Employee

  • Valid employment contract;
  • Classified in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd occupational level as per MOHRE classification;
  • Minimum education qualification: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent; and
  • Monthly salary of no less than AED 15,000

   Freelancing and Self-Employment

  • A freelance/self-employment permit from MOHRE;
  • Minimum education qualification: Bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma; and
  • Annual income from self-employment for the previous 2 years is no less than AED 360,000; or
  • Applicant is able to prove financial solvency during his stay in the UAE.

   Investor or Partner

  • Approval of the investment from competent local authorities; and
  • Proof of the investment.

 

Entry Visas

The new entry visas introduced by the Regulations make it significantly easier to travel to the UAE. Individuals traveling to the UAE to explore job, business, and investment opportunities, will no longer be required to have a sponsor or host. This benefit also extends to tourists who have a bank balance of USD 4,000 or its equivalent, and relatives or friends of a UAE citizen or resident.   

It’s important to note that individuals on a Temporary Work Mission visa will need to be sponsored by their employer and those on a Study and Training visa will need to be sponsored by one of the following:

  1. University;
  2. educational or research institution licensed in the UAE;
  3. government; or
  4. private entity.

All new entry visas are available for single or multiple entry; can be renewed for a similar period; and are valid for between 60 and 90 days from date of issuance. 

Below is a table summarising the specific requirements for a Job Exploration, Business, and Temporary Work Mission Entry Visa:

   Entry Visas

   Type

   Requirements

   Job Exploration

  • No sponsor/host is required;
  • Minimum education qualification: Bachelor’s degree or it’s equivalent; and
  • Classified in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd skill level as per MOHRE classification; or
  • Graduate from top 500 universities in the world.

   Business

  • No Sponsor/host required

   Temporary Work Mission

  • Sponsored by employer;
  • Temporary work contract; or
  • Letter from employer specifying (i) reason for the visit and (ii) proof of fitness to work.

 

Implementation

The Regulations will come into effect in September 2022 and it is envisaged that the changes will attract and retain skilled workers from across the world, boost the job market, and enhance the sense of stability among UAE residents and their families.

Should you require any further information, please contact the Employment Team.

 
 

This article, together with any commentary, does not constitute legal advice. It is provided solely for information purposes on a complimentary basis, without consideration of any specific objectives, circumstances or facts. It reflects then current views of the writer which may modify in time and based on differing objectives, circumstances or facts. A writer's view may differ from views of colleagues and/or the firm. You should seek legal advice on each specific matter. Access to this article does not form an attorney-client relationship.