New visa regulations in the UAE

Feb 10, 2023

New visa regulations in the UAE 

The UAE Cabinet recently approved new rules regarding the country’s immigration and visa policies. The changes announced pertain to a variety of areas, including longer-duration for visit-visas for the tourists, provisions to make its 10-year Golden Visa easily accessible, as well as measures to make it attractive for sought-after talented professionals to obtain long-term residency in the country.  

These changes were implemented through “executive regulations” pertaining to the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners.  

While many details about these policies were made public over the past 18 months, certain other changes, like the introduction of 60-day visiting visas for tourists and provisions to allow parents to sponsor children of determination have been newly introduced.  

But what do these changes really cover, and do they apply to you?  

This article provides a brief summary of the visa types and details important points for various categories of people who will be affected by the regulations. Read on to find out more! 


What are the major categories of visas introduced? 

Golden Visa: This visa, which was first approved back in late 2020, is one among several visa types that are aimed at attracting talented professionals in the fields of science, technology, and medicine; investors; and entrepreneurs to come and live in the Emirates.  

In Dubai, in the first year since its launch, around 44,000 Golden visas were issued. Those who meet the eligibility criteria, including the financial aspects, will be able to apply and obtain a Golden Visa. 

Green Visa: This visa is aimed at individuals in the middle-income bracket, such as skilled workers, freelancers, or those who are self-employed. Green visas will grant their holders a residency permit for 5 years.  

In order to be eligible for the visa, applicants must have a monthly salary of AED 15,000 or more, and at least have a Bachelor’s degree in skilled fields including law, science, social sciences, and education, among others.  

A Green visa holder will also be able to sponsor their relatives for a 5-year residency as well. Earlier, such sponsored residencies were allowed for a maximum period of 2 years. Individuals holding two or three-year trade licenses to work as freelancers may also find this option attractive as well.   

This visa has been primarily intended for young talent and skilled professionals, specifically, recent graduates from the top 500 universities of the world. However, it should be noted that the costs for this scheme have not yet been declared. 

Family-sponsored Visa: This visa will provide multiple benefits including parents being able to sponsor their male children till they attained 25 years of age as opposed to the earlier limit of 18 years and sponsor any unmarried daughters indefinitely, amongst other things. Children of determination will be granted a residence permit as well irrespective of their age. 


What are some of the main benefits that have been introduced with this announcement? 

Benefits for family members: The new visa provisions provide a variety of benefits for family members in addition to existing ones.  

These visas allow parents to sponsor their male children up to the age of 25 years; the earlier limit for this was set at 18. On the other hand, parents can sponsor any unmarried daughters indefinitely.  

The new Entry and Residence Scheme also grants children of determination a residence permit permanently, irrespective of their age.  

Green visa residence holders will be allowed to sponsor any of their first-degree relatives into the country who will be eligible for residence visas for the same duration as those of the original residence holder.  

Expansion of entry visas for job exploration: These visas are meant to fulfil the Cabinet’s aim of attracting skilled professionals and talented young individuals to boost the country’s economy. They will not require sponsors or hosts for applying for a visa.  

These visas will be granted to individuals who fall into the first, second, or third skill levels defined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The eligibility requirement, in terms of educational qualifications, is a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. 

Multiple-entry tourist visas: A 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa has also been introduced in addition to regular tourist visas. This category does not necessitate the requirement of a sponsor and allows applicants to stay in the country for up to 90 days in a row if they obtain the visa. This period of stay can be extended for a similar period, on the condition that the entire duration of the individual’s stay does not exceed 180 days over the course of a year. 

This visa will require proof of the individual having USD4,000 or the equivalent of that amount in foreign currencies in their bank in the six months preceding their application. 

Golden Visa for sponsoring family members and domestic workers: The Golden Residence Scheme has been amended to simplify the eligibility requirements for it and to expand the categories of people who can be eligible for this visa in the latest major overhaul of the visa process. 

The residence validity of a Golden Visa can be for either 5 or 10 years, and can be granted to investors, scientists, entrepreneurs, expert professionals, humanitarian pioneers, outstanding students and graduates, and even frontline heroes.  

A Golden Visa holder can sponsor their family members, including their spouse and children, irrespective of the original visa holder’s age. Further, they can also sponsor domestic workers that would work for them.  

However, no restrictions pertaining to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE to keep the visa valid have been announced as of yet.  

Some other popular benefits for family members include provisions to allow them to stay in the UAE till the end of the permit duration in the case of the death of the original Golden Visa holder. 

Golden Visa for scientists: This visa category is for researchers and scientists who demonstrate a high caliber and influence in their respective areas of focus, based on recommendations from the Emirates Scientists Council.  

An eligible candidate would require to have a PhD or a Master’s degree in the disciplines of technology, engineering, natural sciences, or life sciences from leading universities. The candidate will also need to have substantial and proven research achievements.  

Golden Visa for skilled professionals: An expansion has been introduced in this category for the country to attract highly skilled workers who have educational qualifications and professional experience in disciplines including law, business administration, information technology, engineering and the sciences, medicine, education, culture, and social sciences.  

Applicants for these visas will require to have a valid employment contract in the UAE and be classified in the first or the second skill level classified according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. They would also need to have a monthly salary of at least AED 30,000 and a Bachelor’s degree. 

Golden Visa for exceptional talents: This visa may be awarded to people based solely on their talent, irrespective of their educational qualifications, monthly salaries, professional levels, or employment statuses. 

To apply for this visa, individuals would require recommendation or approvals from either a Federal or a local government entity. Individuals with exceptional talent in fields like art, culture, digital technology, sports, innovators, and inventors, among others can be eligible for this scheme. 

Golden Visa for property investors: Real estate investors purchasing a property worth at least AED 2 million (about $540,000) can also be eligible to obtain a Golden Visa. According to the new amendments, investors would also be entitled to obtain the Golden Visa while purchasing a property via loans from specific local banks. They can also obtain the Golden Visa while purchasing one or more off-plan properties valued at least AED 2 million from approved local real estate companies.  

Golden Visa for entrepreneurs: In order to be eligible for this scheme, an entrepreneur would have to own or be a partner in a start-up registered in the UAE, in the small and medium enterprises (SME) category of approved fields by the Ministry of Economy, that is generating an annual revenue of at least AED 1 million.  

If the applicant is one of the founders of any earlier entrepreneurial project that was sold with a total value amounting to not less than AED 7 million, then they also would be eligible to apply for this Golden Visa. 

Golden Visa for outstanding students and graduates: This category is meant for excellent students in UAE secondary schools and UAE universities, along with the top 100 universities around the world. The criteria involved in selecting them include their year of graduation, academic performance, and the classification of their universities.  

Green Visa for skilled employees and freelancers: This is a new type of visa introduced that provides a 5-year residency visa to skilled employees, without them requiring a sponsor. The minimum educational qualification of such an applicant would have to be a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and they would have to be earning a monthly income of AED 15,000. 

Green Visa for investors or partners: This scheme is meant to encourage investment in the country. It provides a 5-year residency visa for investors who invest in commercial activities. It comes as a replacement to the previous scheme that granted residency for 2 years. The common requirements include approval and proof of the investment made. In case the investor has more than one license, their total investment capital will be calculated. 

As we can see, the changes are broadly intended to attract investment and skilled professionals to the UAE. These schemes will also make it easier for the family members of residents to obtain various benefits.  

Furthermore, the visa categories have also shown favorable developments for young professionals and talents, especially from STEM backgrounds. Collectively, they serve as a great set of regulations to assist the UAE in gathering a base of talented and efficient professionals while also fueling the monetary environment required to boost economic growth and employment figures.


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