How to obtain a residence permit in the UAE in 2024

How to obtain a residence permit in the UAE in 2024

As of 2024, the population of the United Arab Emirates is 9.59 million. The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) claims that over 88% of them are expats, which means that the UAE is a popular relocation destination.

The UAE authorities are interested in attracting capital from abroad and they are trying to create comfortable conditions for investors and locals. Moreover, this means that obtaining residence visas happen under new and simplified conditions. We will tell you more about the features of obtaining a long-term visa in the UAE below.


Advantages of obtaining residency

If you are planning to move to the UAE, then you will need to apply for a residence visa. There is no "residence permit" in the UAE, but there is a "residence visa", that is, a permit to enter and stay. So what are the benefits of a residence visa in the UAE?

  • It grants the right to stay in the United Arab Emirates from 1 to 10 years, depending on the basis on which you are issued a visa.
  • It expands the opportunities of the foreigner and affords the same economic security as a UAE citizen.
  • With a residence visa, you can visit the UAE at any time. However, you should be aware that the duration between visits should be no more than 180 days (unless it is a Golden Visa, in which case there is no restriction).
  • Residence visas may be issued to family members (spouse and children).

How to obtain a residence permit in the UAE in 2024

Validity of residence visas in the UAE

A visa can have different time periods, for example:

  • 10-year residence visas in the United Arab Emirates can be obtained by highly qualified professionals, scientists, business people, as well as individuals who have made an investment in government investments of AED 2 million ($544,500) or more.
  • Those who have invested at least AED 2 million ($544,500) in real estate properties can apply for a 5-year UAE visa. In 2024, there is no longer a restriction on buying property on mortgage or during the construction phase. However, the amount of personal funds invested in the property must not be less than the specified sum. The application for a residence visa needs to be accompanied by a mortgage agreement and a letter from the bank confirming no objections, both in Arabic.
  • Those who have purchased real estate in Dubai worth at least AED 750,000 ($204,000) can obtain a 2-year residence visa.
  • Freelancers, self-employed individuals, and entrepreneurs engaged in commercial activities in the UAE can apply for a long-term visa valid for 5 years.
  • For family members – spouses, unmarried daughters, and sons up to the age of 25 – sponsor visas can be obtained. The duration of these visas will be linked to the sponsor’s visa validity period.

Types of residence visas in the UAE

The types of residence visas in the UAE vary depending on the way they are obtained: through the purchase of real estate in the country, establishing one’s own business, enrolling in a university, or through employment with a legally operating company. The grounds for obtaining residency are as follows:

  • Real estate investments. The main condition is the purchase of housing for AED 750,000 ($204,000). The visa is issued for 2 or 5 years (depending on the value of the property and location). Mortgage loans are permitted. When buying expensive properties with a mortgage, the buyer can also pay off part of the loan of AED 750,000 and get a visa.
  • Business. Owners of startups with a minimum value of AED 500,000 ($136,000), owners or partners of startups in the small and medium-sized enterprises category generating an annual income of at least AED 1 million ($272,500), as well as founders and co-founders of a project sold for at least AED 7 million ($1.9 million), can obtain a 5-year visa.
  • Education. Studying at a university in the Emirates allows you to obtain residency. To apply for a course in any UAE college or university, you will need to provide your IELTS or TOEFL test results. You should also bear in mind that at many universities and colleges you are required to pay for the whole academic year, which can cost anywhere from AED 18,000 to 36,000 ($5,000 to $10,000), and in private universities, it’s over AED 73,000 ($20,000). In addition to this, if you have a student visa you are not allowed to work in the UAE.
  • Employment. A work visa for an individual is requested by a company officially registered in the United Arab Emirates. So if you receive a work visa, you can only work only for that particular company.
  • Freelancing. A freelancer visa (Green Visa for Work), or a digital nomad visa, is issued for specialists in IT, media technology, web design, teaching, etc., with a monthly income of at least AED 15,000 ($4,100). Such a professional has the right to relocate to the UAE and obtain residency.
  • Retirement. Individuals aged 55 and above can obtain a residence visa for retirees under several conditions: having an income of AED 15,000 ($4,100) per month, opening a bank deposit, or owning real estate worth at least AED 1 million ($272,500). This type of residency is valid for 5 years and can be renewed an unlimited number of times.

Please note: residence visas in the UAE are issued not only for the purchase of apartments, villas, and townhouses. You can acquire hotel rooms, warehouses, and offices; buying these types of properties also allows you to apply for residency.

How to apply for a residence visa

To obtain a residence visa, it is necessary to prepare a complete set of documents and submit them to one of the relevant authorities.

Required documents for UAE residency

  • Passport;
  • Copies of passports for all applicants;
  • Completed visa application form;
  • Health insurance in the UAE for residency (copy);
  • E-certificate confirming the medical checkup (Medical Fitness Certificate);
  • Three colour photographs sized 3 x 4 cm;
  • Documents for your child or children if you are bringing them to the UAE;
  • Documents confirming the basis for obtaining residency in the United Arab Emirates;
  • Receipt for payment of the consular fee.

All the above-mentioned documents must be copied and certified by a notary with translations in English or Arabic, which must also be stamped and signed by a notary.

How to obtain a residence permit in the UAE in 2024

Where to apply for entry permits or visas?

You can apply for a residence visa in the United Arab Emirates on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security or through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Alternatively, you can also apply for a new visa or renewal of an existing visa through the online portal eChannels, but first you need to register in the system.

There are mobile applications through which you can also apply for a residence visa in the UAE:

  • UAEICP for Android and iOS.
  • DubaiNow for Android and iOS.

Besides submitting online visa applications, you can also apply offline at:

  • Official typing centres where you can apply for a GDRFA visa in a certain emirate.
  • Amer service centres where visas and entry permits are issued.

We will assist you in choosing a villa or an apartment in the United Arab Emirates!

Start searching for a home in the UAE right now! Emirates.Estate has collected the best properties for sale in the UAE! We are happy to help you choose a place to live and we are also ready to provide legal assistance in preparing documents. Purchasing an apartment in the UAE with our help is always safe and reliable!

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