To stay in the UAE legally, you need to be a citizen or hold a residence visa. Becoming a citizen of this country is complicated but visas are granted to foreigners without undue restraint. In April 2022, the UAE legislation was amended to simplify the process of applying for a residence permit, specifically with regard to receiving Golden Visas.
- What is a Golden Visa?
- Key categories of citizens eligible for Golden Visas
- How can a real estate investor obtain a Golden Visa?
Golden Visa is a common name for a document that permits foreign citizens to stay in the United Arab Emirates for five or ten years. The term of the visa’s validity depends on the applicant’s category. A residence permit grants you most of the rights enjoyed by citizens, such as:
- Opening a bank account.
- Applying for a tax identification number and becoming a tax resident.
- Doing business if the visa is issued for entrepreneurial activity.
- Staying outside the UAE for more than six months per year without residence permit revocation.
- Sponsoring residence permits for family members, including children of any age.
- Sponsoring an unlimited quantity of domestic staff.
Upon expiration, the residence permit can be renewed several times. If the original holder of a Golden Visa passes away, their family members may stay in the country until it expires.
Golden Visas are sometimes called investment visas. Investment in a business or real estate in the Emirates is the most common reason for granting it. The terms are similar to the terms of applying for a three-year residence permit but the latter requires an investment in real estate worth USD 205,000 (JPY 1.36 million) or more, while a ten-year residence permit requires an investment exceeding USD 544,000 (JPY 3.62 million). This value threshold came into effect in April 2022 after the law was amended. Before that, a ten-year visa was issued upon investing USD 2.72 million (JPY 18.3 million) or more in the country’s real estate or economy. Other changes were introduced in the Emirates’ legislation along with that amendment:
- You are now eligible for a visa upon purchasing real estate with a mortgage. A visa used to be issued only if the property was paid for in full at the time of purchase.
- Off-plan facilities are allowed on condition that the developer is approved by the UAE Government.
The following categories of citizens (besides home buyers) may also apply for a residence permit:
The applicant must meet one of the following requirements:
- Initiate a startup or partner in a small or medium enterprise on the condition that the company generates annual revenue of more than USD 272,200 (JPY 1.8 million).
- Submit a startup proposal that must be approved by the Ministry of Economy or other competent public authorities.
- Start a project worth over USD 1.9 million (JPY 12.8 million).
The United Arab Emirates is interested in people who are capable of benefiting the country. Applicants working in digital technology, inventors, and artists shall be approved by federal authorities.
Scientists and highly skilled workers
An applicant holding a Ph.D. must be approved by the Emirates Scientists Council. Highly skilled workers employed in the UAE and holding at least a Bachelor’s Degree may also be eligible for a Golden Visa. The applicant’s monthly salary must be at least USD 8,160 (JPY 55,000).
Students of secondary schools and graduates of the world’s top 100 universities, with high academic performance, can apply for a residence permit. The ranking of the educational establishment, the average score, and the graduation year are taken into account.
Frontline workers who made a significant contribution in fighting the pandemic and outstanding members of public organizations are a separate category.
This process consists of several steps:
- Selecting the right program with the applicable criteria. You can do this on your own or use the competent assistance of real estate experts.
- Finding the property that meets the future residents’ needs and their available budget.
- Closing the deal on the purchase. This step includes reserving the property, making a down payment, signing a purchase and sale contract, and paying the full value of the residence. It is mandatory to register the transaction with the Dubai Land Department. The whole process takes about two weeks.
- Collecting the necessary documents, translating and notarizing them.
- Procuring a medical certificate required for moving to the UAE.
- Submitting the documents to the competent authorities. Foreigners are first issued an entry visa valid for six months. Over that time, the candidate must apply for a ten-year visa at the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
Versatile as Golden Visa programs are, the visa for purchasing real estate is still the easiest to obtain. You do not need to confirm high skills, study the potential risks of startups, or prove your talent. The variety of property types available makes it possible to choose from many options worth the required USD 544,000 (JPY 3.62 million) to apply for a Golden Visa. You can purchase a spacious villa and move there as a permanent resident or buy several apartments, renting some of them out to receive a stable passive income. Physical persons are almost completely exempt from income taxes in the UAE, so the landlord receives the entire rental yield.