Residence permit in the UAE when buying real estate

Residence permit in the UAE when buying real estate

Foreigners can obtain residency in the UAE by investing in property. Today, the best way is to buy real estate in Dubai. Buying an apartment or villa in Dubai is not only a good way of investment but also a quick way to obtain a residence permit for the whole family. The Emirates has become a haven for many foreigners who come here for a luxurious and safe life.


Residence permit in the UAE when buying real estate in 2024

It is worth noting that there is no concept of “permanent residence” and “residence permit” in the legislation of the United Arab Emirates. All immigrants must apply for a residence visa, which gives the status of a resident and the right to reside in the territory of this country. These visas are long-term and can be renewed without restriction as long as the applicant continues to meet the requirements for their issuance.

In other words, residence visas in the UAE have the same functionality as a residence permit.

The validity of a particular visa for real estate investors directly depends on the value of the purchased property. Thanks to legislative amendments adopted at the end of 2022, today, foreign property buyers can only secure 2 types of visas:

  • The 2-year visa is granted for purchasing property in Dubai priced from AED 750,000 ($204,000);
  • The 5-year Golden Visa is issued if the property is worth more than AED 2 million ($544,500);
  • Each of the above visas can be obtained even if the property is purchased with a mortgage, although in this case several conditions must be met;
  • Both types of visas can be extended an unlimited number of times.

Residence permit in the UAE when buying real estate on mortgage

It is known that property acquired through mortgage financing is considered the bank’s ownership until the borrower repays the loan. However, purchasing real estate through a mortgage in the UAE still allows you to apply for a long-term visa. The main condition is to spend the necessary minimum of personal funds on a villa or apartment in Dubai or another emirate.

The conditions are as follows:

  • At the time of applying for a visa, you must have repaid a minimum of 50% of the loan;
  • The amount paid must be at least AED 750,000.

By meeting these conditions, you can qualify for a 2-year visa.

Before taking out a mortgage, it is advisable to ensure that the bank is on the list of those approved by relevant government authorities. To submit visa documents, you need to obtain a statement from the bank detailing the issued loan, including the amount already paid and the remaining debt.

Note: Despite the high standardisation of laws and procedures for investments and visa acquisition in the UAE, different emirates may have slightly different conditions. We recommend consulting with specialists before deciding to purchase real estate or take out a mortgage in Dubai and other emirates.

Residence permit for family members

When seeking residency, an investor can obtain visas for the entire family. It should be noted that the government imposes different requirements for sponsoring children (sons must be up to 25 years of age, and daughters older than 18 must not be married) and elderly parents.

There are several other conditions related to the sponsor’s income, the health of the sponsored individual, and more. The list is quite extensive, and conditions and requirements change from time to time. Therefore, it is advisable to stay informed by monitoring information on official government portals and consulting with experts.

Documents to obtain residence permit

Below is a list of the main documents required for foreigners planning to move to the UAE through real estate investment:

  • Colour photographs meeting specific requirements;
  • Copies of passports;
  • Proof of property ownership;
  • Medical insurance and a medical examination certificate;
  • Legalised marriage certificate if the property belongs to a husband and wife.

When applying for residency for dependents (children, parents, etc.), their documents will also be required. Additionally, the sponsor will need to provide supplementary documents, such as a valid Emirates ID.

It is worth noting that today almost all these procedures are typically streamlined or processed through a one-stop-shop approach. You will not spend much time visiting numerous organisations to gather all the necessary paperwork.

Procedure to obtain residence permit

  1. The investor must apply to the real estate regulatory authority of the respective emirate. For example, in Dubai, this process is overseen by the Land Department (DLD).
  2. To obtain a residence visa in Dubai, a foreign citizen will need to interact with two authorities—the DLD and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The DLD is involved in the process as the applicant obtains a visa for real estate investments, while the GDRFA is directly responsible for visa processing.
  3. Some steps can be completed online. For instance, submitting applications to the DLD and the GDRFA can be done through the official portals of these organisations. One of the most convenient methods is to use the government mobile application DubaiNow.
  4. Following the visit to the DLD, the applicant will be directed to undergo the remaining stages and obtain additional documents.
  5. Among other things, the applicant will be directed to the police to receive a clearance certificate.
  6. At this stage, the individual applies for the UAE resident card—Emirates ID. Previously, this was a separate process carried out after obtaining the visa, but now, obtaining the Emirates ID is integrated with obtaining the residence visa.
  7. During examinations, medical tests, and other procedures, the foreigner will need to pay all fees and charges.
  8. After collecting all the documents and receiving approval from the DLD, the property owner applies to the GDRFA for a residence visa.

You can get a residence permit in the UAE through the purchase of real estate in 2–3 weeks after submitting the documents.

It is worth noting that, in practice, the entire process is relatively straightforward, and with the assistance of specialists handling bureaucratic matters, minimal effort is required from the applicant.

Residency can be processed through the following online services:

  • GDRFA website and the eChannels portal;
  • Mobile applications like DubaiNow and UAEICP.

Moving to the UAE: what to start with

  1. Finding suitable real estate. Real estate can be purchased remotely. You can acquire it independently or through an agency, using your own funds or with a mortgage loan. With the development of virtual tour systems, visiting the selected property in person is not necessary.
  2. Obtaining a visa. As mentioned earlier, this is done through the DLD and the GDRFA. If you are concerned about the initial entry into the country, it is worth noting that citizens of the USA and European countries do not need to obtain entry permits to the Emirates. The necessary documents are processed upon arrival in the country.
  3. Obtaining a visa and Emirates ID (an identity card, something like an Arab passport for foreigners living in the country).

In 2024, obtaining a residence permit in Dubai is a winning solution for foreigners. Firstly, the visa is issued for up to 2 years and can be renewed an unlimited number of times. Secondly, there are good conditions for working and doing business in Dubai, and the absence of taxes is a welcome feature.

Most foreigners prefer to live in the UAE in the status of a resident for many years without applying for citizenship. In addition, it is extremely difficult for overseas nationals to obtain UAE citizenship.

Methods to obtain citizenship

  • By birthright (if the father is a native resident of the country or if the mother is a UAE citizen; the latter applies only in cases of unidentified paternity);
  • Through marriage (a woman can obtain citizenship after 7 years of marriage with a UAE citizen);
  • By naturalisation. Expats who have lived in the Emirates for more than 30 years can apply for the status of a citizen of this country. Immigrants from Arab countries can obtain citizenship after 7 years of residence in the UAE;
  • For services to the state (the rulers of one of the seven emirates can grant citizenship for outstanding contributions to the development of the country);
  • Citizenship by investment of large sums, for substantial contributions to the country’s economic development.

The UAE allows dual citizenship from 2021.

Citizenship in the United Arab Emirates offers a few advantages over residency:

  1. Free education in public schools;
  2. Free medical treatment;
  3. Financial support from the state;
  4. Visa-free travel to 179 countries of the world.

Start your search for the perfect home in Dubai or other emirates with us! Our specialists will help you find apartments or villas that meet the requirements of the investor visa programme in the UAE.

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