Long-term residence visas in the UAE

May 15 2019

Starting from February 2019, the UAE has implemented  a new system for long-term residence visas. The new system enables expatriates to live, work and study in the country without the need of a UAE sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland.


Eligibility for a 10-year visa in the UAE without a sponsor

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 10-year residence visa in the UAE.

Investors in public investments of at least US$ 2.73 million

The investment may take many forms such as:

  • A deposit of at least US$ 2.73 million in an investment fund inside the UAE
  • Establishing a company in the country with a capital of not less than US$ 2.73 million
  • Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than US$ 2.73 million
  • Having a total investment of not less than US$ 2.73 million in all areas above, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 per cent of the total investment.


  • The amount invested must not be a loan.
  • The investment should be retained for a least three years after the investments are made
  • There should be a financial solvency up to US$ 2.73 million.

Visa  can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes US$ 2.73 million.

The long-term visa in the UAE could include the family of the investor ( spouse and children), as well as one executive director and one advisor.

Investors from abroad can apply for a multiple-entry permit for a six months.

Persons with specialised talents 

These include people with talent in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, scientists, inventors, and creative individuals in the fields of art and culture. The visa would extend to the spouse and children as well. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialised field of a priority in the country.


Specialists must meet at least two of the following conditions, in order to apply:

  • a Ph. D. from one of the top universities in the world
  • an award or major certificates of appreciation
  • contribution to a major scientific research
  • published articles in distinguished publications
  • membership in an organisation related to the field
  • a Ph. D., in addition to at least ten years of professional experience
  • specialisation in an area of priority to the country.


The UAE 10-year visas will be available for AED 1,150. Family visas will also cost AED 1,150 per application.

Eligibility for a 5-year visa without a sponsor 

The following categories are eligible to apply for a five-year residence visa in the United Arab Emirates.

Investors in a property in the UAE


  • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than US$ 1.36 million.
  • The amount invested in real estate must not be loaned.
  • The property must be retained for a least three years after purchase.


This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of US$ 137,000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

The entrepreneur will be allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for a similar term. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.

 Outstanding Students

Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 per cent in public and private secondary schools

University students having a graduation distinction GPA of at least 3.75.

Long-term visa includes families of the outstanding students.


The UAE 5-year visas will be available for AED 650. Family visas will also cost AED 650 per application.


The UAE has extended the long term ‘Golden Card’ visa to expatriate executive directors based on the following conditions:

  1. Monthly salary of at least AED 30,000 ($8,200);
  2. Minimum qualification of Bachelor’s degree; and
  3. At least 5 years of work experience

Applicants seeking the visa would need to present a valid work contract and maintain valid health insurance for themselves and their dependents during that entire visa period.

The gold card visa is issued is renewed automatically every 10 years, so long as they satisfy the GDFRA’s terms and conditions and are still in the employed in the same activity.

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