United Arab Emirates: UAE Launches Long-Term Residency System For Non-Citizens

The UAE recently allowed select categories of foreigners to apply for long-term visas for themselves and their families, including investors and entrepreneurs who meet certain conditions, pursuant to Cabinet Decision No. 56/2018 on the Regulation of Residence Permits for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Individuals with Specialised Talents. In accordance with the Decision, a five- or ten-year long-term residence visa system will be applied for certain categories of investors, entrepreneurs and professional talent, which will automatically be renewed when the same conditions are met.

The new long-term visa system allows residents of the UAE, foreign expatriates and their families who wish to come to work, live and study in the UAE to enjoy a long-term stay without the need for an Emirati sponsor. The Decision is intended to attract investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talent and researchers in the fields of science who have played a major role in the development of the UAE, to be permanent partners in the development process in the country.

Impact Of The Newly Launched Residency Scheme On The UAE'S Economy

It is expected that the long-term residency scheme will stimulate the economy in Dubai and the rest of the UAE, enabling expatriates to focus on investing in the UAE rather than buying property and other assets in their home country. It is hoped that high net-worth individuals will also be attracted by long-term investment in the UAE.

The new scheme comes at an opportune time with the issuance of the new Foreign Direct Investment Law (Federal Law No. 19/2018), as it will provide greater stability for foreign investors who may own companies in the mainland in the UAE. The new Foreign Direct Investment Law allows 100% foreign share ownership within the UAE, contrary to the previous general rule which required a local shareholder to have a minimum share of 51% in business and investment projects within the UAE.

Categories Covered By The Long-Term Residence System

The first batch of qualified individuals to have been granted the long-term residence visa consisted of 6 800 investors and residents, with approximate total investments in the country worth AED 100 billion.

A. Categories Entitled to Apply for a Renewable Ten-Year Residence Visa Without a Sponsor:

1. Investors in Public Investments of at Least AED 10 Million The investment may take any of the following forms:

" a deposit of at least AED 10 million in an investment fund inside the country; " establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than AED 10 million;

" partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than AED 10 million; or

" having a total investment of not less than AED 10 million in all areas mentioned above, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60% of the total investment.


" The amount invested must not be loaned.

" The investment should be retained for at least three years from the date of issuance of the residence visa.

" There should be a financial solvency up to AED 10 million.

Under this category:

" The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.

" Investors from abroad may apply for an interim six-month multiple-entry visa.


2. Talented Individuals

The visa privileges are granted to specialised talents and researchers in the fields of science, including doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors and innovators. A visa will also be granted to the individual's spouse and children. All categories of talent are required to have a valid work contract and specialise in priority areas in the UAE.


B. Categories Eligible for a Five-Year Residence Visa Without a Sponsor:

1. Investors in a Real Estate Property in the UAE

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

" The investor must invest in real estate property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million.

" The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis.

" The property must be retained for at least three years from the date of issuance of the residence visa.

" Financial solvency.

2. Entrepreneurs

This category includes those having an existing successful project in a certified field with a minimum capital of AED 500 000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

Entrepreneur from abroad may apply for an interim six-month multi-entry visa, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.


3. Outstanding Students

This includes:

" outstanding students with a minimum grade point average of 95% in public and private secondary schools; and

" university students within and outside the country having a grade point average of at least 3.75 upon graduation in identified scientific disciplines.

The visa extends to students' families as well. Outstanding students from abroad may apply for an interim six-month multi-entry visa.

Gold Card Permanent Residency System For UAE Expats

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has, following the issuance of the aforesaid Cabinet Decision, established a new "Gold Card" permanent residence system for certain investors, entrepreneurs, professional talents and researchers in the fields of science, in order to facilitate business and create an attractive and encouraging investment environment.

Although details of how to apply for a Gold Card visa have not yet been published, we are expecting a formal announcement of the executive regulations of the Decree in the near future. When the exact details are revealed, we will update this publication.


The new visa system in the UAE is intended to generate foreign investment, encourage entrepreneurship, and attract talent in healthcare, engineering, art and technology. It is also a way to welcome all those who seek to be part of the UAE's success story and make the UAE their second home.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions