The Golden Visa UAE is an attractive investment immigration opportunity in Asia, combining an alluring destination with a thriving business environment and high quality of life.
In particular, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are hot spots for finance and business ventures, travel, and culture, attracting a large variety of international professionals and investors.
HNWIs, retirees, and entrepreneurs utilize investment immigration programs to live a lifestyle of freedom and opportunities – beyond any geographical and political borders. Enjoy an abundance of (business) opportunities), a welcoming culture, sunny weather, and beautiful beaches in the United Arab Emirates.
Let Immigration Explorer take you on a full tour of the golden visa in the UAE: from requirements to the application process, tax-free living, and useful tips.
Short History of the UAE
Historically located along the sea-route of the Chinese Silk Road, the UAE are known for their influential trading activities around the world. This caused settlers to take advantage of the region’s location and thriving environment with trade and business flourishing until the present day.
Since 1977, the UAE consists of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah.
The capital city is Abu Dhabi, located central-north of the country. It has around 1.8 million inhabitants and is the largest federation by land size as well as the wealthiest of the emirates.
Likewise an international travel hub and luxury destination, but perhaps even more famous, is Dubai. It is located in the north-east. And with around 3.4 million inhabitants Dubai is by far the largest city in the UAE.
Perks of Working & Living in the UAE
There are a variety of reasons why the United Arab Emirates rank top in terms of business and lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how the UAE stand out compared to other popular investment immigration destinations.
Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the UAE are the ideal gateway to both regions of the world.
Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are major airport turnstiles, connecting business people, expats, and their families as well as travelers to the world.
Economy & Taxes
With many new investment projects, the UAE’s economy is thriving despite the global pandemic. In fact, the GDP of the UAE is expected to exceed 465 billion USD by 2026. In fact, most major brands and companies have offices or branches in the United Arab Emirates.
The attractively low tax scheme makes the United Arab Emirates ideal for optimizing wealth and enjoying the benefits of one of the most modern countries in the world today.
- 0% tax on individual and corporate income, properties, capital gains, and inheritance tax
- Low 5% tax rate on VAT and rental income
- Many goods and services are not taxed, e.g. food and restaurants
Each emirate has its own tax decree with rates up to 55% in the energy sector (oil and gas production).
As there is no income tax in the UAE, the country is ideal for cryptocurrency investments as any personal income (stock dividends, capital gains, interest, staking profits, etc.) is tax-free.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are among the fastest-growing cities in the world and are particularly attractive for business expats, entrepreneurs, and their families.
With a high quality of life and a large variety of opportunities and spare-time activities, the UAE are an attractive place to live and work while offering a comfortable residential lifestyle.
Besides the attractive business environment, cities in the UAE are particularly safe and offer a luxury lifestyle in a trendy global setting with plenty of culinary delights and cultural attractions.
Did you know that the UAE are home to more than 200 nationalities? In fact, around 8.8 million of the approximate 9.9 million population of the UAE are foreign nationals. That’s 89% foreigners living in the UAE.
This may be one of the reasons why English is widely spoken in the UAE, especially in business and cultural settings, while the official language is Arabic.
Throughout the UAE, you will find a friendly and welcoming environment towards people from all corners of the world. It is easy to connect with local expat communities, making the aspects of daily life easy to navigate.
It may be unsurprising that healthcare in the UAE is among the best in the world. Foreign nationals are required to have health insurance, either through private coverage or the national healthcare program, if they are employed in the UAE.
Public and private health institutions can be comparatively pricy and are often equipped with advanced technology and qualified specialists. However, this comes with outstanding quality, making the UAE a prime medical tourism destination.
While the official religion of the UAE is Islam, the Constitution provides freedom of religion, making the UAE one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East.
Religion may play an important role among Emiratis, but foreigners enjoy their right to practice their religion of preference, or not. However, holidays and prayer times may lead to different business hours than you may be used to.
In a Nutshell
The UAE offer rewarding opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. With a large number of expats and common knowledge of English, it is easy for foreigners to navigate through business and bureaucracy. In fact, United Arab Emirates are Immigration Explorer’s favorite global destination for tax optimization.
The UAE’s financial opportunities are perfectly combined with the vibrant Emirates lifestyle and endless places to enjoy in your spare time.
Golden Visa UAE & Additional Visas
Before we look at the programs and the application process in detail, let’s take a look at the main framework aspects.
Golden Visas in the UAE are particularly targeted towards the following groups of people and their families.
- Investors, entrepreneurs, HNWIs, retirees
- Specialized experts, talents, and researchers
- Outstanding students in sought-after fields
Let’s look at these different categories in more detail.
1. Business owners, investors, entrepreneurs
When talking about Golden Visas, investors, entrepreneurs, HNWIs, and retirees typically come to mind. Countries offer investment immigration visas to boost the economy through business setups, job creation, and real estate purchases.
Equally, the UAE offer Golden Visas through residential real estate and public investment routes for 2-10 years. We present these Golden Visa routes in detail in the section below.
2. Specialized experts, talents, and researchers
An example of specialized talents, in July 2021, the UAE launched a Golden Visa program “National Program for Coders” offering 100,000 visas for international software engineers.
3. Outstanding students in sought-after fields
Exceptional high school and university students can get a 5-year residency visa in the UAE, if they are among the top students in their country.
- Sufficient funds for investment
- Proof of health insurance
Duration to Get Your Golden Visa
In total, the Golden Visa UAE takes around 1 – 1.5 months from application to approval, making it one of the shortest Golden Visa processes in the world.
- Consultation: 1-2 days
- Real estate or public investment selection and purchase: 2-4 days
- Document preparation and application submission: 1-2 days
- Approval of application: 1 month
So, which are the UAE Golden Visa options?
Golden Visa UAE
The Golden Visa UAE program grants foreigners residence visas for 2-10 years through a variety of routes. None of the routes require the investor and his/her family to reside in the country.
Launched in 2019 to further boost and encourage business and development in the region, the UAE offer updated options for long-term residency. Taxes and legal fees apply to these programs.
- Golden Visa (2-year visa): ~272,000 USD (1 million AED) real estate investment
- Golden Visa (5-year visa): ~1.4 million USD (5 million AED) real estate investment
- Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs (5-year visa): ~136,000 USD (AED 500,000)
- Golden Visa for Retirees (5-years): ~820,000$ (3,020,000 AED)
- Golden Visa (10-year visa): ~2.7 million USD (10 million AED) public investment
Now, let’s look at the UAE Golden Visa programs in more detail.
1. 2-Year Golden Visa through Real Estate Investment
The least expensive route for investors is to buy residential real estate for a low price of ~272,000 USD (1 million AED) to be granted a 2-year residency permit.
Your house or apartment can be rented out with an estimated return of investment between 6%-8%.
Keep in mind that this investment cannot be made with a loan.
2. 5-Year Golden Visa through Real Estate Investment
Alternatively, investors can obtain a 5-year residency permit with the Golden Visa UAE program by purchasing a residential property with a gross value of at least ~1.4 million USD (5 million AED).
Likewise, the investment real estate can be rented out with an estimated ROI of 6%-8%.
Besides, the property cannot be purchased with a loan.
Both real estate investment residency permits do not come with the right to work. However, you can open a company and pay yourself dividends as a legal work-around.
The Golden Visa through real estate investment can be renewed/extended. Spouses and children can be included in the real estate residency permit.
3. 5-Year Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs
Business people can apply for a 5-year residency visa in the UAE, if they have an existing project in the UAE with a minimum capital of at least ~136,000 USD (AED 500,000) or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.
This visa includes the spouse and children, a partner, and three business executives.
4. 5-Year Golden Visa for Retirees
Since 2018, retirees over the age of 55 are eligible for a 5-year visa that can be renewed. Applicants must fulfill one of the following criteria:
- monthly income of at least ~ 5,400 USD (20,000 AED)
- savings of at least ~272,000 USD (1 million AED)
- residential real estate investment of at least ~545,000 USD (2 million AED)
5. 10-Year Golden Visa through Public Investment
This visa requires a ~2.7 million USD (10 million AED) public investment, which can be done through:
- a deposit into an investment fund inside the UAE
- establishing a company with a capital that meets this minimum
- partnering in a new or existing company in which the shares meet this minimum
Investors can choose one of the above routes. A combination of these is also accepted as long as they are at least 60% of the total investment, not including the real estate sector.
Under this visa, foreign nationals are exempt from the conditions to enter the UAE once every 180 days.
The 10-year residency permit may be extended to the spouse and children under the age of 18, unmarried daughters, as well as one advisor and one executive director.
This visa also allows you to work in the United Arab Emirates.
How to Apply for the Golden Visa
The application process for the Golden Visa UAE is straightforward:
- Select the type of visa you would like to apply for
- Make your real estate or public investment
- Fill out the Golden Visa form on https://smartservices.ica.gov.ae and attach the required documents (title deeds, passport copy, photos, medical insurance, etc.). Applicants receive a text message and email from the authorities to confirm receipt of the application and its progress.
- Pay the service fee of ~180 USD (AED 650) for the 5-year visa, and ~315 USD (AED 1,150) for the 10-year visa
- Approval of application
If you would like more information or help with the Golden Visa UAE application process, the experts at Immigration Explorer are here to help!
To sum it up, the United Arab Emirates are a great destination for investment immigration. Doing business and a residential lifestyle are combined in an attractive key location and global hub.
Enjoy a luxury Golden Visa Program with full family eligibility that requires no physical stay in the country. Strive with your business and investment ventures, while actively managing your wealth with the UAE’s attractive tax scheme.
Start the process of your Golden Visa in the UAE today. Get your FREE consultation!