UAE Residence Visas
UAE Residence Visas can be obtained for both foreign shareholders and foreign management of UAE freezone and onshore companies as well as investors.
The UAE Freezones offer one to six Residence Visas per UAE Freezone Company established.
UAE Residence Visas
The United Arab Emirates provide an extraordinary opportunity to foreign business people and investors to become resident of the UAE.
The following groups are entitled to receive UAE Residence Visas: Shareholders of UAE Freezone Companies, Shareholders of UAE Onshore (Mainland) Companies, and Investors in Real Estate or in established companies or UAE public investments.
Once a UAE Residence Visa has been issued, the holder is entitled to become a UAE Tax Resident. Other than the zero-tax rate on any kind of income in the UAE, there are a lot of other advantages of becoming a peace-of-mind Tax Resident in the United Arab Emirates.
Ways for business people and investors to qualify for a UAE Residence Visa:
- Being the Shareholder of a UAE Onshore (Mainland) Company (or beneficial owner);
- Being the Shareholder of a UAE Freezone Company (or beneficial owner);
- Owners of Freelance Licences in the UAE;
- Investing into Real Estate in the UAE, with a minimum of AED 1.000.000 (approx. USD 272.500 or EUR 250.000), entitling for a two-years UAE Residence Visa, which is renewable without limitation;
- Investing into Real Estate in the UAE, with a minimum of AED 5.000.000 (approx. USD 1.362.500 or EUR 1.250.000), entitling for a five-years UAE Residence Visa, which is renewable without limitation;
- Investing into established UAE companies or UAE investment funds or setting up own company, with a minimum of AED 10.000.000 (approx. USD 2.725.000 or EUR 2.500.000), entitling for a ten-years UAE Residence Visa, which is renewable without limitation.
After obtaining their own UAE Residence Visa, all above mentioned persons are entitled to apply for Residence Visas for their spouse and children as well.
UAE Residence Visa for Shareholders of a UAE Onshore Companies
Foreigners who are registering and setting up a UAE Mainland Company, also referred to as UAE Onshore Company, are entitled to receive UAE Residence Visas for the shareholders and the management of the company. The number of Residence Visas that can be issued for one company is not limited in general but rather determined on the size of the office rented and the scope of operations and its need for staff. The minimum size of an office is 200 sq ft. Residence Visas are typically issued with a validity of three years and can be renewed without limitation. Please refer to our page UAE Onshore Companies.
UAE Residence Visa for Shareholders of a UAE Freezone Companies
Most foreigners prefer to set up a company in one of the United Arab Emirates’ Freezones.
One reason is that most foreigners setting up companies in the UAE do not plan to do any business in the local market but international business. Another reason is the very smooth and professional procedures to obtain business licences and to register a company, which are often handled through the Freezone Authority.
Last but not least, the Freezones provide state-of-the-art business environments, excellent business and communication infrastructure as well as high-quality ancillary services, reducing the initial investment need for new companies and startups.
The UAE Freezones offer one to six Residence Visas per UAE Freezone Company established, not including the Residence Visas for family members of the initial visa holder. The number of UAE Residence Visas per Freezone Company depends on the specific Freezone, the size (square feet) of office facilities rented, including shared office options called “Flexi-Desk”, and sometimes on the nature of business. Residence Visas are typically issued with a validity of three years and can be renewed without limitation. Please refer to our page UAE Onshore Companies.
UAE Residence Visa for Owners of Freelance Licences in the UAE
The UAE is keeping up with global trends and developments. Consequently, Freelancers are now able to apply for Freelance Licences. Most Freezones in Dubai and many other Freezones in the UAE offer Freelance Licences. Each Freezone has a different scope of freelance professions supported, typically ranging from music to writing, acting, computer programming, web design, graphic design, translating, illustrating and similar professions. Applicants may be required to proof their professional qualifications.
Freelance Licences are issued for one year, as it is the case with business licences for Freezone Companies. Freezone Licences can be renewed as long as the conditions for issuance continue.
Once a Freelancer has obtained his or her Freelance Licence, s/he is entitled to apply for his or her UAE Residence Visa, which will be issued for three years.
As with all other UAE Residence Visas, Freelance Licence holders may settle in any of the Emirates and are entitled to bring their family members to the UAE as well.
UAE Residence Visa for UAE Real Estate Investors (min. AED 1.000.000)
Any foreign person who purchases real estate property in the United Arab Emirates for at least AED 1.000.000 (approx. USD 272.500 or EUR 250.000) is entitled to receive a UAE Residence Visa, provided that the real estate property has been paid by the buyer and the buyer is not benefiting from any instalment plans or loans. Qualifying real estate property are residential properties and/or offices in areas where foreigners are allowed to purchase freehold property. The minimum amount to be invested may be the sum of two properties. More than one buyer may jointly purchase a more expensive property. They will still benefit from UAE Residence Visas as long as each buyer’s stake in the joint property is min. AED 1.000.000.
The construction of the property must be completed at the time of purchase and the property be ready to use. Should one wish to buy a property that has not yet been completed, the Residence Visa will be issued after completion of the property.
This category of Residence Visa is issued for two years and can be renewed as long as the property is owned by the Visa holder.
UAE Residence Visas based on real estate property investment do not include the right to work in the UAE, unlike Residence Visas issues based on company registration.
UAE Residence Visa for UAE Real Estate Investors (min. AED 5.000.000)
This category of Residence Visa is similar to the previous one, with the difference that the minimum investment must be min. AED 5.000.000 (approx. USD 1.362.500 or EUR 1.250.000) and the validity of the UAE Residence Visa issued will be five years. The property must be retained for at least three years. Spouse and children can be included in the Residence Visa.
UAE Residence Visa for Investors in established UAE companies or UAE public investments (min. AED 10.000.000)
UAE Residence Visas based on min. investment of AED 10.000.000 (approx. USD 2.725.000 or EUR 2.500.000), invested in one 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;
- Having a total investment of not less than AED 10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60% of the total investment.
Said investments must be retained for at least three years.
The 10-years Residence Visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one adviser.
Holders of this visa are exempted from the general condition for UAE Residence Visa holders to enter the UAE at least every 180 days.
Benefits of UAE Residency
Foreign resident of the UAE will benefit, among others, from the following:
- Entering the country through e-gates at the airports, without waiting in passport control lines (requires additional e-gate card);
- Opening personal bank accounts in the UAE;
- Applying for personal loans from UAE banks, including car loans;
- Applying for UAE driving licence;
- Getting a local mobile phone subscription (contrary to pay-as-you-go);
- Access to government health services and local health insurance;
- Registering children in government schools and private schools;
- Working in the UAE (with the need for an additional working permit);
- Ability to act as a sponsor for the foreign resident’s family;
- Traveling visa-free to some destination;
- Zero taxation on any kind of personal income;
- Full repatriation of the capital and profits;
- No social contribution payable;
- No transmission of financial and fiscal data to any other country;
- The Emirates ID serves as official person identification document within the UAE, no need to carry your passport with UAE visa with you;
- Using the Emirates ID Card for many types of transactions (fuel at certain companies’ fuel stations, insurance services, health services, and many more);
- Foreign residents holding an Emirates ID are not obliged to live in the Emirate that issued the ID but can reside in any Emirate of the UAE.