Understanding The UAE Golden Visa: Benefits And Eligibility Requirements

20 March 2023

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially Dubai, has transformed itself into a global entrepreneurial hub in recent years, attracting investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. The UAE Golden Visa is one of the new initiatives introduced in the region to attract foreign investors, stimulate the economy, and promote economic growth. The Golden Visa offers long-term residency and a pathway to citizenship for eligible investors and business professionals. This visa offers a range of benefits for those who wish to pursue company formation in Dubai (and in the rest of the UAE), which we will explore in the article below (in addition to the eligibility requirements.

The Main Benefits Of The UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa is a highly coveted visa on account of the region’s surge in popularity amongst business professionals and those who wish to establish permanent residence in the region. It offers several distinct benefits to eligible applicants, including:

  • Long-term residency. Golden Visa holders can live in the UAE for 5 or 10 years. The applicable time frame will differ depending on the applicant’s activities in the region. Renewal is a possibility pursuant to visa renewal criteria being met.
  • Pathway to citizenship. For individuals who want to live in the region permanently, the visa offers the opportunity to apply for and obtain citizenship (thus allowing them to extend their stay in the region indefinitely).
  • Sponsor family members. Visa holders can sponsor spouses and other immediate family members, including parents and children. A relatively new law also allows for domestic staff to be sponsored.
  • Better access to amenities. Citizens and long-term residents have unrestricted access to various services and facilities in cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including transportation, education, and healthcare.
  • Ability to conduct business. Golden Visa holders may conduct business in the UAE, which will allow them to tap into the local market and benefit from a highly favourable business environment.

Eligibility Requirements For The UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa has strict eligibility requirements, which first-time applicants may not be aware of. These requirements vary depending on the category being applied for, such as entrepreneur, investor, or specialised talent.

Public investors / investment funds.

A Golden Visa may be granted for a period of 10 years without a sponsor. Additionally, the invested capital must be owned completely (cannot be a loan) and proof of medical insurance for the applicant and household members needs to be provided. Application success is subject to the following:

  • Submission letter from UAE-accredited investment fund stating applicant has deposited a minimum amount of AED 2 million (to be held for at least 3 years); or
  • Submission of a valid commercial or industrial licence and a memorandum of association stating that the investor’s capital reaches or exceeds AED 2 million; or
  • Submission letter from a Federal Tax Authority that the applicant pays an annual tax amount of no less than AED 250,000 to the UAE government.

Real estate investors.

UAE real estate or property owners may be granted a (renewable) visa of 10 years if the following criteria are met:

  • A letter from the land department of the respective emirate is required to confirm that the individual owns one or more properties with a value of at least AED 2 million.
  • Property must be purchased with a loan from applicable local banks, approved by the relevant local entity.


Entrepreneurs with a technical or future-focused onshore company may be granted a 5-year visa based on the risk assessment and innovation of their business. Approval letters from the following entities are also required:

  • A UAE auditor, stating that a project is valued at no less than AED 1,000,000.
  • The authorities in the relevant emirate, declaring the project as being of a “technical” or “future” nature.
  • An accredited UAE-based business incubator with the authority and capability to establish the proposed project in the region.
  • Alternatively, the company must be able to prove that it has successfully sold a startup for a value of at least AED 7 million.

Outstanding specialised talent - Executive Directors

Company registration is not the only route to obtain a Golden Visa in the UAE. Talented individuals from specialised fields (including doctors, scientists, top-performing athletes, and Executive Directors) may also apply, provided they submit notarised copies of the documents listed below.

  • A UAE Ministry of Education-accredited university degree (minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree).
  • A letter of experience proving 5 years of holding the same position.
  • A salary certificate proving an annual income or salary of at least AED 30,000.
  • A valid labour contract.
  • A letter of recommendation from a specialist or authoritative body within the field.

How To Apply for the UAE Golden visa

If the UAE Golden Visa sounds like the perfect opportunity for you to expand your business interests, the next step would be to apply for it. Follow the steps below to apply:

  1. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above. It is also recommended that you consult with a legal representative or your local UAE consulate to determine if you qualify.
  2. Go to the UAE Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP) website and follow the listed steps to apply for the visa.
  3. Make sure you have certified copies of your passport, a recent passport-sized photograph, and proof of meeting the eligibility requirements. Make sure you also have certified copies of all other relevant documents if these documents are requested during the submission process.
  4. As part of the application process, you may be required to attend an interview at your nearest UAE embassy or consulate. This interview may also include a medical examination to assess your health and ensure that you meet the requirements to enter the country.
  5. Your UAE Golden Visa will be issued once you have been preliminarily approved and all your documentation is in order.
  6. If your application was rejected, do not be discouraged. There are other routes to obtain residency or permanent citizenship in the UAE. SFM can assist you by helping you register a business in the region, which may improve your chances of being accepted the next time you apply.

A Valuable Opportunity For Investors And Entrepreneurs

The UAE Golden Visa presents a valuable opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to establish a permanent foothold in the United Arab Emirates and take advantage of everything the region has to offer.

The eligibility criteria above may seem complicated at first glance, but they can be navigated more easily with the assistance of a company like SFM. We can assist with paperwork and other bureaucratic formalities, allowing you to focus on your core business activities.

Contact us for more information.

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