Understanding The UAE Golden Visa: Benefits And Eligibility Requirements

22 April 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 provides 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).

What is the UAE Golden Visa?

It began in 2019 as a new way for exceptional individuals to live and work in the UAE. Designed to enable long-term residency for foreign nationals, there are several differences between this and other types of visas. For example, through real estate investment, banking investment, or executive professionals. Once granted, you may live for the purpose of study or work without a sponsor inside the UAE or proceed with your company registration if you wish to start your own business. Golden Visas are granted for ten-year periods and are renewed subject to immigration department approval.

The Main Benefits Of The UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa services 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 10 years. The applicable time frame will differ depending on the applicant’s activities in the region.
  • Pathway to citizenship. For individuals who want to invest in real estate or business, carry out a business activity or would like to live in the region permanently.
  • 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.
  • Removing the need for local sponsors allows flexibility for those living in the UAE. You may also maintain 100% ownership of mainland and freezone companies
  • Easy entry and exit. You may come and go from the UAE as you please. Therefore, travel in and out of the country is quick and easy.
  • Automatic family visas. Your family (spouse, children, parents) would acquire automatic residency status.
  • No barriers to work. You may apply for any job and be eligible for all the same benefits as any other visa holder type.
  • 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 establish their companies and conduct business in the UAE, which will allow them to tap into the local market and benefit from a highly favourable business environment.
  • No personal income tax in the UAE. From personal income to inheritance, gifts, capital gains, and properties, the taxation system in the UAE for individuals is particularly advantageous, offering multiple tax exemptions.

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, executive professional 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 a UAE-accredited investment fund stating the 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.

Foreign investors

Foreign investors are eligible for a Golden Visa for a ten-year period so long as they meet these criteria:

  • Submission of a letter from a UAE bank stating that the investor has a fixed deposit of AED 2 Million to be held for at least 2 years
  • Submission of a valid commercial license or industrial license and a memorandum of the association stating that the investor’s fixed capital is not less than AED 2 Million

Real estate investors.

UAE real estate or property owners may be granted a Golden Visa for a ten-year period if the following criteria are met:

  • Title deed confirming that the property(ies) worth a minimum of AED 2 Million
  • NOC from the bank or loan agreement from the specific approved banks (if applicable)

Owning property(ies) in Dubai valued at 2 million or more involves no down payment obligation and this applies to all properties whether it is off-plan, completed, mortgaged, or not mortgaged.


Entrepreneurs with a technical or future-focused onshore company may be granted a 10 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.
  • A minimum capital investment of AED 500,000 for an ongoing project
  • Have received government clearance from a UAE-approved business incubator
  • 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

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 salary certificate proving a monthly salary of at least AED 30,000 including the last 6 months bank statements
  • A valid labour contract.
  • A letter of recommendation from a specialist or authoritative body within the field.


Doctors are eligible for a Golden Visa for a ten-year period so long as they meet these criteria:

  • Doctoral degree must have been conferred from a college or university ranked in the top 500 globally
  • Minimum ten years of experience in the medical specialism in which you currently work
  • An honorific in the chosen field
  • Noteworthy contribution towards medical scientific research
  • Published academic work – either in academic books or journals considered of high prestige
  • Membership to a professional body
  • Specialisation in areas identified as among UAE’s key sectors


Research Scientists are eligible for a Golden Visa for a ten-year period so long as they meet these criteria:

  • Demonstrable significant contribution to their field
  • A certificate or award praising the individual relevant to their expertise area

Coders and other professionals

Highly skilled professionals with high educational qualifications and extensive experience may also apply for the UAE Golden Visa. Qualifying categories span many disciplines, including science, engineering, medicine, business and administration, law, education, information technology, social sciences, culture, and more. For example, coders are eligible for a ten-year Golden Visa so long as they meet these criteria:

  • Exceptional skills who have demonstrably excelled in a range of coding areas
  • Employed in cutting-edge and world-leading technology organisations
  • Software and hardware engineering, information technology, computer science, data science, AI, and big data-related graduates are all eligible


Outstanding students and graduates in the UAE school system or from the 500 best universities worldwide are eligible to apply. Those looking to study in the UAE must fit the following criteria:

  • A student at a top 500 university
  • High school students are eligible so long as they have a minimum 95% GPA. University students must have a GPA of 3.8 or above

Humanitarian Pioneers

Distinguished members of regional or international organisations and members of associations of public benefit may apply if they meet the requirements to be considered humanitarian pioneers:

  • Distinguished members of public benefit organisations or charitable organisations
  • Recipients of awards in charitable and humanitarian sectors
  • Recognised volunteers who provide humanitarian help

Frontline Heroes

Frontline workers and healthcare staff helping in extraordinary circumstances such as health crises are eligible for application, provided:

  • Their contribution is making a significant difference

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. If you are unsure how you might fit into the qualifying categories, you can consult with our specialists at SFM. Once you know for certain, the process is relatively straightforward.

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 perks are sizeable, as the United Arab Emirates wants to encourage talented individuals to invest their knowledge and efforts in the country’s economy by granting them significant benefits.

Lasting residency (up to 10 years, automatically renewable) means UAE Golden Visa holders do not need to spend time or money to renew their residency permits every 2 years, as is often the case with other visas. Without this uncertainty, investors and entrepreneurs can dedicate themselves to their long-term goals, knowing that their stability is guaranteed.

Another advantage is that they don’t have to embark on their venture alone for the sake of enjoying a more beneficial taxation system and entrepreneurial freedom. The Golden Visa allows holders to get residence visas for their immediate families as a matter of course, without having to wait for months.

Applicants are not required to have an Emirati partner or a local company willing to sponsor them. They enjoy complete autonomy in running their businesses as the sole owners of their companies’ assets, allowing them to follow the strategy they wish to explore even if it is new, untried, or lacks the backing of a larger organisation.

For people who wish to change occupations, the UAE Golden Visa offers a level of flexibility that conventional visa systems don’t allow for. Since Golden Visa holders are not bound by a specific employer, they are free to explore other professions or pursue business opportunities in the country and change course as they wish.

Should they choose to own a business, they will experience no limitations as far as full ownership is concerned. And thanks to the competitiveness of the local tax regime, small businesses also enjoy exceptional autonomy.

Finally, the United Arab Emirates boasts a tactically superior situation. At the junction between Europe, Africa, and Asia, the UAE constitutes a thriving business hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure, market-friendly policies, a business-oriented mindset, and a politically stable environment that wishes to encourage entrepreneurship.

While the application process can seem intimidating, our knowledgeable consultants are here to guide you through your company formation in Dubai! In just a few days, you can be at the helm of your very own UAE-based business, ready to run your company as you see fit.

We Can Help

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. Through our UAE Golden Visa services, we can assist with paperwork and other bureaucratic formalities, allowing you to focus on your core business activities.

As attractive as the UAE Golden Visa is, the process to apply for it is equally stringent. Our dedicated experts are here to ensure you go about it the right way. From setting up your legal entity to opening a bank account for your business, managing your accounting and tax responsibilities, or generally running your company, we provide support at every step.

Contact us for more information.

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