What is the UAE Golden Visa and How Does It Work?

5 April 2022
UAE Golden Visa and How Does It Work?

Since the United Arab Emirates introduced its Golden Visa, many foreigners have applied to live and work in the UAE. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this scheme, understand that it comes with some strict application criteria which may make acceptance difficult.

Not everyone is eligible but if you are currently thinking about a move to the UAE, the Golden Visa may be one such viable route. Here, we explain what it is and help you navigate the application process.

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 visa. For example, you are not required to invest in real estate in the UAE and may apply under several other categories. Once granted, you may live for the purpose of study or work without a sponsor inside the UAE. Golden Visas are granted for either five- or ten-year periods and are renewed automatically without requiring re-application.

The Golden Visa’s Main Benefits

It is another way for the UAE government to reaffirm their commitment to providing foreign residents with a sense of security. The Golden Visa permits foreign nationals to stay in the country long-term. This is available to a select set of residents who will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Removing the need for local sponsors: Expats may live in UAE for the purpose of study or work without needing local sponsorship. You may also maintain 100% ownership of mainland enterprises
  • Long-term: Golden Visas are granted for either a five-year or ten-year period. Renewal is automatic without needing to apply
  • 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 without needing to apply separately
  • No barriers to work: You may apply for any job and be eligible for all the same benefits as any other visa holder type

Who is Eligible for a UAE Golden Visa?

Before applying for the UAE Golden Visa, it’s first important to understand your eligibility. Foreign nationals are eligible under the following application categories:

Foreign Investors

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

  • A minimum of ten million AED investment. This could be either a business or investment fund
  • A maximum of 40% investment in real estate. The other 60% must be elsewhere
  • Investments financed with loans do not count. To be eligible, you must have complete ownership
  • Investment period is a minimum of three years to be eligible
  • Foreign investors may extend the visa to business partners so long as they have a minimum investment of AED 10 million towards the same business venture


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

  • A minimum capital investment of AED 500,000 for an ongoing project
  • Have received government clearance from a UAE approved business incubator
  • Up to date health insurance for the applicant and their family

Chief Executives

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

  • Minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Five years minimum service within the same company
  • Minimum salary of AED 50,000 with a work contract


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 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 organizations
  • Software and hardware engineering, information technology, computer science, data science, AI, and big data related graduates are all eligible


Those looking to study in 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

What You Need to Apply for a UAE Golden Visa

You will need the following documents before you may apply:
  • Your Passport which must be valid for a minimum of six months
  • If applicable, a copy of your current UAE resident visa cancellation
  • If applicable, your current Emirates ID
  • If you do not currently have a visa, your UAE Tourist visa with eligible entry stamp
  • Clear passport sized photograph – must be in colour against a white background
  • Six months of statements from your personal bank account
  • Your International Bank Account Number (also known as IBAN)
  • Your mobile phone number in the UAE

We Can Help

As the Golden Visa application is so attractive, it is equally stringent for relevant persons. It requires paperwork and a number of formalities with which you may need assistance. We can help with that; contact our team of specialist advisors to help with your application.
Setting up a business here is just the first step. We can also help with legal advice for your business, HR, and tax prep. We can also help connect you with some great businesses in your area.

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