Glad tidings! World-renowned for expat-friendliness, the United Arab Emirates is to ease the visa rules for resident expats from the month of September this year while implementing new visa types for foreigners. Now you have more options and reasons to visit or migrate to your favourite emirate! Let’s quickly have a look at those remarkable changes in the UAE visa system that UAE lovers the world over have been wishing for for a long time.
A quick recap
A few months ago, on 18th April 2022, the Executive Regulations to Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners (the “Regulations”) received approval from the UAE Cabinet. The Regulations present a host of new, flexible visas to the UAE and residency permits which include perks for individuals and their families, facilitating and simplifying the requirements of all residence types.
The highlights of the new “Regulations”
The UAE recently has brought into existence about ten different types of new entry visas, and residence permits, and has extended the categories of Golden Visa, effective from September 2022. According to the recent amendment in the visa system, foreigners have now a wide range of choices in the Entry Visa category and residents and their family members can enjoy more flexibility in terms of their grace period after visa expiration or cancellation. New 5-year residence tracks have been introduced to lure talents, skilled professionals, freelancers. Ahead, we are going to rattle through the major changes done in the UAE visa system.
1. Sponsorship of UAE residents’ offspring
- The sponsorship age limit for sons of parents residing in the UAE has been extended from 18 years to 25 years.
- There is no limit on the sponsorship of unmarried daughters
- Differently-abled children are eligible for a special permit regardless of their age
2. Green Residence Visa
- Skilled employees are offered a 5-year residency without the need of a sponsor or employer, provided the applicant has a valid employment contract and is classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- The applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and receive a salary of at least AED15,000
- Green Visa holders are allowed to sponsor first-degree relatives as well
- Children of determination are awarded a residence permit regardless of age.
Freelancing & Self-Employment
- This track of Green Visa offers a 5-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals without requiring a sponsor or employer in the UAE, provided they acquire a freelance/ self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE)
- The applicant should be in possession of a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma
- The annual income from self-employment for the last two years should be at least AED360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout their stay in the country.
Investor or Partner
- This Green Visa track offers a 5-year residency (previously 2 years) for investors venturing or partaking in commercial activities
- Approval of the investment and proof of investment are required from the applicant
- The total invested capital will be calculated in case the investor (partner) has more than one licence.
- Approval of the competent local authorities is also obligatory
- Green Residence holders are entitled to receive residence permits for their first-degree relatives, and in all cases, the validity of sponsored members’ residency shall not be different from that of the sponsor (original residence holder)
3. New Entry Visas
Under the new visa system, UAE visitors have a plethora of visa types to choose from, depending on the purpose of their travel. And for the first time, they don’t require a host or sponsor. The new Entry visas provide loose visa durations to meet the individual needs of the visitors and the purpose of their visit and are obtainable for single or multiple entry options and are renewable for a similar period(s). Additionally, every Entry visa comes with a validity of 60 days from the date of issuance. Let’s look at the different types of Entry visas and their features below:
Job Exploration Entry Visa
- Designed for young talents and skilled professionals who are willing to travel to the UAE in search of jobs
- Applicants don’t need a host or sponsor to obtain the visa
- Dispensed to those categorised in the first or second or third skill level as per the MoHRE
- Fresh graduates of the world’s best 500 universities are eligible for this visa type as well
- Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is the minimum educational level required to attain the visa
Business Entry Visa
- Structured for investors and entrepreneurs so that they can explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE
- Allows the holder easy entry without requiring a sponsor or host
- This visa type does not require a sponsor or host
- The visa holder is allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days in a row,
- Extendable for a similar period, provided that the entire period of stay does not overextend 180 days in one year requiring proof of bank balance of US$4,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currencies) during the last six months prior to submitting the application
- There exists a five-year multi-entry tourist visa in addition to the regular one that is sponsored by tourism establishments in the UAE
Visit Relatives or Friends
- A visitor can apply for this entry permit if they are a relative or friend of a UAE citizen or resident
- The applicant of this visa type does not require a sponsor or a host
Temporary Work Mission
- Suitable for individuals with a temporary work assignment like probation testing or project-based mission
- Sponsored by the employer of the applicant
- Submission of a temporary work contract (or a letter from the employer clarifying the visit purpose) and proof of medical fitness to work is mandatory to obtain this visa type
Study & Training
- Introduced for those who are visiting the UAE to attend training and study courses and/or participate in internship programs
- The visa type must be sponsored by either a UAE-licenced university or academic institution or research organsation (UAE licenced) or government or private entities
- A letter from the entity, clarifying the details of the study or training or internship programme and its duration, must be presented to acquire the visa
4. Golden Visa
- Golden Visa is issued to scientists, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, humanitarian pioneers, frontline heroes, star students/graduates and investors on purchasing property worth AED 2 million or more
- UAE residents holding a 10-year Golden Visa can sponsor their family members with no age constraints
- The Golden Visa holder and their families can stay outside the UAE without the fear of losing their residency now
- In the event of the death of the Golden Visa sponsor, family members are allowed to stay in the UAE till the end of their residency permit
- The family members can also sponsor domestic workers without any limits
- Skilled professionals withdrawing monthly salaries of AED 30,000 ($8,100) or more will now find it easier to achieve a Golden Visa.
5. Residence Permit Issued on Humanitarian Grounds
- Granted to a female UAE resident whose husband passed away, and she has a child or more
- Applicable to the parents of children of UAE citizens bearing foreign passports