Types of Visas to the UAE

Besides transit visas, the United Arab Emirates issues two main types of visas: guest and resident visas. Guest visas allow staying in the country for a short period (60, 90, 120 or 180 days) and resident visas serve as residence permits allowing the holder to stay in the UAE for a long time (from one year). Each visa type has subtypes and you have to decide what visa to apply for depending on your goals and your budget.

Visas for job seekers

This is a single-entry visa. If you would like to find a job in the Emirates but you have not done so yet, you can apply for a 60-, 90-, or 120-day job seeker’s visa. You can qualify for one if you are a graduate of one of the top 500 universities of the world (as defined by the UAE Ministry of Education) or if you have unique skills that are of interest to the country. You should hold at least a bachelor’s degree. No sponsor is required to obtain a job seeker’s visa but it cannot be extended.

Visas for exploring investment opportunities

Such a visa can be valid for 60, 90, or 120 days. If you are planning to launch a business venture in the UAE or put some money into real property in the country, you can qualify for a visa of this type. You don’t have to have a sponsor to apply for a visa but you have to prove your solvency to qualify.

Tourist visas

There are two types of tourist visas in the UAE: a short-term visa and a 5-year tourist visa. Short-term visas (30 to 60 days) can be single- or multiple-entry and their main disadvantage is that a sponsor is required: the air carrier, the tourist agency, or the hotel has to apply for a visa on your behalf. The advantage is that the qualification requirements are minimal.

A 5-year tourist visa does not require a sponsor and it allows staying in the Emirates for up to 90 days in a row on the condition that the stay does not exceed 180 days within a calendar year. You have to have a place to stay in the country (a hotel room booked, for example) to qualify for a visa of this type. Besides, you have to have at least US$ 4,000 in your bank account. This is the main disadvantage of a long-term tourist visa. Wealthy individuals wishing to travel to the Emirates often will certainly disregard this disadvantage.

Work visas

The UAE issues four types of work visas: standard, home personnel, green, and golden. A standard work visa is issued to the foreigner who has a job contract with a local employer (in the state or private sector). The visa is valid for 1 year and the employer has to apply for it on the employee’s behalf. Home personnel visas are issued to foreigners in 19 professions that include nanny, maid, housekeeper, cook, tutor, personal assistant, and others.

A green work visa is valid for five years and it is issued to highly qualified foreign specialists. The essential requirements are a university diploma and a job contract with an employer in the Emirates with a salary of not less than US$ 4,085 per month.  

Freelancers can also qualify for this type of work visa. However, they have to acquire a license first. To get the license, a freelancer has to provide a university diploma or an equivalent certificate and demonstrate an income of not less than US$ 98,023 over the last 24 months. Alternatively, he or she can demonstrate financial independence (provide a bank statement).  

A work visa has several advantages: a large group of foreigners can qualify for it, the visa can lead to acquiring legal residence in the UAE, and it can be extended. However, an applicant has to prove his/ her qualifications.

Golden visas to the UAE

The following categories of foreigners can qualify for golden visas to the United Arab Emirates:

  • Investors.
    Make a bank deposit in the UAE of at least US$ 544,566 or prove investing at least as much in a business venture in the country to qualify for a golden visa. Alternatively, you can be the owner of a company that pays at least US$ 68,070 in taxes per year in the Emirates.
  • Property owners.
    Purchase property in the UAE that is worth at least US$ 544,566 to qualify for a golden visa. You can purchase one or several pieces of property. Mortgages are available on the condition that you invest at least as much of your own money.
  • Outstanding students.
    Golden visas can be issued to students of public and private schools who have demonstrated excellent academic performance (95 % or more). A Letter of Recommendation from the Ministry of Education is also required.
  • Highly qualified specialists and talented individuals.
    Medical doctors, scientists, artists, business executives, and some other categories of foreigners can qualify for golden visas to the UAE. The requirements differ depending on the profession. As a rule, a Letter of Recommendation from the relevant Ministry (or another agency) is required.
  • Startup owners.
    If a foreigner launches a startup in the UAE with the value of at least US$ 136,141 and with support from a recognized business incubator, he or she can also qualify for a golden visa.

Golden visas are valid for 5 to 10 years and they can be thought of as residence permits because they can be extended. No sponsor is required and visas for family members can be obtained. The obvious disadvantage is the fact that a high amount of investment or outstanding academic achievements are required if you are to qualify for a golden visa to the UAE.

Visas for retirees

A foreigner above 55 years of age with at least 15 years of work experience can qualify for a pensioner visa to the UAE. He or she has to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Own property in the UAE that is worth at least US$ 272,283;
  • Have as much money in the bank;
  • Have a monthly income of at least US$ 5,446 (US$ 4,084 in the emirate of Dubai).

The visa is valid for 5 years and it can be extended if the foreign retiree continues to meet the requirements.

Visas for family members

If you are a resident visa holder in the UAE, you can act as a sponsor for your family members and obtain visas for them. To be able to bring your spouse and children over, you have to demonstrate an income of at least US$ 1,089 per month and US$ 817 per month if you have a place to live in the Emirates. If you want to bring your parents over, you have to prove that they are financially dependent on you and demonstrate a monthly income of at least US$ 5,446.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *