Long-Term Visa Introduced in the UAE

by Zaara 10, Dec 2018

The UAE has opened its doors for investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and specialists working in science, medicine or research for applying long-term, and shall be granted permission to stay in the country for up to 10 years.

This move comes after UAE Cabinet approved the “comprehensive long-term visa” for investors, entrepreneurs, specialized talent and outstanding students. This decision aims to preserve and encourage the optimal business climate in UAE by attracting professional talents from across the globe. The visa advantage offered by UAE for families along with professionals ensures a cohesive social structure that significantly stimulates the environment for growth and stability.

How Can You Get a UAE Long-Term Visa?

The UAE government wants to embrace the job seekers and professional with high qualifications to stay longer in the country in order to make it competitive as it is determined and makes an effort to reposition itself as a knowledge-based economy away from the reliance on the oil and gas sector.

Until now, visas to live and work in the UAE for foreigners were generally valid for only a few years, and family members had to depend on the main visa holder for residency. The situation now is transforming as the reforms made by the UAE cabinet offer residency permits to people under certain categories. The policy shift is designed to embrace the expatriates, who form a larger proportion of the population, gain a larger stake in the country’s economy and facilitate long-term growth. This landmark decision will encourage businesses as well as highly-qualified personnel to live and work in the UAE for a long time as it creates additional stability in industries and drives growth at unprecedented levels, giving UAE an edge over other GCC countries while attracting and retaining professional talents at all levels.

Here’s what you need to know to apply for a visa in the UAE.

Investor Visa

  1. Foreign investors are eligible to invest in the UAE and are eligible for either a 5-year or a 10-year renewable residency visa, influenced by their size of investment in the country
  2. Buying or owning a property in UAE worth more than Dh5 million or more, an investor will be eligible for a 5-year residency visa
  3. When holding investments in the form of deposits in a business partnership or established company or various other investments greater than Dh10 million, inclusive of properties which must be worth no more than 40 percent of the total investment, one is qualified for the renewable residency visa every 10 years
  4. This investor visa encompasses visa cover for the investor’s spouse and children. Furthermore, it includes long-term visa to one executive director and one advisor
  5. Investors shall be granted 6-months multiple entry period for the purpose of availing a long-term residency visa
  6. The investment made in the UAE must be fully owned and wholly financed by the investor oneself, and not borrowed or loaned under the rules specified. Ownership of the investment or property must be retained for at least 3 years, with a standard financial liability and solvency not exceeding Dh10 million

Entrepreneur Visa

  1. Entrepreneurs with previous project experience worth equal or more than Dh500,000, or those with the support and backing of an accredited business incubator in UAE are qualified to apply for an entrepreneur long-term visa
  2. The extensive edge with entrepreneur visa is that it grants the residency permit to business partners, three executive directors, spouse and children under the scheme
  3. This visa is valid for a term of 5 years, with the option to be renewed for another 5 years

Specialized Talents


  1. Certain executives are eligible for a long-term visa, as they are recognized for the expertise and skills. These include the owners of leading, popular and internationally recognized organizations
  2. Member of a professional society with high academic standing, experience, and position such as engineers, technologists, and business professionals working in a rare specialty at a private entity in UAE are eligible to apply for a long-term residency visa

Scientists, Doctors and Researchers

  1. This legislation covers the researchers working in the disciplines of science and knowledge as well as medical doctors, specialists, inventors, and creative individuals in the field of arts and culture
  2. The spouse and children are also eligible for a long-term residency visa for a period of up to 10 years under this visa for researchers, scientists, and doctors
  3. To qualify, they must possess a valid employment contract in the specialized field which is considered as a priority for UAE
  4. For scientists, they must be accredited by the Emirates Scientists Council and the holders of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence are also eligible for the 10-year visa
  5. Creatives working in the field of performing arts and culture are also eligible for long-term residency visa if they are accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development Inventors
  6. The criteria for doctoral candidates include:
  • A holder of a Ph.D. degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world
  • A holder of an award or certificates of appreciation for the work in the applicant's jurisdiction
  • Contribution to a major scientific research related to the work of the applicant
  • Published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the field of work of the applicant
  • Membership in an organization related to the work of the applicant, which requires excellent work to accept membership
  • A Ph.D. degree in addition to 10-year professional experience in the applicant’s field of work
  • Specialization in areas of priority to the UAE (additional requirement for a doctor)

Outstanding Students

  1. The eligibility criterion for students with exemplary academic credentials is a grade of at least 95 percent in high school and grade point average of at least 3.75 on graduation from universities in the UAE or abroad. Such students can apply for a long-term visa in the UAE. This visa will qualify a 5-year visa for them and their families.

In addition to granting long-term visa for individuals under special class, the UAE Cabinet, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has approved also approved a new legislation which facilitates visa for visitors, residents, families, and students. This legislative package includes the review of the existing residency system to authorize a 2-year extended residency period for students who are dependent on their parents after the culmination of their studies.

The new decision was also made on the issue of transit visas for travelers in UAE airports. The latest decisions have been proposed to exempt all transit passengers from any entry fees for the first 48 hours and can be extended prior to expiry for up to 96 hours for a Dh50 in the express counters at the passport-control hall in UAE airports.

Decisions have been made in UAE Cabinet to allow people who are overstaying their visa a chance to leave the country voluntarily without encumbering them with a “no- entry stamp”. Job seekers’ visa, which would grant a 6-month permit to job seekers who have overstayed their visa but have strong inclination to work in the UA, is expected to be introduced down the line.

Visa extension for visitors without leaving the country will aid job-seekers by providing valuable time in discovering a new job with right remuneration and spare them from excessive travel expenses. This temporary visa is destined to revitalize the UAE economy and enhance the UAE’s global image as a destination for professionals and talented job-seekers.

Making drastic improvements in visa rules and engagement relieves pressure on the visa applicant and holder, thereby invigorating people’s confidence in working and living as a legal resident in the UAE. With an aim to simplify and streamline the visa process, the government and the cabinet of UAE have taken excellent thoughtful actions backed by strategic planning, excellent foresight, and determination to make UAE a “Land of Opportunity”. A multi-pronged approach in granting visas by the government is truly remarkable and appreciated as it is tailor-made for each and every person regardless of their status in the UAE.

To know more about the new visa regulations in the UAE, contact us. We’d be happy to help.


What are the uses of getting an investor visa in the UAE?

Holders of investor visas enjoy a tax-free environment. Locals and visa-holding immigrants are exempt from paying taxes.

When did the golden visa system begin in the UAE?

 The UAE golden visa residency program, which began in 2019, allowed ex-pats to live, work, and study in the UAE without the requirement for a national sponsor and with full ownership of their firm on the UAE's mainland.

Will the long-term visa in UAE will be renewed automatically?


Who is qualified for a 10-year long-term residency visa in the UAE?

The 10-year residency visa is granted to exceptional talents, investors, outstanding students and graduates, entrepreneurs, humanitarian pioneers, scientists, professionals

What is the required investment for the 5-year golden visa?

The investment amount required for the 5-year golden visa in UAE is AED 5 million.

Where can foreigners apply for permanent residency for five years?

Foreigners who want to start a business in the UAE can apply for a Golden Business Visa Scheme, granting them permanent residency for five years.