UAE Residency by investment program: An Overview

Economic downturn, political unrest, or just the opportunity to open new doors overseas – whatever the driving reasons, more and more global citizens are choosing residency by investment.

With programmes on offer across the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, Polynesia and more, there has never been more choice for international businesspeople to expand their corporate presence or simply start a new life abroad.

The UAE offers its own programme, the Golden Visa, which allows high-achievers, entrepreneurs and investors to live and work in the Emirates long-term. This article explores the many factors to consider before making your UAE residency by investment application, including:

  • Benefits of a UAE golden visa
  • UAE golden visa requirements
  • How to apply for a UAE golden visa – step by step
  • Timeline of the UAE golden visa
  • Frequently asked questions about UAE golden visa

Benefits of a UAE golden visa

The primary benefit of the UAE golden visa is extended residency rights. Until 2019, most residency visas were only valid for three years before requiring renewal. The Golden Visa, in contrast, allows holders to live and work in the country for up to ten years before they are required to apply for renewal.

Unlike other visa types, the Golden Visa also allows holders to self-sponsor. In other words, you can live, work or study in the UAE for up to ten years without employment. Holders can also spend extended periods outside the UAE without impacting the validity of the visa.

This is on top of the general benefits of relocating to the UAE. Residents here can take advantage of one of the world’s lowest tax rates on both personal and corporate income, as well as a safe and stable home from home. The UAE also offers entrepreneurs enhanced access to the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets, as well as a thriving domestic business landscape.

UAE golden visa requirements

The UAE Golden Visa is open to investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates and humanitarian pioneers, and ‘frontline heroes’, among others. The eligibility requirements differ depending on how you potentially qualify.

In short, investors and entrepreneurs can become eligible by showing proof of deposit of AED 2m in a public fund, investing AED 250,000 in a public project, purchasing real estate worth over AED 2m, or owning ‘an economic project of a technical or future nature based on risk and innovation’ worth at least AED 500,000.

To qualify as an outstanding specialised talent, you must be able to prove exceptional credentials in fields including healthcare, science, the arts, sports or engineering. The Golden Visa is also open to humanitarian workers and outstanding students.

How to apply for a UAE golden visa – step by step

Step 1: Talk to the experts

The first step before starting the process of applying for a UAE Golden Visa is to speak with a local residency by investment expert. The team at Huriya Private will hold a short consultation to understand your requirements and potential eligibility before advising on the most suitable next steps.

Step 2: Register your interest

If you fit into at least one of the categories for eligibility, you can register your interest in the Golden Visa via the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website.

Follow the instructions on the Golden Services portal, providing your details and stating why you believe you may qualify. You will be assigned a Unified Identification Number (UID) while your application is considered.

Step 3: Receive your visa

If your application is successful, you will be contacted by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, who will explain the next steps. At this stage, you are usually required to submit additional identification and other documentation.

Timeline of the UAE golden visa

Depending on your credentials, obtaining a UAE Golden Visa can take up to two months. However, once the ICA are satisfied that you are eligible, the processing time is usually around 48 hours.

Frequently asked questions about the UAE Golden Visa

How do I check if I am eligible for the Golden Visa?

You can find out if you are eligible for the UAE Golden Visa via the online eligibility tool. If you are still unsure, contact Huriya Private for a consultation.

What is a humanitarian pioneer?

You can qualify as a humanitarian pioneer if you have been a member and outstanding employee of an international and regional organisation or a civil association for at least five years. You may also be eligible if you have received an appreciation award from a local, regional or international organisation that focuses on humanitarian work or have funded more than AED 2m in humanitarian projects.

What is a frontline hero?

The UAE Government defines frontline heroes as anyone who ‘…displayed extraordinary effort in crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.’ This includes nurses, medical assistants, lab technicians and pharmacologists, among others.

Do I need to be nominated for a Golden Visa?

No. While being nominated for a Golden Visa may speed up the process, you are free to put yourself forward for consideration.

Who is eligible for an investor visa in UAE?

To qualify as an investor under the Golden Visa scheme, you must submit a letter from an accredited fund proving deposited funds of AED 2m, submit a commercial or industrial license proving company capital of more than AED 2m, or submit a letter from a tax authority proving a government donation of at least AED 250,000.

How much investment is required in UAE for residency?

To qualify for a Golden Visa, you must either donate AED 250,000 to the UAE government or show proof of invested funds of more than AED 2m.

Can foreigners get permanent residency in UAE?

It is not possible to guarantee permanent residency in the UAE. However, Golden Visas and retirement visas may be renewed indefinitely.

If I am not eligible for the Golden Visa, can I obtain UAE residency another way?

Yes. UAE residency can also be obtained through investment in real estate or by opening a business.


The UAE Golden Visa is an excellent option for high-net-worth individuals and special talents wishing to benefit from a lox tax, stable and outward-looking home-from-home in the Middle East. Check your eligibility to start the process, and you could soon open the door to frictionless international trade, a thriving business environment and one of the world’s highest standards of living.

Contact Huriya Private now to learn more about citizenship programmes and how you can start your journey towards securing a valuable second passport.