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UAE visa changes

UAE visa changes in 2022

The UAE is set to become a more accessible location following a massive overhaul of the visa system.

Expats will see the new visa rules as a significant improvement over the current system. The aim was to make it easier for people to live and work in the UAE.

According to the UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, the new visa changes came into effect on October 3rd 2022.

Here, we look at the UAE visa changes in 2022 and what they mean for those looking to move to the region.

Why does the UAE want to attract expats?

During the coronavirus pandemic and due to the restrictions, many foreign nationals in the UAE lost their jobs or found themselves isolated, far away from their home countries. As a result, when restrictions got lifted, many expats found the opportunity to move out of the UAE and back to their home countries.
The UAE government wants to attract highly skilled individuals to live and work in the Emirates, thus building new teams of people who will bring new knowledge and ideas to the Gulf country. The plan seems to be working as, according to a National News media report, Dubai’s population of high-net-worth individuals increased by 18% in the first half of 2022.
The Emirate of Dubai has published its Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan which forecasts that Dubai’s population will grow to 5.8 million people from the current 3.5 million in just 18 years.
Presenting the Dubai 2040 Master Plan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that “The new Master Plan also seeks to provide sustainable and flexible means of mobility as well a foster greater economic activity and attract foreign investments to new sectors. Other objectives include enhancing environmental sustainability, safeguarding the emirate’s cultural and urban heritage and developing comprehensive legislation and planning governance model.”

What has happened?

The UAE Cabinet approved regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners.

Major expansions and changes to the current system will make to make the UAE a more attractive place to live, work and invest.

Speaking about the changes, the UAE government said: “(the new system) aims at attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers.”

Under the new scheme, there are 10 types of entry visas. However, visas fall under three broad categories under the new system:

  • A Golden Residence Visa, lasting 10 years
  • A Green Visa, granting a 5-year residency
  • 60-day visit visas

UAE golden visa changes for 2022

The Golden Residence Scheme has seen arguably the most substantial changes.

A Golden Residence Visa grants a 10-year residency in the UAE to the following:

  • Investors
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Scientists
  • Outstanding graduates and students
  • Exceptional talents
  • Frontline heroes
  • Humanitarian pioneers

Under the new rules, there will be no maximum duration restrictions. So, even if you stay outside of the UAE, the Golden Residence will remain valid.

So, what else has changed? There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s look at each group.

Golden Residence – skilled professionals

One of the biggest changes to the golden visa looks to attract more skilled professionals.

To qualify, applicants must hold a valid employment contract in the UAE. The job needs to be classified in either the first or second occupational level, defined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

The minimum educational level is still the same, requiring a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. However, the minimum monthly salary requirement has dropped from Dh50,000 to Dh30,000.

Golden Residence – exceptional talents

Golden Residence is awarded to talented individuals who excel in their field.

For this category, residency is awarded based on talent alone. Your educational level, employment status and salary do not play a part.

Recommendation or approval from a government entity is required. Some of the fields considered include but are not limited to:

  • Culture
  • Art
  • Digital technology
  • Innovation
  • Sports

Golden Residence – real estate investors

Golden Residence can be obtained through a real estate investment in the UAE. The property must be worth a minimum of Dh2 million.

With the changes, investors can now purchase a property with a loan. You should note that the loan must come from a specific bank.

Another key change expands on the buying options. Off-plan properties from an approved local real estate company are now included. Again, the value must be no less than Dh2 million.

Those who own, or are a partner, in a start-up can also obtain Golden Residence status. Here are the requirements:

  • The start-up must be registered in the country
  • It falls under the category of small and medium enterprises SME
  • It generates annual revenues of Dh1 million or more

Golden Residence – scientists

Those who work in the sciences and excel in their field are also eligible.

Here are the requirements:

  • A recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council
    • A PhD or master’s degree from a leading university in the following fields:
      • Life sciences
      • Natural sciences
      • Technology
      • Engineering

UAE green visa changes for 2022

The green visa provides a 5-year residency in the UAE without the need for a sponsor or employer.

The holder can also bring their family members with them for five years. Under the current system, the original residence holder could only sponsor family members for two years on average.

Green visas are available to skilled workers, freelancers and self-employed individuals. Those looking to make an investment in the UAE can also acquire one.

The requirements are:

  • A minimum educational level of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a specified field
  • A salary of no less than Dh15,000

As the UAE looks to drive foreign investment into the region, the green visa has been updated for investors.

If requirements are met, a five-year residency is granted. Under the current system, it is two years. 

They include the following:

  • Proof of investment
  • Approval of the investment


UAE visit visa changes for 2022

According to the UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, the new visa changes came into effect on October 3rd 2022. To provide more flexibility, new types of visas will also roll out.

Until now, people who went to the UAE as a visitor were able to stay for a period of 30 days. Under the new system, this has increased to 60 days. The new model intends to offer more options for visitors.

Job exploration visa

A job exploration visa will also be available. This visa aims to attract talented young people and skilled employees. They will have the chance to come to the UAE and explore the job market.

This visa does not require a sponsor or host, making it appealing to those looking for job opportunities in the region.

The exploration visa is also on offer for those looking to explore investment opportunities in the UAE. Again, this is one of the visa types that does not require a sponsor or host.

Multi-entry tourist visa

A regular tourist visa already exists under the current system. From October 2022, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa will also be available.

A requirement for this visa is having a bank balance of $4,000 during the previous six months before you submit your visa application. You should note that the balance does not need to be in dollars. The equivalent in foreign currency is sufficient.

Like the visas mentioned above, this does not require a sponsor. Once granted, you can remain in the UAE for 90 consecutive days. It is possible to extend your stay, provided you do not exceed 180 days in a year.

Family sponsorship

Family members who hold a visa will benefit more under the new system.

As a parent, you can sponsor a male child until they are 25. Previously, this was only up until 18 years of age. Also, regardless of age, children with a disability now receive a residence permit.

Parents are also able to sponsor unmarried daughters at any age indefinitely.

How can we help?

The changes represent one of the largest overhauls to the UAE visa system in recent years. The UAE became a more accessible location for many people. 

Whether you are looking to make UAE your home for a short period or leaning more toward long-term residency, taking care of your finances is essential.

As expats ourselves, we know the challenges you face when moving to a new country. 

For more than 20 years, we have worked with expats in the UAE to ensure their money is in the right place at the right time. 

From investments and portfolio management to expert retirement planning advice, our services are intended to help clients reach their financial goals and milestones.

There are a lot of players in the financial services industry. However, the client experience we provide is what makes us unique and one of the most trusted names in the market.

Our commitment to the highest levels of customer service at all times has even won us multiple industry awards.

To find out what makes us stand out from the crowd, contact us using the form below.

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