Ultimate Guide to Golden Visa UAE: How to Apply, Key Benefits & Essential Criteria

Published: 19 May 2024

What is the Golden Visa UAE, and how can you secure long-term residency through it? Tailored for investors, entrepreneurs, skilled professionals, and students, the UAE Golden Visa is a pathway to the Emirates’ luxurious lifestyle and booming business opportunities. By outlining the key benefits, eligibility criteria, and application steps, this article serves as your guide to unlocking the potential for you and your family in the UAE’s vibrant economy and diverse culture.

Key Takeaways

  • The UAE Golden Visa offers long-term residency to investors, entrepreneurs, skilled workers, students, and retirees, allowing them to live, work, and invest in the UAE with the added advantage of including family members under the same residency permits.
  • Eligibility for the UAE Golden Visa varies, targeting talents across diverse fields like professionals, scientists, artists, and exceptional students, with conditions that often include recommendations or approvals from relevant authorities.
  • The application for the UAE Golden Visa can be processed online with varying fees, and the visa is renewable as long as eligibility criteria are met, ensuring a sustainable path to residency for investors and talented individuals in the UAE.

Understanding the UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa is more than just a visa; it’s a golden ticket to a world of boundless opportunities. This long-term residency program provides a pathway to live, work, and invest in the UAE, unshackled by the constraints of traditional employment-based or sponsorship-based visas.

Designed for:

  • investors
  • business owners
  • skilled workers
  • students
  • retirees

The Golden Visa is the UAE’s way of inviting global talents to contribute to its vibrant and innovative landscape.

However, the advantages of the UAE Golden Visa extend beyond the primary visa holder. One of the most attractive aspects of this program is the ability to include your spouse and dependent children in your residency permits. This means you can sponsor your family members for UAE residency, ensuring your loved ones can be part of your life-changing journey in the UAE.

UAE: Country Overview

The allure of the United Arab Emirates extends far beyond its golden sands and gleaming skyscrapers. Nestled in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, the UAE is a federation of seven emirates, each unique and pulsating with life. The UAE offers a spectrum of experiences that cater to every taste, including:

  • Abu Dhabi’s rich cultural heritage
  • Dubai’s stunning skyline
  • Sharjah’s artistic heart
  • The natural beauty of Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah

Known for its sophisticated infrastructure, international events, and position as a commercial and transportation hub, the UAE has experienced swift growth since its inception in 1971. With its golden jubilee celebrated in 2021, the UAE continues to solidify its reputation as a leading global business destination.

This reputation has significantly influenced the UAE Residence by Investment program. Aimed at providing long-term residence to foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and talented individuals, this program is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and inclusive business environment.

Key Benefits of the UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa provides a myriad of advantages. The most significant of these is the freedom it provides. As a Golden Visa holder, you can live, study and work in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor. This means you can chart your course without being tied to a specific employer or sponsor.

The perks, however, don’t end here. Golden Visa holders can not only sponsor their spouses and children but also bring their parents on a 1-year renewable visa. This ensures that your loved ones are always close, no matter where your UAE journey takes you.

Moreover, the Golden Visa offers the following benefits:

  • Business Ownership and Financial Advantages: Visa holders benefit from 100% ownership of businesses on the mainland—a significant draw for foreign entrepreneurs. Additionally, holders gain access to the Esaad privilege card, which provides various discounts and special services, enhancing daily living and financial management.
  • Favorable Tax Regime: The UAE’s tax regime offers substantial advantages for investors, promoting wealth accumulation and investment through highly favorable tax conditions.

These advantages make the UAE Golden Visa, including the Dubai Golden Visa, a truly golden opportunity for those seeking UAE Golden Visas.

Eligibility Criteria for the UAE Golden Visa

While the UAE Golden Visa might seem like a dream come true, understanding the eligibility criteria is paramount. The Golden Visa is designed for a broad spectrum of individuals, each with specific conditions and requirements.

Professionals, scientists, artists, athletes, and humanitarian workers are among the talented and skilled individuals eligible for the UAE Golden Visa. However, eligibility for these professionals is contingent on recognition and recommendation from relevant authorities and councils. This ensures that those contributing significantly to their respective fields are duly recognized and rewarded.

The UAE’s Golden Visa program also accommodates:

  • Investors,
  • Entrepreneurs,
  • Startup owners.

The specific conditions for these individuals include company revenues and investments in UAE-registered companies. In addition, Abu Dhabi has expanded Golden Visa eligibility to senior scholars, clerics, elite industrial specialists, and professionals in health and education through specific additional requirements.

Application Process for the UAE Golden Visa

The online platforms provided by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai simplify the application process for the UAE Golden Visa.

Accuracy is key when filling in your personal details during the online application process. Moreover, to prevent any delays in the visa application review and approval, meeting all documentary requirements is of utmost importance. While the costs for applying for the UAE Golden Visa vary, fees range from AED 2,800 to AED 3,800 with additional charges for a 10-year visa application, medical examination, and a six-month entry permit.

Upon completing the online application, non-residents will receive a 6-month entry permit to enter the UAE and carry out the necessary procedures for obtaining a long term residence visa, also known as Golden Residency. This allows applicants enough time to:

  • fulfill all requirements
  • gather all necessary documents
  • complete any additional steps
  • submit the application

In this fast-paced world, it’s essential to stay updated on the technical or future nature of various industries without feeling rushed.

Working with a Specialist: Imperial Citizenship

Working with a professional firm like Imperial Citizenship can significantly streamline your application for residency by investment. Their team of specialists is equipped to assist you in preparing the necessary documentation accurately, selecting the most suitable investment options based on your financial goals, and guiding you seamlessly through the entire application process.

This expert guidance ensures that every step of your journey is handled with precision and adherence to all legal requirements, minimizing potential setbacks and maximizing your chances of success. Their knowledge and experience in dealing with complex laws make them invaluable partners in achieving your international mobility goals.

Real Estate Investment and the UAE Golden Visa

The UAE Golden Visa offers a promising avenue for real estate investors looking to establish a more permanent presence in the region. By investing in property that meets the minimum required value, investors can obtain a Golden Visa, which can be renewed under the same terms without needing a sponsor. Here are the options available for those interested in a longer-term, 10-year visa:

  • Direct Investment: Owning a property valued at a minimum of AED 2 million (approximately USD 550,000).
  • Financed Purchase: Acquiring a property worth at least AED 2 million with financing from specific local banks recognized by the UAE government.
  • Off-plan Investment: Investing in one or more off-plan properties totaling a minimum of AED 2 million from approved local real estate companies.

It’s important for Golden Visa holders to remember the residency requirement, which necessitates visiting the UAE at least once or twice per year to maintain their visa status. This requirement is designed to ensure that the benefits of the Golden Visa are extended to those who are actively contributing to the UAE’s economic landscape and showing a genuine commitment to the country’s ongoing development and prosperity.

Golden Visa for Exceptional Talents and Professionals

The UAE Golden Visa caters not only to investors but also to those who excel in their respective fields. Exceptional talents, including:

  • artists
  • cultural figures
  • athletes
  • digital technologists

Individuals are eligible for the Golden Visa and can be granted a golden visa with the required recommendation of federal or local government entities, including specific local banks approved by the federal tax authority confirming their eligibility for golden visa passes.

For professionals in science and engineering, eligibility includes having a certified Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and a valid work contract. Executive directors require a certified university degree, significant experience, and a substantial salary. This ensures that top talent in the professional world is recognized and rewarded.

One key aspect to note, though, is that exceptional talents and professionals generally need the recommendation or approval letter of a federal or local government entity to apply for the Golden Visa. This adds an extra layer of credibility to the application process.

Golden Visa Opportunities for Students

High-achieving outstanding students also find opportunities within the UAE Golden Visa program. Students who excel in UAE secondary schools or universities can apply for the 10-year Golden Visa without requiring a sponsor.

High school students with an average rate of at least 95 percent in the high school certificate and a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education are eligible to apply for the Golden Visa. University students from A or B class rated universities with high GPAs, as well as those who have graduated from top 100 global universities with a high GPA, may also be eligible.

Applying for the Golden Visa as a student typically includes the following steps:

  1. Submitting the application
  2. Paying the application fees
  3. Undergoing a medical exam
  4. Obtaining an Emirates ID
  5. Obtaining a residence permit
  6. Paying administrative charges

The entire process usually takes about 30 days and incurs a cost of AED 7,138. This streamlined process makes it easier for students to secure their future in the UAE.

Insurance and Healthcare for Golden Visa Holders

Securing health insurance is a key aspect of living in the UAE. The UAE mandates health insurance for all citizens, including Golden Visa holders and their dependents. This ensures that everyone in the UAE has access to healthcare services when they need them.

The National Health Insurance Company (Daman) has introduced exclusive health insurance plans for Golden Visa holders and their dependents who currently do not have an existing health insurance plan. These plans offer a range of coverages to suit different needs and budgets.

A variety of insurance plans, including basic coverage starting from AED 1000 per year and comprehensive plans that may include optical, dental, and global coverage, are accessible to Golden Visa holders. Health insurance packages for Golden Visa holders are valid for one year and can be renewed annually.

Renewal and Extension of the UAE Golden Visa

Typically valid for up to ten years, the UAE Golden Visa, a renewable residence visa valid for those who meet the eligibility criteria, can be renewed provided the holder continues to meet these requirements. This means that as long as you continue to fulfill the criteria, you can extend your stay in the UAE.

Golden Visa renewal, also known as the golden residence visa, can be completed online through a smart services system or at Customer Happiness Centers and Amer Service Centers, offering flexibility to applicants. The renewal fee for the Golden Visa is AED 1,100, with additional fees for Knowledge dirham, Innovation dirham, in-country processing, and delivery, and it increases by AED 100 for each year beyond two years of residency.

In the event of visa expiry, Golden Visa holders have a 6-month grace period to either renew or cancel their visas. Failing to renew dependents’ visas results in overstay fines, and entry permits can be extended or canceled online. This ensures that Golden Visa holders have ample time to make their next move.


The UAE Golden Visa is a golden opportunity for investors, entrepreneurs, professionals, students, and all those who dream of making the UAE their home. Offering a world of benefits and opportunities, the Golden Visa is the UAE’s way of welcoming global talent and investment, fostering a vibrant and dynamic society. Whether you’re an investor, a professional, a student, or simply someone with a dream, the UAE Golden Visa is your ticket to a brighter future.

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