Dubai UAE residency options

Individuals wanting to relocate to the UAE can find several ways to relocate, including flexible visa options. The UAE is quite progressive and has recently introduced new policies to make it easier for individuals and businesses to move there and stay long-term. The country offers multi-year residencies for investors, students, professionals, remote workers, and even retirees. Also, holders of UAE residency are eligible to sponsor their immediate family members.


Situated on the south-eastern coast of the Persian Gulf, set between gorgeous beaches, set against luxurious and ultra-new urban architecture, Dubai offers those looking to set up residency here the best of both worlds. Dubai is becoming a global hub for business and is a prime location for commerce and enterprise in the middle east.

Residency in the UAE offers several advantages:

  • The climate knows two distinct seasons summer and winter. Winter might be the most comfortable, with an average temperature of about 22°C
  • Professional opportunities and salaries are good and are tax-free in the Emirates
  • 80% of the UAE’s current population are expats
  • Dubai has a large international airport, the third busiest globally, with flights to almost all tourist destinations
  • Dubai is the safest place in the Middle East. Its strict laws mean that its crime rates are virtually non-existent
  • A melting pot of globalization
  • Dubai has a rapidly growing and reliable economy with a stable currency
  • Dubai is home to hundreds of international schools with dual-language opportunities making it an excellent place for families wanting to relocate



There are several options for individuals relocating to the UAE to obtain residency; these include:

Employment with a UAE company: The company will apply and sponsor their residence visa while they are in the UAE, with 2-3 years’ visa validity.

An investor in a business in the UAE: The investor himself will process and apply for his visa under the sponsorship of his company’s registered name, with 2-3 years’ visa validity.

An Investor in real estate assets: Depending on the value of real estate assets applicant may receive 3 or 5-years residency visa.

Special residency regimes: recently introduced golden visas, remote visa, and retirement visa.




The most common scenario of getting a residency visa in the UAE is an employment visa (company employees) or an ‘investor’ visa (for the company’s shareholders), both sponsored by the company. Only the free zone or mainland (onshore) companies in the UAE can sponsor such types of visas. The number of maximum eligible visas to be issued per company will depend on:

  • The type of company’s activity
  • The type of its lease facilities (flexi-desk, physical office space, warehouse)
  • The specific type of jurisdiction (free zone/mainland)


Such a visa can be issued to applicants who own the real estate assets in the UAE with a property value of more than AED 1 million. Such individuals will be eligible for a three-year visa, or if the property value is more than AED 5 million, applicants will qualify for a five-year visa.


Recently introduced, this new visa type allows investors, entrepreneurs, specialized talents, and researchers in various fields of science and knowledge and bright students to live, work and conduct business, in the UAE with a 5-10-year visa validity.


  • Property investors in the UAE – They must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million; the amount invested cannot be on a loan basis, and the property must be retained for at least three years
  • Entrepreneurs – Includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000 or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country. The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner, and three executives
  • Outstanding scholars – These students have a minimum grade of 95% in secondary schools (public or private) or university students in or outside the country with a GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation


  • Investors with public investments of at least AED 10 million, which may take many forms such as:
    • i. A deposit of at least AED 10 million in an investment fund inside the country
    • ii. Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than AED 10 million
    • iii. Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than AED 10 million
    • iv. A total investment of not less than AED 10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60% of the total investment
  • Individuals with special skills or talents, these include researchers in science and knowledge, doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, and creative individuals in culture and art. The visa advantage extends to the spouse and children. All categories must have a valid employment contract in a specialized area of priority in the UAE.


Is eligible for employees based outside the UAE and wish to relocate to Dubai. The one-year renewable visa falls under the virtual working program tailored for people, start-ups, and entrepreneurs who meet specific eligibility criteria.

If you are an employee, you need to show:

  • Proof of employment with a contract valid for one year from your current employer
  • Earn a salary of a minimum of USD 5,000 per month, and provide a salary slip for the last month and bank statements for the preceding three months

If you are a company owner, you need to show:

  • Proof of ownership of the company for one year or more
  • Have an average monthly income of USD 5,000 per month, and provide bank statements of the company’s account for the preceding three months


Dependents, including children, parents, housemaids, and close relatives, can be sponsored by:

  • Someone who is employed in the UAE
  • An investor or business owner in the UAE
  • A property owner in the UAE


There is an option of getting a retirement visa in the UAE with a five year visa validity (for applicants above 55 years). The applicant should have:

  • Financial savings of AED 1 million, or
  • UAE-sourced income of AED 20,000 per month, or
  • Real estate investment in the UAE of more than AED 2 million


Universities in the UAE can sponsor their students. In this case, the university will apply and sponsor a student’s visa under the educational institution’s name.

For more information:

Tetiana Shpak, Team Leader -