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How to become a resident of the UAE – detailed instructions

Как стать резидентом ОАЭ – подробная инструкция

The UAE has opened borders, accepted cultural diversity and created ideal conditions for resettlement, work, study and life for everyone. Today, 90% of the population of the Emirates are expats, i.e. immigrants who arrived from other countries. They have been living and working in the country for decades, but they are not citizens of the country. They are residents of the UAE, i.e. they live on the basis of a visa, which is granted for a certain period and extended upon its completion.

Why the Emirates is an ideal place to live

Several decades ago, when the UAE Government decided to turn the country into an economic center of global importance, a real revolution began in the emirates. The changes have affected all areas, including the worldview and the Muslim way of life.

Today’s Emirates is an example of tolerance: a Muslim society with strict concepts has accepted foreigners with their way of life. This does not mean that they are allowed absolutely everything: the requirements for respect for local traditions remain strict. However, visitors are not obliged to observe all the traditions themselves, in addition, conditions have been created for them where they can live by their own rules, for example, drink alcohol.

UAE

The strongest metamorphoses have occurred in the economy. The country reoriented it from purely extractive to manufacturing and post-industrial, i.e. priority was given to development:

  • high-tech;
  • telecommunications;
  • banking and financial segments;
  • medicine;
  • scientific research activities;
  • trade;
  • service industries.

This required qualified specialists. Simplified legalization conditions have been developed for them, providing:

  • various types of visa permits that are easy to issue and also easy to extend;
  • simplified business opening schemes;
  • favorable working conditions in the form of the absence of a number of taxes, the free withdrawal of earned funds, various benefits and indulgences.

This became a powerful incentive to attract entrepreneurs and investors who rushed to open offshore and onshore companies en masse, seeing great advantages for the development of commerce in the form of:

  • absence of taxes on personal and corporate profits;
  • absence of corruption;
  • a solid exchange rate;
  • a high level of confidentiality in transactions and relationships with banks;
  • a convenient geographical location for trade and building logistics chains.

Starting a business allows you to obtain a residence permit not only for an entrepreneur, but also for his family.

Opening a business in the UAE

Moving to the principality opens up great educational opportunities for children. There are many schools with different educational programs here. But the main thing is that the quality of education in any educational institution will be high, and the certificate is recognized abroad. The same can be said about universities.

Cutting–edge medicine is the pride of the country. Any diseases are treated here using the latest medical innovations. There is even a separate area of tourism – medical, when people come to the Emirati clinics for treatment.

Another advantage of living in the Emirates is security. The state strictly monitors compliance with the law, the norms of law and order and strictly punishes even minor violations. Offenses on the roads are severely punished, which made it possible to negate the number of victims in an accident. Public safety attracts wealthy expats who want to provide their households with the best conditions. Today’s Dubai is one of the safest megacities in the world.

And Dubai is also:

  • summer and the sea all year round;
  • perfect roads (100% paved);
  • cheap cars and gasoline
  • entertainment for every taste;
  • recreation in unique shopping malls;
  • amazing architecture;
  • comfortable accommodation.

All these factors combined have brought the Emirates closer to the ideal for work and life.

Resident’s visa

Resident's visa

In the UAE, there are no familiar concepts of temporary or permanent residence permits (residence permit and permanent residence). Instead, the legal terms «citizenship» and «residency» are used.

Only indigenous people have citizenship. It is almost impossible for a visitor to receive it, unless he is on the list of persons subject to exceptional rules. The absolute majority of expats are residents, i.e. persons who have the right to temporary stay in the country on a visa. It can be issued depending on the purpose of your stay for a period of six months to 10 years. 

What does having a residency mean?

  1. It is legal to stay in the country for the period of validity of the visa permit.
  2. Freely cross the borders of the principality in both directions.
  3. Open a bank account and apply for loans, including mortgages.
  4. Get a local driver’s license.
  5. Connect a mobile connection.
  6. Rent a house.
  7. Be served in medical institutions and enjoy the benefits of medical insurance.
  8. To teach children in local schools and universities (there are more than 70 in the UAE).
  9. Enjoy tax benefits.
  10. To do business by opening companies or branches. If the direction of commercial activity is included in the priorities of the state’s development, then the latter provides good grants and benefits.
  11. To provide yourself and your family with a high standard of living.
  12. Travel to many countries without a visa.

A resident will not be able to use medical and educational services for free, this privilege is available only to citizens.

How to get residency in the UAE

United Arab Emirates

Residency is issued in the Emirates upon arrival. Therefore, you must first obtain an entry permit. For Russians traveling for the purpose of tourism, such a permit does not need to be issued in advance: there is an agreement between our countries on visa-free border crossing, provided that they stay no more than 90 days. Such travelers are stamped in their passport free of charge at the airport.

While in the country, you can apply for a targeted visa. While its registration lasts, the applicant will be granted a temporary residence permit and cannot leave during this time. By the way, the application for residency can be sent in advance, even before arrival.

If the purpose of the visit is work, then the employer who agreed to take the employee takes care of all the hassle of completing the residency. He also acts as a sponsor. While the employer is processing the documents, the future employee has the right to stay in the country for 2 months. During the same time, you need to have time to get an identity card.

Who can become a resident of Dubai

Depending on the purpose of the visit, the visitor has the right to obtain a residence permit with different validity periods.

For 1-2 years

They receive a residency for one or two years:

  • when applying for employment (the duration of the residence permit in the country corresponds to the duration of the contract);
  • students upon admission to the university;
  • investors who bought $205,000 worth of real estate.

For 5 years

Another name is green (Green Visa). She is being given away:

  • a freelancer;
  • by a remote employee;
  • self-employed;
  • talented students with a high passing score;
  • for entrepreneurs with an authorized capital of more than half a million dirhams;
  • company owners;
  • pensioners.

For 10 years (Golden Visa)

Golden Visa

Designed for:

  • large investors;
  • highly qualified specialists in the field of medicine, IT, engineering, culture, and sports.

Investors can apply for a Golden Visa if:

  • they will buy real estate in the amount of 2 million AED;
  • they will sell the existing business in the amount of at least 7 million AED;
  • their company will reach an annual revenue of 1 million AED.

What documents are needed to become a resident of the UAE

The composition of the packages for obtaining different types of visas differs, but there is a list of common documents that must be attached to any of them:

  • a valid international passport with a six-month time reserve;
  • completed application form;
  • photo in color on a white background;
  • certificate of no criminal record;
  • conclusion of the medical examination;
  • an application for the issuance of an identity card.

To open a work visa, you will additionally need:

  • a copy of the contract;
  • notarized diploma of education;
  • diploma confirmation on the website of the Ministry of Education (for a fee).

Students must present:

  • a receipt for tuition fees;
  • a copy of the letter of enrollment.

For freelancers, as well as the self-employed, it is necessary to provide:

  • the questionnaire;
  • a certificate of education not lower than a bachelor’s degree;
  • entry permit;
  • a freelance permit from MOHRE or proof of employment;
  • proof of earnings over the past two years for a total amount of at least $ 100,000.

For remote workers, you will need:

  • a copy of the contract confirming current employment;
  • a certificate confirming that the monthly salary is at least $ 5,000;
  • salary statement for the last month;
  • bank statement for the last 3 months.

A separate category is professionals from different sectors of the economy.

Economists

Here, for each category of specialists, documents confirming their qualifications and merits will be required:

  • Scientists must have diplomas confirming their status, as well as accreditation from the UAE Council of Scientists;
  • representatives of the cultural sphere are accredited by the Ministry of Culture, as well as all documented achievements (awards, diplomas, titles);
  • Engineers and inventors must provide patents for their inventions.

Emigrants through employment or investors have the right to act as sponsors for their family and staff (assistants, cooks, governesses). To apply for a family visa from a sponsor, you will need:

  • a copy of the passport;
  • a copy of the residency;
  • identification card;
  • proof of employment;
  • salary certificate in Arabic;
  • Ejari or Tawtheeq certificate;
  • utility bills for the last month.

In addition, it is necessary to provide documents for each family member:

  • international passport;
  • photo;
  • marriage certificate;
  • children’s birth certificates;
  • certificate of medical examination;
  • medical insurance.

For domestic workers, additional requirements will be required:

  • application for the opening of a visa permit;
  • a copy of the employment contract;
  • a copy of the medical insurance;
  • certificate of medical examination;
  • salary certificate;
  • a housing lease agreement.

Elderly foreigners who have retired must additionally submit:

  • a pension certificate or a certificate of retirement;
  • confirmation of the pension amount;
  • a bank statement on the flow of funds over the past six months;
  • a certificate confirming compliance with the conditions for granting residency by age.

Investors provide documents confirming the amount invested in real estate or commercial enterprises. It can be:

  • certificate of purchase/sale;
  • the document of the owner of the company with the authorized capital of 500 thousand dirhams;
  • a certificate certifying the acquisition of a share in the company in the amount of 2 million dirhams or more.

If an investor has invested money not in real estate, but in a business, he will be required to:

  • certificate of registration of a legal entity;
  • the company’s migration card;
  • a copy of the trade license.

How to get residency in Dubai for Russians

Investing

The easiest way is to invest. There are several options for obtaining a residency with different validity periods and different opportunities.

For three years

It is provided for the purchase of real estate in the amount of at least 750 thousand dirhams. A three-year entry permit allows you to obtain an identity card, obtain a driver’s license, and open a bank account. However, the resident will not be able to stay outside the country for more than six months within 12 months, otherwise the permit will be canceled.

Real estate can be bought by paying the full amount or on credit. In the latter case, it will be necessary to make an advance payment in the amount of 50% of the cost, which should be 750 thousand AED, and also obtain the consent of the bank. If the applicant has several types of living space, each of which is less than the established minimum threshold, but in total corresponds to it or exceeds it, then this will be considered as compliance with the conditions.

Green Visa

By becoming a Green Visa resident, an investor can act as a sponsor for his family members:

  • spouses (spouse);
  • children (boys under 25 years old, unmarried girls without age restriction).

If the residency is canceled or its validity period ends, then the holder has a preferential right to stay in the territory of the state for another six months.

Golden Visa

It is issued when buying real estate in the amount of at least 2 million dirhams. At the same time, the property cannot be sold for 3 years. If the property is purchased at the construction stage, the investor will receive a Golden Visa only after the facility is put into operation.

Golden Visa gives even more advantages to its holders. They can:

  • sponsor a spouse, children without restrictive conditions, parents, home staff, business assistants;
  • free to travel abroad and stay there for any amount of time;
  • apply for an Esaad discount card, which allows you to use preferential offers of 7,000 brands in 92 countries.

If the holder of the Golden Visa has extended it three times, has not violated the rules for the entire period of residence in the principality and has mastered the Arabic language, then he has a chance to apply for citizenship.

If a Golden Visa holder suddenly dies, then his family has the right to stay in the Emirates for another six months.

Pension visa

It is issued to foreigners who have reached the age of 55 for a period of 5 years, but they must meet one of the conditions:

  • have a monthly income of at least 20 000 AED;
  • savings in the bank of at least 1 million AED;
  • buy 100% real estate with your own money (i.e. not on credit) in the amount of 2 million AED.

The residency is extended every 5 years, subject to one of the above conditions.

How to get a resident visa to Dubai for the purchase of real estate

Buying a property

When buying real estate, a person has the right to apply for residency for a period of 3, 5 or 10 years. The basis for granting a residence permit is a certificate of purchase, it is enclosed in a common set of documents. But first you need to choose an object and make a deal.

Selecting an object

This can be done by contacting a real estate agency in person or online. The manager will find out the preferences of the clients, the amount he expects to spend, and select several suitable options.

Viewing can also be done in person or online. If the client cannot come to see the objects in person, the manager will make video reviews for him and send full reports. However, an apartment is an expensive purchase. No video gives a complete emotional representation, so it’s better to find an opportunity and watch it live.

Reservation and prepayment

The next stage is booking. A deposit is required for this. Until the prepayment is received, the facility will be offered to other customers. In some areas where demand for real estate is high, delay in booking may deprive the buyer of the apartments they like.

The deposit is paid through the electronic payment system via a link from the developer.

Payment and signing of the contract

Traditionally, it is customary to make a payment first, and then sign a contract.

Registration with the Dubai Land Department

At this stage, the buyer receives a Certificate of ownership of the property – the main document on the basis of which he will later be granted a resident visa.

Obtaining a certificate of non-criminal record

It will be required only for applicants applying for a three-year residence permit. If the documents are submitted for a Green Visa, then such a certificate is not needed. Confirmation of the absence of a criminal record is issued by the local police authorities in the personal presence of the applicant.

Passing a medical examination

Passing a medical examination

This procedure is mandatory for everyone. The medical examination takes one day and includes a blood test for the presence of severe viral and infectious diseases, as well as fluorography. Medical examinations are carried out at any certified medical center.

Collecting a package of documents and submitting an application

The application for a long-term residence permit is accompanied by:

  • photocopy of the passport;
  • purchase/sale agreement;
  • Certificate of registration of real estate;
  • confirmation of the purchase price from the Dubai Land Department;
  • a letter from the bank if the property is mortgaged;
  • certificate of no criminal record at home (if necessary in the UAE);
  • marriage certificate;
  • a certificate confirming that adult children are not married;
  • photos in color;
  • a medical insurance copier.

Registration of an identification card 

It is made on the basis of a residence permit with a similar validity period. At the issuing center, the applicant must undergo fingerprinting and take a picture. The finished Emirates (Resident) ID can be picked up in 5-7 business days.

The cost of a resident visa in Dubai

For the spouse or children of the resident – from 3000-4000 dirhams.

For an employee – from 5000 to 8000 dirhams, depending on the position.

For an investor – about 4000 dirhams.

The average cost of obtaining a 3-year investor visa is from 15 thousand AED. This amount includes payment:

  • application costs;
  • entry permits;
  • DED licenses;
  • certificates of absence of criminal record;
  • health insurance;
  • identification cards.

The purchase of a pension and Golden Visa will be cheaper – about 4000 AED. It includes payment:

  • health insurance;
  • Emirates ID;
  • administrative fees;
  • a new visa.

Emirates (Resident) ID

Emirates (Resident) ID

This is an Emirati identity card that acts as an internal passport. It is issued to both citizens and residents. Emirates (Resident) ID is a plastic card that contains all the necessary information about the owner:

  • name and surname;
  • photo;
  • date of birth;
  • a chip containing biometric information, a digital signature, and authentication certificates.

An Emirates card is required at the conclusion of any contract (rental, purchase/sale, Internet connection), and also simplifies passport control when crossing the border.

Each emirate has a service center dealing with the registration of Emirates cards, for example, Typing Office or Customer Happiness Center. They apply for a certificate, as well as its replacement in case of loss or expiration. Residents can apply for an extension only after they have received a residency extension. You can also apply through the ICA UAE Smart mobile app or online by submitting an application on the website of the Federal Office for Identification and Citizenship Affairs.

The applicant will receive an e-mail indicating where to come for photographing and fingerprinting.

Registration of the certificate is a paid service. The fee for issuance is 200 dirhams, an additional 300 AED will be charged for restoration in case of loss. The whole procedure takes 10 days. If the cardholder’s data has changed, he must contact any Customer Happiness Center office within 30 days to make changes.

How to extend a residence permit

According to the rules, a visa permit must be extended one month before the expiration date. But just in case, the resident is given a grace period – one month after the expiration date. This is enough time to extend the permit. However, if this deadline is violated, significant fines will follow, and for each day of delay.

If circumstances develop in such a way that a person will not be able to extend in a timely manner, for example, due to departure, he can submit documents in advance, but first he must obtain permission from the General Directorate for Residence and Foreign Affairs of the Emirate that issued the residence permit.

To extend the permit, it is necessary to reassemble the entire package of documents and undergo a medical examination again. You will also need a reason for the extension. A work visa is extended on the basis of a contract, a student visa is extended on the basis of a certificate from the university on continuing studies.

How to cancel a residence permit

Termination of the employment contract

The visa will be automatically cancelled if the holder:

  • he was outside the state for more than six months;
  • he was an investor and resigned from the company’s shareholders;
  • he lost his job under an employment contract (it was terminated).

Despite the fact that the residency will be invalid, the registration of a person in state databases as a resident will not disappear. If you do not complete the registration procedure on time (submit documents, pay a fee, get a certificate of cancellation), then later when applying for entry or extension, you will receive a refusal.

If the residence permit:

  • if the employer you work for is under contract, then only he has the right to cancel;
  • if a person who is a sponsor for family members is registered, then their permits will be revoked first, and then the sponsorship one.

By law, expats do not have the right to change one type of residency to another: first they cancel one, then they issue another.

How long can you stay outside the UAE in order not to lose your residency status

Permission to stay in the UAE is provided on the condition that the owner will not travel abroad for more than six months. If it is violated, the residency is canceled automatically. But there is a list of persons who belong to the exclusion, it is:

  • holders of Gold and Green Visas;
  • foreign wives of UAE citizens;
  • foreign civil servants who went abroad for medical treatment;
  • domestic assistants with a residence permit in the Emirates, accompanying citizens of the principality on foreign trips (for study, business, treatment), as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and consular staff;
  • students studying at foreign universities;
  • foreign residents working in government agencies, seconded to other countries for internships, professional development, and exchange of experience.

For what reasons can a residence permit be refused?

The residency will be refused if the applicant:

  1. Failed the security check.
  2. The medical examination revealed diseases that are prohibited in the UAE (tuberculosis, syphilis, HIV).
  3. I entered incorrect (erroneous) data in the questionnaire.
  4. Previously violated UAE law.
  5. He was previously a resident of the UAE, but did not cancel his residence permit in time.
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Vladimir Sviridov
Vladimir Sviridov
General Manager RLC Consulting
With a Postgraduate Masters in Finance from The, Moscow State University, Russia. Vladimir started his professional career as an auditor of the financial sector of EY. After that, he worked for several years in senior positions in corporate banking. In 2018-2021, he managed the finances of a large agricultural holding, and is currently responsible for strategic planning, corporate partnership and financial management in the role of General Manager of RLC Consulting GROUP in the UAE.

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