An Ex-Pat’s Expert Guide to Golden Visa UAE

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If you are on any social media platform, chances are that you must have received a notification about an up-and-coming celebrity receiving something called a “Golden Visa” from UAE officials. The term is interesting enough to make you wonder what the whole rage is about. 

In simple terms, the Golden Visa is a new residency visa system introduced by the UAE government. It allows people with special talents (like celebrities, artists, and scientists), investors, and outstanding students to enjoy residency with lesser restrictions than before. However, given that it is an enormous change in the long-standing resident visa policies of the country, it indeed calls for a deeper look. 

Before looking at the finer details, let’s take a look at some important questions. 

What is a Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa is a long-term, permanent residency visa that auto-renews after expiration provided that you still qualify for it. While other residency visas in the UAE are issued for only 1, 3, or 5 years, the Golden Visa is issued for 5 or 10 years at a time. Another of its key features is that is a sponsorship-free residency visa, meaning that you can live in the UAE on your own in a self-sponsored manner.

Why Has UAE Introduced Golden Visa?

The strategic reasons behind introducing the Golden Visa are many. While the UAE government is attempting to make the UAE an even more opportunistic arena for people of business and talents, it also wants to enhance its economy with the contributions of such exceptional individuals. 

The emirates, especially Dubai, have been an all-time favourite for both employed and self-employed folks. Golden Visa opens the doors of the UAE for wealthy investors from the rest of the world, who relish the opportunity of outstanding revenues by investing in a tax-free environment. From the UAE perspective, this immensely benefits the UAE economy as it helps in moving the focus from oil-generated revenues to other major sources like investments. 

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What Is So Special About Golden Visa UAE ?

UAE resident visas used to be temporary, although they were renewable after the expiry of the validity. Another hurdle was present in the scheme of the conditions, as the visa always came attached with a work permit that is to be obtained by your employer. The existence of the Golden Visa shatters these old regulations, opening doors for people who don’t want to come to the UAE as a worker. It is a boon for people looking to get permanent residency in the UAE without employer or family sponsorship. 

After opening free zones in Dubai to allow ex-pats to invest, the Golden Visa now ensures that you get your residency solely based on your investment or your talents. It is an open secret that the UAE has become one of the top sought-out places to work in the world now. With Golden Visa in place, you can get your auto-renewable permanent residency in the emirates if you are a proud owner of any special talents or investment in UAE

Green Visa vs Golden Visa

Soon after the Golden Visa was introduced, the UAE government rolled out another exclusive residency visa – the UAE Green Visa. Simply put, the Green Visa is an upgraded form of the previously applicable residency visa in the UAE. Before UAE Green Visa, ex-pats could only obtain a resident’s visa if they were sponsored by an employer. The procedure was tedious, as the employer sponsoring the working ex-pat had to apply for their work permit to obtain a resident visa. 

Similarly, other obstacles came due to regulations. For instance, employed individuals in the UAE could not sponsor their parents although children could be sponsored up to the age of 18. A girl child could be sponsored until she was working or sponsored by her spouse. Perhaps the toughest challenge came regarding employment. If the ex-pat loses their current employment, they only have 30 days to find a new job and renew the work permit with their new employer. As evident, residency rules are quite stringent.

Green Visa aims to relax these rigorous curbs and allow talented workers and students in the UAE to sponsor themselves. They are allowed a greater timeline to renew visas after losing their current job and finding another. Moreover, both girl and boy children can be sponsored up to the age of 25 years by Green Visa holders. 

The key difference between Green and Golden Visa is that one is a permanent residence visa given as per the specialised status of the candidate, while the other one is a work-cum-residency temporary visa. Green Visas can be held by workers sponsoring themselves and holding full-time jobs in the UAE. Golden Visa is for investors, talented individuals, entrepreneurs, and outstanding students. The durations of Golden and Green Visas also differ. 

Who Gets to Apply for Golden Visa?

Golden Visa of the UAE can be taken for either 5 years or 10 years. The conditions for applying and the eligibility criteria differ for both these durations. Given below is a detailed guide for both.

10-Year Golden Visa UAE

Who Can Apply – Investors and People with Specialised Talents (Scientists, Creative Personnel, Inventors, Exceptional Talents, Executives, and Doctors)

Golden Visa UAE for Investors

Types and Forms of Investments That Qualify

  • Investment shall be in the form of public investments.
  • A minimum of AED 10 million is required to be invested to qualify for this category.
  • Depositing AED 10 million in an investment fund in the UAE qualifies for this criteria.
  • Founding a new company in the UAE with a minimum value of AED 10 million also qualifies.
  • If you are going for a partnership with an existing firm in the UAE, your investment capital must be at least AED 10 million. 
  • If you have invested in all the different forms mentioned above, your investment must be at least 10 million in total. Another condition that applies here is that 60% of your total investment should be from ventures other than real estate.

Investor golden visa uae requirements

  • The invested sum must not be a loaned amount from banks or other lenders.
  • Financial solvency of AED 10 million must be present.
  • The investment has to be kept alive for at least 3 years. 

Golden Visa for People with Specialised Talent

Conditions for People with Specialised Talents


Only Emirates Scientists Council accredited scientists are eligible for this visa. Besides that, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal winners for excellence in their field are also eligible. 

Creative Personnel:

Any personnel associated with creative works are required to have themselves accredited by the Ministry of Youth and Culture. This section can include personnel like actors and film-industry workers. So if you have made significant advancements in your field of art and have brought considerable difference, you will be considered eligible in this category. 


If you want a Golden Visa as an inventor, you are required to have a patent for your invention, as any invention without a patent will not add value to the UAE’s economy. You have to get the patent approved by the Ministry of Economy as well. 

Exceptional Talents:

Any person seeking a Golden Visa on the basis of exceptional talents must either have a patent for the said talent or have published scientific research in any of the world-class journals. 


All executives must either be owners of a renowned multination corporation or hold an academic position of high significance. 


There is a total of 7 conditions categorised for doctors. Anyone satisfying 2 of these 7 conditions is eligible for this category.

  • A doctor with a Ph. D. from any of the best 500 universities in the world as recognised by IPC. 
  • A doctor who has received a certification of appreciation or an award in their field of practice. 
  • Any doctor who has contributed to scientific research in their field of practice. 
  • If a doctor has published an article of sort or a scientific book for their field of work. 
  • If the doctor holds membership in any authorised organisation related to their field of work (for instance, medical councils). 
  • 10 years of work experience in addition to a Ph. D. degree. 
  • A doctor holding specialisation in any area that is of high importance in the UAE.
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5-Year Golden Visa UAE

Who Can Apply – Real Estate Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Outstanding Students

Golden Visa for Real Estate Investors

  • The value of the property held by a real estate investor must be at least AED 5 million. 
  • Any amount that the investor has put into this venture must not be on loan.
  • The investor must retain their property in the UAE for at least 3 years. 

Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs

  • Any person from this category must have a role part in an existing project in the country. 
  • The entrepreneur must have a minimum of AED 500,000 as capital. 
  • If the above is not fulfilled, they should have an accredited business incubator from the UAE approve their business venture. 
  • Entrepreneurs are given a multi-entry visa that is valid for 6 months. The visa can be renewed for 6 months once it expires. 
  • Long-term visas for this category will include the family of the entrepreneur (spouse and children), business partner, and executives (three).

Golden Visa for Outstanding Students 

  • Any student receiving a minimum of 95% in their secondary school is eligible for this category. Schooling from both public and private schools counts. 
  • University students who have scored at least a 3.75 GPA or distinction are also eligible.
  • Families of outstanding students will also be covered by long-term visas. 

How to Apply for Golden Visa UAE ?

You can apply for the UAE Golden Visa on the official website of IPC (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship). As it is a nomination-based selection process, you will need to apply for the nomination request instead of the Golden Visa itself. Under the smart services, go to the tab labelled ‘Golden Services’ and start a service request to initiate your application. 

Choose the category for which you are applying for the visa, then fill out the rest of the application form. Move to the next page and upload the supporting documents. After clicking submit, you will come across the fee page. You will see that the fee is AED 0 as the service is free of charge. Move further ahead to submit your application and close the nomination request. You can check the status of your request by logging in with IPC. 

It is important to note that while you will need the basic documents for your application – a valid passport, passport-sized photos, bank statements, and so on – the supporting documentation will also change as per your category. For instance, if you are applying as an inventor, the patent documents of your invention will be required, while an accreditation certificate or proof of medal will be required if you are applying as a scientist. Once you have submitted the nomination request, you will receive a notification if you are nominated for the Golden Visa. 

Key Takeaways 

The Golden Visa has attracted certain groups of people seeking residency in the UAE, opening several locked doors for them. Now that you know whatever there is to know about Golden Visa, it’s time to ponder if you can qualify for it as well. However, even if you don’t find it relevant to your interests and future plans, there are always other options that can suit your requirements. Whatever choice you make, ensure that you make a well-informed decision that is based on your requirements. 

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