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Life in the UAE

Visa & Immigration

Learn below how you can live legitimately in the UAE.

Become a resident of the UAE

  • Get employed by a company in the UAE.
  • Find an employer in the government sector.
  • Become an investor in a business in the UAE.
  • Buy a property in the UAE.
  • As dependents of employees, investor/business owners or property owners in the UAE. Dependents include children, parents, maids on close relatives.
  • Study at an university in the UAE.
  • Retire as a resident; special conditions apply.

The sponsors (company, government entity, university etc) will apply and sponsor your residence visa.

Residence visas are issued when you are already inside the country after entering the UAE via an entry permit, tourist or visit visa.

Requirements for getting a residence visa

A residence visa requires you to undergo a medical test to prove that you are medically fit. You must also pass a security check and apply for an Emirates ID card from Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Validity of the visa

The validity of a residence visa varies according to its type and the sponsor. It can be valid for 1, 2 or 3 years. A residence visa can also be issued for 5 and 10 years now under certain conditions.

Who get’s a three-year visa?

Generally free zone visas are valid for three years.

The UAE has approximately 45 free zones. The requirements regarding visa duration might differ from one free zone to another. In the Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain Free Zone employees get two-year visas, while investors and partners get three-year visas.

Not every employee in a free zone company is eligible to sponsor their family. It depends on the salary and on the occupation mentioned in the visa.

Employees in government sectors and semi-government companies get three-year visas.

Investors and partners in UAE companies also get three-year visas.

So, while most foreign residents get a two-year visa, there are some, who get a three-year visa.

Use the benefits of being a legitimate resident

  • Open a bank account.
  • Access financial facilities.
  • Apply for a driving licence.
  • Access government health services and health insurance.
  • Register your children in government and in private schools.
  • You can work and invest.
  • Travel visa–free to several destinations.

Apply for long-term residence visas

The UAE implemented a new system for long-term residence visas. The system enables you to live, work and study without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of your business on the UAE’s mainland. These visas will be valid for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.

Eligibility criteria for a 10-year visa

Make a public investment of at least AED 10 million

  • Deposit at least AED 10 million in an investment fund in the UAE.
  • Establish a company with a capital of not less than AED 10 million.
  • Partner in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than AED10 million.
  • Have a total investment of not less than AED 10 million in the areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate should be at least 60 per cent of the total investment.

Check out the conditions:

Persons with specialised talents

Your are eligible, if you possess a specialised talent or are researcher in science and knowledge. Doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, and creative persons in culture and art get granted a 10-year visa, if they fulfil certain conditions.

Learn more on below link:

Eligibility criteria for a 5-year visa

Invest in a property in the UAE

Get the visa granted under following conditions:

  • You must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million.
  • The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis.
  • Retain the property for at least three years.


You should have an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000 or 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 visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.

Outstanding Students

  • Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 per cent in public and private secondary schools are entitled.
  • University students in- and outside the UAE with a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.

Long-term visa includes families of the outstanding students.

For inquiries regarding visas, please contact the Federal Authority for Identity and citizenship (ICA) at the toll free number 600522222 inside the UAE or through ICA’s website:

Business golden visa platform

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship launched the electronic platform,, for applying for business visa, which is a part of the Golden Visa system. Professionals with entrepreneurial experience are eligible to apply for the business visa to set up their own businesses in the UAE.

Applicants may submit official documents of their projects through the website for obtaining the golden visa. Government entities concerned will review the applications and attachments to ensure they fulfil the conditions required.

Related eServices (Golden Services)

  • You can apply for a 6 months multi-entry visa to complete procedures for residency of an investor.
  • Apply for a 6 months multi-entry visa to complete long-term residency procedures for entrepeneurs and/or outstanding students.
  • Apply for a 6 months single entry visa to complete the residency procedures for talented individuals.

Reasons your visa could get rejected

  • a previous residence visa issued under your name without cancelling it
  • passports with handwritten entries
  • your passport is issued more than 10 years ago
  • previous criminal offences committed in the UAE
  • typos in the name or passport number
  • unclear passport copies or photographs