UAE Golden Visa

What is the UAE Golden Visa?

The United Arab Emirates Golden Residency program, or the UAE Golden Visa, is a distinguished long-term residence permit. Specific categories of foreigners can obtain a UAE Golden Visa by meeting the eligibility criteria. Eligible categories for obtaining this residency include investors, entrepreneurs, talented individuals, and specialized professionals, such as scientists, innovators, doctors, specialized software engineers, artificial intelligence experts, data scientists, and others. It also extends to outstanding intellectuals, artists, athletes, and pioneers in humanitarian work, as well as frontline crisis responders like paramedics and nurses.

The Golden Residency program, initiated by the UAE in 2019, aims to attract talented individuals and those with exceptional abilities to contribute to the country's development and create an attractive investment environment for talent and expertise. Applicants for the Golden Visa program must make a qualifying investment that contributes to the local economy. In return, the program grants all Golden Visa holders the opportunity to reside, work, study, and invest in the UAE, along with several additional benefits. The Golden Visa is a renewable residency permit that is valid for either five or ten years and does not require a sponsor.

UAE Golden Residency Categories and Options

Applicants for the UAE Golden Visa must fall into one of the eligible categories of specialized, in-demand professions. Fortunately, there are many categories for applicants to choose from. Applicants will also have several options when making their qualifying investment for the Golden Visa program. These options include investing in real estate or establishing a UAE-based company or project.

Here are the main channels through which Golden Residency can be obtained in the UAE:

Public Investments

Investors can obtain Golden Residency through a public investment in either an investment fund or a company. The options for this channel include:

  • Depositing up to 2 million Emirati Dirhams into an approved investment fund.
  • Owning a company or a share in a UAE-based company valued at least AED 2 million.
  • Owning a UAE-based company that pays annual taxes of no less than AED 250,000.
  • Owning a share in a UAE-based company, provided that the ownership percentage does not fall below the total taxes paid by the company, which must be at least AED 250,000 annually.

Real Estate Investment

Investors can obtain Golden Residency in the UAE by investing in real estate, which involves owning one or more properties in the country with a total value of at least 2 million Emirati Dirhams. These properties can include residential, commercial, or other types of real estate.


The Entrepreneur Visa is a sub-category of the UAE Golden Residency program issued to owners, founders, partners, and executive directors of leading innovative startup projects. Eligible applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Entrepreneurs who have established a successful project in the UAE with a minimum capital of AED 500,000. The project must be innovative or technological.
  • Owners or partners in a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) that generates an annual revenue of at least AED 1 million.
  • Founders of pioneering projects sold inside or outside the UAE for a minimum of AED 7 million.
  • Owners of innovative project ideas approved by an accredited business incubator or relevant authorities within the UAE that want to establish their project in the UAE.

Students and Graduates

Golden Residency is also granted to outstanding students and graduates from the UAE and abroad. The categories of eligible students for the UAE Golden Visa program include:

  • High school graduates from government or private schools in the UAE who have obtained a minimum grade average of 95/100.
  • Graduates of accredited UAE universities classified as A or B by the Ministry of Education (including bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees) who have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5/4 for A-class universities or a minimum of 3.8/4 for B-class universities.
  • Graduates of foreign universities ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide (bachelor's degree holders) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5/4.

Scientists and Specialists

This category includes individuals who excel in various vital specialties and diverse fields, such as scientists, researchers, doctors, executive managers, and specialists in business, administration, and engineering disciplines like electrical engineering, computer engineering, and communications. It also encompasses specialists in scientific fields such as genetic engineering, epidemiology, virology, astronomy, climate science, and mathematics. Additionally, it includes those specializing in the educational field and outstanding religious figures.


This category includes individuals with exceptional talents, such as innovators, inventors, individuals who excel in digital technology and artificial intelligence, and creatives in visual arts, gaming, e-sports, performing arts, crafts, design, publishing, and others. It also covers sports talents, including professional athletes or professionals in sports management or sports medicine. It can also include individuals with exceptional talents in other significant fields.

Humanitarian Pioneers

Activists in the fields of humanitarian and volunteer work can also obtain Golden Residency in the UAE if they fall under one of the following categories:

  • Members of international and regional organizations and outstanding professionals with at least five (5) years of work experience.
  • Members of civil associations and non-governmental organizations with public benefit status or distinguished professionals with at least five (5) years of experience working in those institutions.
  • Individuals who have received awards for their volunteer and humanitarian work from specialized institutions, whether at the local, regional, or international level.
  • Outstanding volunteers in humanitarian fields who have completed at least five (5) years or 500 hours of volunteer service.
  • Supporters of humanitarian work and philanthropists who donated up to AED 2 million or the equivalent in a foreign currency.

Frontline Workers

UAE Golden Residency can also be granted to individuals who work on the frontlines to address crises and disasters. This category includes nurses, paramedics, medical assistants, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, sterilization staff, crisis management staff, emergency services personnel, and security personnel. It also includes other professionals with a higher risk of infection and injury, as recognized by the Frontline Heroes Office, the body responsible for honoring and appreciating the efforts of frontline workers in the UAE.

Eligibility Criteria for UAE Golden Residency

In addition to meeting the basic eligibility criteria for the Golden Visa program, applicants must also meet specific qualifying conditions depending on the application category they fall into. For example, to obtain a Golden Residency through investment, applicants must commit to maintaining the qualifying investment for at least two years. Meanwhile, applicants from the talented and rare specialties category may need to provide a recommendation letter from the relevant authority or submit the required academic or experience certificates.

The following are the specific conditions for each category of Golden Visa applicants:

Investors in Public Investments

Applicants seeking to obtain Golden Residency through public investment funds, purchasing a UAE-based company, or purchasing UAE-based company shares must prove that the capital used to make the qualifying investment is not borrowed or mortgaged and belongs entirely to them.


To qualify for a UAE Golden Residency, entrepreneurs must obtain approval for their project from an accredited UAE-based business incubator (an institution that supports start-ups) or another specialized authority such as the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, or the Ministry of Economy.

Real Estate Investors

  • Real estate investors must prove ownership of a permanent residence in the UAE that is either owned or rented. The property must not be subject to any loans except those issued by a UAE-based bank.
  • Applicants for Golden Residency in Abu Dhabi must prove financial solvency and a monthly income of AED 10,000 or its equivalent in a foreign currency. The property must be ready and suitable for habitation.
  • In the case of Golden Residency in Dubai, applicants can qualify by purchasing properties under construction or off-plan, provided it is done through a government-approved property developer.

Scientists and Specialists

  • Applicants in this category need to prove their academic level through an accredited academic certification. They may also require a recommendation letter from a relevant authority or professional body. For example, healthcare professionals may require a recommendation from the UAE Ministry of Health.
  • A minimum monthly salary requirement of AED 30,000 may apply for specific subcategories, including skilled workers, executive managers, and business and management specialists.

Students and Graduates

  • High school graduates must obtain a recommendation from the Ministry of Education or another relevant authority, such as the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
  • University graduates must apply within two years of graduating. The graduation certificate must be accredited by the UAE Ministry of Education or another relevant authority.

Humanitarian Workers

Individuals working in humanitarian and volunteer fields must hold at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent and meet the basic application requirements.

Talented Individuals

  • Applicants in this category must demonstrate their excellence and expertise by obtaining a recommendation letter, receiving a nomination from a relevant authority, winning or being nominated for prestigious international awards, or another significant achievement.
  • The authority that issues the recommendation letter or nominations will vary depending on the field of expertise. For example, inventors require a recommendation from the Ministry of Economy, while those excelling in digital technology require a recommendation from the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence.

Frontline Heroes

To qualify for Golden Residency, frontline workers must submit a recommendation from the relevant authorities or a nomination from the UAE Frontline Heroes Office. In addition to its role in nominating outstanding frontline heroes for Golden Residency in the UAE, the Frontline Heroes Office also organizes several initiatives to support frontline workers.

In addition to the specific requirements for each category, there are some criteria that all applicants for obtaining the UAE Golden Visa need to fulfill. The following are the basic requirements for all UAE Golden Visa applicants: 

  • Valid health insurance:
    Applicants must have valid health insurance within the UAE for a minimum of one year, and is renewable.
  • Medical fitness test:
    Applicants must pass a medical fitness test to prove they are free from all infectious and contagious diseases.

The UAE Golden Visa program allows the main applicant to include certain family members in their application. The requirements for eligible dependents vary by application category.

In general, residence permits with the same duration of stay as the Golden Visa can be issued to the following family members of the main applicant:

  • Spouse.
  • Children, regardless of their age.
  • Parents.
  • Siblings (for applicants under the student category, if those siblings are dependents of the student's parent and are residing in the UAE.)

In addition to family members, investors can add senior employees to their application for UAE Golden Residency. Investors can include one executive director and one advisor who work for their UAE-based company.

Benefits of UAE Golden Visa

Holders of the UAE Golden Visa enjoy several unique benefits, most of which are not available to regular residents. Some of these benefits include:

  • Obtaining a five or ten-year renewable residency permit.
  • Residing, working, studying, and investing in the UAE without a sponsor or guarantor.
  • Flexible addition of family members, including spouses, children of all ages, parents, and siblings, for specific application categories.
  • Issuance of a valid six-month, multiple-entry visa for applicants outside the UAE to enter and complete their Golden Residency procedures within the country.
  • No maximum limit on the number of foreign domestic workers that can be brought to the UAE, and no sponsorship required for their residence.
  • Flexible residency requirements allow investors to travel outside the UAE for more than six (6) months a year while maintaining their Golden Residency.
  • In the event of the main Golden Visa holder's death, dependent family members can remain in the UAE until the expiration of their residence permits.
  • The UAE boasts a highly favorable tax system with no income tax on individuals and a range of incentives that make it an attractive destination for both businesses and residents.
  • Expanded international travel to countries that allow UAE residents to enter visa-free or with visa-on-arrival, including Albania, Georgia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Guatemala.
  • Granted an "Esaad" card, which provides holders access to special discounts at a wide range of educational, healthcare, entertainment, hospitality, travel, and retail establishments, offering savings of 20% to 70% on living expenses in the UAE.

Required Documents for UAE Golden Residency

Required documents for the UAE Golden Residency will vary depending on the applicant's unique case and the specific application category they fall into. However, some essential documents are required for nearly all applicants.

These basic required documents include:

  • Copies of a valid passport, which must be valid for at least six (6) months.
  • A recent passport-sized photograph taken in color with a white background.
  • Valid health insurance in the UAE for the principal applicant and all family members applying with them for UAE Golden Residency.
  • Documents proving family relationships, such as birth certificates for children and marriage contracts for spouses.
  • A copy of a current UAE residence visa (if applicable)
  • A copy of an Emirates ID card (if applicable)

The following are the specific required documents for each application category for the UAE Golden Visa program:

Public Investments Option

Applicants under this option must provide one of the following documents:

  • A letter from a UAE-based bank or an approved investment fund confirming a deposit of AED 2 million with a commitment to keep the deposit for two (2) years. The bank must also issue a commitment to report to the relevant authority in case the investor breaks the deposit.
  • A copy of the commercial or industrial license of the company, which is valid and accompanied by an incorporation contract confirming that the investor's share capital is at least AED 2 million.
  • An income declaration form or a letter from the Federal Tax Authority, along with a valid commercial license, to prove that either the applicant owns a company that has paid at least AED 250,000 in taxes during the two (2) years before the application OR the company shares they own are equivalent to the same amount of taxes paid during the two (2) years preceding the Golden Residency application.

Real Estate Investment Option

Applicants under this option must provide one of the following documents:

  • A letter from the relevant UAE Land Department office confirming ownership of one or more properties in the UAE with a total value of at least AED 2 million.
  • A copy of the property purchase contract indicating its value at the time of purchase or a valuation certificate from a competent authority.
  • A document proving maintaining a permanent dwelling in the UAE, such as a deed title or a lease agreement.


Entrepreneurs and owners of startup companies typically need one or more of the following documents when applying:

  • The commercial license for the startup company or an established project.
  • An approval letter or recommendation letter from an accredited UAE business incubator.
  • Financial reports audited by a certified auditor for the previous two (2) years that demonstrate the value of the project.
  • A document proving maintaining a permanent dwelling in the UAE, such as a deed title or a lease agreement.

Students and Graduates

Applicants typically need to provide one or more of the following documents when applying for Golden Residency in this category:

  • The relevant educational certificate, such as a high school diploma or a  bachelor's/master's/doctorate degree.
  • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education or the Knowledge and Human Development Authority for high school graduates or a recommendation letter from a university for university graduates.
  • Grade transcripts showing the final cumulative grade point average.
  • Degree equivalency for graduates of foreign universities.

Scientists and Specialists

Applicants typically need the following documents depending on their specialization:

  • Doctors and healthcare professionals:
    • Permission from the UAE Ministry of Health to practice medicine.
    • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Health or a local health authority in the UAE.
  • Scientists:
    • Accredited academic certificates demonstrating academic excellence from globally recognized universities.
    • A recommendation letter from the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence or another relevant authority confirming the applicant's scientific excellence.
  • Executives and professionals in business and management:
    • A certified diploma from at least the bachelor’s level. 
    • A valid work contract in the UAE.
    • A document proving that the applicant holds one of the skilled worker positions classified in the first or second professional level according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation's professional classification.
    • Salary certificate from an approved bank confirming a minimum monthly income of at least AED 30,000.
  • Specialists in the educational field:
    • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education.
    • A valid work permit in the UAE.
  • Researchers and religious scholars:
    • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Culture, Youth, or other relevant authorities in the UAE.

Exceptional Talents

Depending on the field of talent, applicants typically need the following documents:

  • Inventors:
    • A recommendation letter from the UAE Ministry of Economy or another relevant entity, such as the Abu Dhabi Competitiveness Office.
    • A registered patent for an invention or innovation that can contribute to the UAE economy.
  • Athletes:
    • A recommendation letter from a relevant UAE-based sports authority.
    • A resume and any relevant experience certificates demonstrating achievements in the sports field.
  • Cultural and artistic talents:
    • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Culture and Youth or another relevant authority.
    • A resume, previous work samples, and experience certificates demonstrating achievements in the cultural or artistic field.
    • Any documentation or records for awards or sponsorships received by the applicant.
  • Digital technology experts:
    • A recommendation letter from the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence.

Humanitarian Workers

Applicants under this category need the following documents:

  • A certified diploma from at least the bachelor’s level. 
  • A recommendation letter from the Ministry of Community Development or another relevant entity.

Frontline Workers

Applicants in this category typically require the following:

  • A recommendation letter from a relevant authority or a nomination letter from the Frontline Heroes Office.

How to Apply for UAE Golden Visa

Individuals who meet the qualifying criteria and wish to obtain a Golden Residency permit in the United Arab Emirates can easily submit their applications through the relevant government authorities and various available channels, electronically or in person.

The authorized service channels include the official website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security, as well as the UAE Identity and Citizenship Phone Application (UAEICP), Customer Happiness Centers, and approved typing offices authorized by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship in the UAE.

Those interested in obtaining Dubai Golden Visa can apply through the official website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai. Eligible individuals can also submit their applications through the Abu Dhabi Residents Office, which issues the Abu Dhabi Golden Visa.

The application process may vary depending on the application category, the location of submission, and whether the application is submitted in person or online. However, in general, most applicants will need to follow these basic steps:

  1. Access a service provider:
    Access the website or mobile application of one of the service providers or visit a personal submission center, such as Customer Happiness Centers or typing offices.
  2. Complete the application form:
    Fill out the application form for obtaining a Golden Residency or the Golden Visa Nomination, completing all required information.
  3. Submit the required documents:
    The required documents for the Golden Residency will vary depending on the category through which the application is submitted and the case's complexity.
  4. Pay the service fees:
    The fee amount may vary based on the information provided in the application.
  5. Submit the completed application:
    Once the Golden Visa application is completed and submitted, applicants will receive a tracking number that will allow applicants to monitor the status of their requests.
  6. Await a decision:
    Upon completion of the application review, the applicant will either receive an approval notification for their application, or they will be asked to provide additional documents or information.

    Typically, the processing time for Golden Residency applications ranges from two (2) to seven (7) working days but may take longer depending on the complexity of the application.

Before following the steps mentioned above, applicants from outside the UAE should apply for an entry permit. By obtaining this entry permit, they can travel to the UAE to complete the Golden Residency application procedures within the country. If approved, they will be granted a multiple-entry visa valid for a six-month stay, allowing them to proceed with their UAE Golden Visa application procedures within the UAE.

UAE Golden Visa Fees

While some eligible categories, like public investors, real estate investors, and entrepreneurs, have additional specific investment requirements for Golden Residency, all applicants for the UAE Golden Residency are also required to pay the relevant fees.

Below is a breakdown of the fees required for the Golden Visa application:

  • To obtain a five-year Golden Residency permit:
    • Residency fees: AED 2,280
    • ID fees: AED 575
  • To obtain a 10-year Golden Residency permit:
    • Residency fees: AED 2,790
    • ID fees: AED 1,070

Additionally, there are application processing fees that apply. The cost of this service may vary depending on the authority or institution through which the Golden Residency application is submitted. For example, when submitting a nomination for a Golden Residency through the official website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, Ports Security, and UAEICP, the applicant will need to pay the following fees:

  • Electronic service fees: AED 28
  • ICP fees: AED 22
  • Smart services fees: AED 100

Applicants outside the UAE who apply for a six-month, multiple-entry permit to enter the UAE to finalize their Golden Residency application procedures will need to pay the following fees for the entry permit:

  • Visa issuance fees: AED 1,000
  • Request fees: AED 100
  • Electronic service fees: AED 28
  • ICP fees: AED 22
  • Smart services fees: AED 100

Validity of UAE Golden Residency

Golden Residency permits in the United Arab Emirates are issued either for 5 years or 10 years. They can be renewed for the same duration, provided the requirements and conditions for the Golden Residency visa are maintained for the duration of the residency.

The issued duration of residency (5 or 10 years) will depend on the application category and the issuing authority of the Golden Residency. For example, real estate investors are granted a renewable five-year Golden Residency, while investors in public investments are granted a renewable 10-year Golden Residency. Similarly, high school graduates usually receive a five-year Golden Residency, while university graduates are granted a 10-year Golden Residency.

It should be noted that the Abu Dhabi Residents Office recently announced that the duration of Golden Residency for all categories, without exception, has been fixed at 10 years. Therefore, all Golden Residency visas issued by Abu Dhabi will be valid for 10 years, regardless of the category.

Furthermore, according to recent amendments to the UAE's Golden Residency program, investors will not be subject to any minimum residency requirements. Instead, they will be permitted to stay abroad for any duration while still receiving all the benefits of UAE residency by investment.

Living in the UAE

Living in the United Arab Emirates offers a unique and enriching experience for individuals who choose to reside there. It's not surprising that individuals from over 200 different nationalities live and work in the UAE, which embraces and respects diversity in all its forms. One of the foremost advantages residents in the UAE enjoy is the high standard of living, characterized by advanced infrastructure, technology, luxurious and diverse residential properties, and public services known for their speed and efficiency.

Cultural diversity and tolerance are distinctive features of life in the United Arab Emirates. The country is a melting pot for people from around the world, which results in a rich and interconnected tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions that fosters a sense of belonging among residents from various corners of the globe.

The UAE also offers a variety of living environments to suit different tastes and preferences, from iconic skyscrapers in Dubai and pristine beaches in Abu Dhabi to the unique cultural charm of Sharjah. Additionally, the country hosts unique cultural, entertainment, sports events, exhibitions, and global conferences, making it an ideal destination for visitors seeking a blend of modernity and authenticity.

The UAE has branches of several prestigious international educational and healthcare institutions. Residents and their families can access top-tier services and easily access the best international schools, universities, hospitals, and healthcare facilities without traveling abroad.

Furthermore, the UAE's favorable tax system is one of the biggest attractions for individuals and businesses to work, invest, and expand within the country. With no personal income tax and low corporate taxes, individuals and companies in the United Arab Emirates can increase their income and grow their wealth. The UAE's prominent status as one of the world's major economic centers offers investors many profitable opportunities, especially in the flourishing real estate market.

Whether the goal of moving to live in the UAE is to enjoy a high-quality life, join a culturally diverse community, access world-class education and healthcare services, or seize lucrative investment and growth opportunities, the United Arab Emirates fulfills its promises of providing all these benefits and more to its residents.

Through the Golden Residency program, investors and individuals with unique talents and expertise can expedite their path to achieving their goals and aspirations by moving to live in the UAE and benefiting from all these advantages. Furthermore, they can expand their international travel mobility and open up new prospects for a better future for themselves and their families.


Does the Golden Residency lead to acquiring UAE citizenship and a UAE passport?

No, the UAE Golden Residency program does not grant holders the right to obtain Emirati citizenship or a UAE passport. However, Golden Residency does provide holders with long-term residence permits that allow them to live, work, study, and invest in the UAE.

Does the Golden Residency program offer the opportunity to obtain permanent residency in the UAE?

The UAE's Golden Residency program offers successful applicants long-term residence permits, which are available for either 5 or 10 years. Holders of Golden Residency permits can renew them for the same duration, provided they consistently meet the qualifying conditions throughout their residency. Consequently, Golden Residency holders can enjoy permanent residency in the UAE as long as they maintain their eligibility for permit renewals.

What is the difference between Golden Residency, Green Residency, and Standard Residency Visa in the UAE?

Golden Residency is a long-term residence permit in the UAE, which is available for either 5 or 10 years and is renewable. It is granted to investors and individuals with exceptional talents and specialties, offering them many benefits in the UAE.
Green Residency is also a renewable, long-term residence permit for up to 5 years. It is granted to freelancers and skilled employees and does not require a specific sponsor or employer. It also offers more advantages than those granted to standard residents but fewer than Golden Residents.
A Standard Work Residency is a basic short-term residency, typically requiring renewal every two (2) or three (3) years. Applicants must have a valid employment contract with an employer in the UAE.

How can I determine if I am eligible for Golden Residency?

You can check whether you are eligible for Golden Residency in the UAE through the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship and Customs and Port Security. You can also refer to the details of the eligible categories and the conditions required for each category on our website.

Is the Dubai Golden Visa different from the Abu Dhabi Golden Visa?

While there may be slight differences in the application process due to variations in the application platforms, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi Golden Residency programs offer essentially the same benefits.

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