How to apply for a UAE residency visa in 2024?

residency visa

Image by Aum Global from Pixabay

The United Arab Emirates has emerged as a prime destination for expatriates seeking unparalleled opportunities and an enviable lifestyle. Obtaining a UAE residence visa is the gateway to this vibrant nation, granting long-term residency and a host of privileges. Whether you’re an investor, entrepreneur, skilled professional, student, or retiree, the UAE offers tailored visa options to cater to diverse aspirations.

This comprehensive guide delves into the intricate details of UAE residence visas, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate the process seamlessly. Discover the eligibility criteria, application procedures, validity periods, and associated costs for each visa category. Gain insights into the advantages of UAE residency, from tax benefits to access to world-class healthcare and education.

Eligibility Criteria for UAE Residence Visas

To qualify for a UAE residence visa, you must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Employment: Securing a job with a UAE-based company or government entity.
  • Investment: Making a substantial investment in real estate, business ventures, or government-approved funds.
  • Entrepreneurship: Establishing an innovative business or joining a startup incubator.
  • Education: Enrolling in a UAE-accredited educational institution.
  • Family Ties: Being a dependent of a UAE citizen or an existing resident.
  • Retirement: Meeting the financial requirements for retirement in the UAE.
  • Specialized Talent: Possessing exceptional skills in fields like science, art, medicine, or sports.

Types of UAE Residence Visas

The UAE offers a diverse range of residence visa options to cater to various needs and circumstances:

Employment Visa

Foreigners with long-term employment contracts in the UAE are eligible for this visa. The validity period aligns with the duration of the employment contract, typically one year, and is renewable.

Investor Visa

Investors can obtain residence visas by purchasing residential or commercial properties worth a minimum of AED 750,000 (approximately $204,000) for a 2-year visa or AED 2,000,000 (around $544,500) for a 10-year visa.

Entrepreneur Visa

Entrepreneurs can secure a 5-year visa by establishing an innovative company with a minimum investment of AED 500,000 (around $136,000). A 10-year visa is available for those investing AED 2,000,000 or more, joining a startup incubator, owning a company with a minimum yearly revenue of AED 1,000,000 (approximately $272,280), or selling a company for at least AED 7,000,000 (around $1,900,000).

Student Visa

International students over 18 years old, enrolled in UAE-accredited universities, can obtain a student visa valid for one year. Outstanding academic achievers may be eligible for long-term residence visas of 5 to 10 years.

Freelancer Visa

Remote workers and freelancers can acquire a one-year residence visa by obtaining a professional license from a UAE-free zone. This visa allows them to work for foreign companies or as self-employed individuals while residing in the UAE.

Retirement Visa

Retirees aged 55 and above can apply for a 5-year retirement visa if they meet specific financial criteria, such as receiving a monthly pension of at least AED 15,000 (around $4,100), holding a deposit of AED 1,000,000 (approximately $275,000) for at least three years, or investing in properties worth a minimum of AED 1,000,000.

Specialist Talent Visa

Scientists, medical professionals, educators, inventors, artists, and sportspeople with exceptional talents can obtain a 10-year residence visa by meeting the UAE’s stringent accreditation requirements in their respective fields.

Application Process

The application process for a UAE residence visa typically involves the following steps:

  1. Entry Permit: Your sponsor (employer, educational institution, family member, or self) must obtain an entry permit for you before you enter the UAE.
  2. Residency Application: Once in the UAE, your sponsor applies for your residence visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) or the relevant free zone authority.
  3. Document Submission: Provide the required documents, which may include a valid passport, entry permit, proof of sponsorship, medical fitness certificates, and other supporting documents specific to your visa category.
  4. Visa Issuance: Upon approval, your residence visa will be stamped in your passport, and you will receive an Emirates ID card valid for the visa duration.

The required documents may vary depending on the visa category and the issuing authority. It is essential to carefully review and comply with the specific requirements to ensure a smooth application process.

UAE visaImage by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Visa Validity and Renewal

The validity period of UAE residence visas varies according to the visa type:

  • Employment Visa: Valid for the duration of the employment contract, typically two years.
  • Investor Visa: 2 years for investments starting from AED 750,000, or 10 years for investments of AED 2,000,000 or more.
  • Entrepreneur Visa: 5 years for investments of AED 500,000, or 10 years for higher investment amounts or specific business criteria.
  • Student Visa: Valid for two years, with the possibility of long-term visas for outstanding academic achievements.
  • Freelancer Visa: Valid for two years and renewable.
  • Retirement Visa: Valid for 5 years.
  • Specialist Talent Visa: Valid for 10 years.
  • Parents Visa :Valid for one year.
  • Dependants Visa: Valid for two years.

Renewal procedures typically involve submitting updated documents, undergoing medical examinations, and paying the applicable fees. It is crucial to initiate the renewal process within the specified timeframe to avoid overstaying penalties.

Benefits of UAE Residency

Obtaining a UAE residence visa unlocks a multitude of advantages, including:

  • Business-Friendly Environment: The UAE offers grants, financing facilities, and supportive initiatives for businesses, particularly in industrial sectors like IT, construction, and healthcare technologies.
  • Favorable Tax Policies: Individuals do not pay income tax, and the corporate tax rate is a modest 9% for companies earning more than AED 375,000 (approximately $102,000) annually.
  • High Quality of Life: Residents enjoy a stable economy, ample job opportunities, tax-free income, high-quality public services, a safe and culturally diverse environment, and a vibrant expat community.
  • World-Class Education: The UAE boasts several internationally recognized universities, providing access to top-notch educational opportunities.
  • Advanced Healthcare: The UAE ranks among the top 20 countries with the most modern and innovative healthcare systems, offering residents access to high-quality medical services.
  • Property Ownership: Foreign UAE residents can purchase properties on a mortgage, with minimum down payments of 20% and maximum loan amounts of AED 10,000,000 (around $2,700,000).

UAE Residence Visa Cancellation

If you need to cancel your UAE residence visa, the process involves your visa sponsor initiating the cancellation procedure. This can be done through the issuing authority, such as the GDRFA or the respective free zone authority.

The cancellation process typically requires submitting the original passport, Emirates ID, labor card (if applicable), and a signed visa cancellation paper from the sponsor. It is essential to follow the specific guidelines and procedures outlined by the relevant authority to ensure a smooth cancellation process.


Securing a UAE residence visa opens up a world of opportunities and privileges in this dynamic and prosperous nation. Whether you’re an investor, entrepreneur, skilled professional, student, or retiree, the UAE offers tailored visa options to cater to your unique aspirations.

By understanding the eligibility criteria, application processes, and associated benefits, you can embark on the journey towards long-term residency in the UAE with confidence. Embrace the vibrant culture, business-friendly environment, and unparalleled lifestyle that the UAE has to offer, and unlock a future filled with endless possibilities.

Profound Business Service, located on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, is a premier provider of visa processing solutions. With our state-of-the-art Amer and DET centers in-house, we guarantee a transparent, efficient, and swift process for obtaining UAE Residency Visas. Our dedication to excellence ensures that clients experience a seamless journey from application to approval. Backed by our expert team, we navigate the intricacies of visa processing with precision and professionalism. Trust Profound to handle your visa requirements, allowing you to embark on your residency journey in the UAE confidently and hassle-free.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts.


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