How to Become a Resident of the UAE

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To legally reside in the UAE for an extended period, a foreigner will require a special visa. It is valid from one to ten years, depending on the method of obtaining it. Long-term residency permits can be obtained by foreigners working for local companies, students, investors, and businessmen. Knowing how to become a resident of the UAE and correctly processing all the documents allows one to live, study, and work in this country. Foreigners can only apply for citizenship after 30 years.

What Dubai residency offers to Russians

Residency in the UAE is analogous to a European residency permit. This status provides the following opportunities:

  • Stay in the country for an extended period.
  • Enter and exit the Emirates freely.
  • Access banking services.
  • Become a tax resident.
  • Engage in entrepreneurial activities.
  • Work.
  • Study.
  • Enroll children in school.
  • Obtain health insurance.

Obtain a driver's license.

  • Additionally, residents have the right to invite relatives to the UAE.

Citizens of this Arab country receive free medical services, but residents do not have this option. The same applies to education. The problem is that foreigners are not entitled to citizenship.

What is a UAE residency visa

Since the country's legislation does not provide for either residency or permanent residence permits, the resident status is designed to compensate for this gap. After the document's expiration, foreigners can renew it. This can be done multiple times.

Types of residency visas

The UAE offers several types of visa documents.

Property purchase

To obtain a two-year residency visa, a foreigner must buy property in Dubai. There is a minimum price for it - 750 thousand dirhams, which is just over 200 thousand US dollars. If a foreigner retains ownership of the property, they can extend the document for another two years. This can be done multiple times.

If a foreigner purchases property in the UAE for 2 million dirhams (545 thousand dollars), they can become a resident for ten years, receiving the so-called "Golden Visa."

There is a separate program for retirees - people over 55 years old. Its conditions include 15 years of residency in the UAE, property purchase for 1 million dirhams (about 272 thousand dollars), and a monthly income of 20 thousand dirhams. In this case, the duration of stay becomes five years.

When starting a business, there are three types of documents for entrepreneurs:

  • A ten-year residency visa. The requirement for obtaining it is the opening of a company in the UAE with a capital of 2 million dirhams (about 550 thousand dollars).
  • A five-year residency visa. A foreigner becomes a resident if they initiate an innovative project. An independent auditor in the UAE must evaluate the company for at least half a million dirhams (136 thousand dollars). It is also important to obtain the support of the authorities of any emirate.
  • A two-year visa. This visa is granted to those who have registered a business in a free zone. Another option is to open a local company. The requirements for the capital depend on the free zone. It is worth noting that in some free zones, there is no minimum investment requirement specified.

Work visas

A work permit is issued only after the employer's request, who has confirmed the legality of doing business in the UAE. In this case, this company becomes the only possible place of employment for the foreigner. Only qualified specialists can apply for a work visa. A copy of the documents confirming their professional skills is submitted along with the standard paperwork.

For pensioners

Dubai has a Retire in Dubai program that citizens of various countries, including Russia, who are already 55 years old, can take advantage of. A retiree becomes a resident by meeting one of the following conditions:

  • A monthly income of at least 20 thousand dirhams (about 5.5 thousand dollars), which can be a pension or other payments.
  • Having a deposit in a bank for three years, with a minimum amount of 1 million dirhams (approximately 275 thousand dollars).
  • Purchase of real estate (excluding under construction) worth 2 million dirhams (550 thousand dollars) without financing.
  • The amount in a three-year fixed deposit together with the value of real estate (without mortgage financing) is 2 million dirhams, with the price of real estate not less than 1 million dirhams.

Previously, mandatory medical insurance was a requirement for obtaining a retirement visa. Now, however, a policy can be obtained after the foreigner becomes a resident.

Duration of UAE Residency Visa

There are several time periods for which a resident visa in the Emirates can be obtained.

1 year

A one-year stay is possible for students. In this case, the document is renewed every year for the duration of the study.

2 or 3 years

Obtaining a two-year visa is the easiest for a foreigner. To do this, they just need to get a job in a local company, and the company provides a work visa for two years with the possibility of extension. Additionally, a two-year visa is issued after purchasing real estate in Dubai for a minimum of $205,000. The document can be renewed an unlimited number of times as long as the purchased property is retained. Buying property becomes an opportunity to obtain entry permits for the investor's entire family.

As for the three-year visa, it is no longer possible to obtain it. The government of the emirate abolished the document with this duration last autumn.

5 years – "Green Visa"

The "Green Visa" is a new type of permit document introduced in October 2022. It operates as an experiment. The document allows a foreigner to independently maintain financial well-being, i.e., without an employer or sponsor.

There are three groups of people targeted by this program:

  • Investors who have invested at least $270,000 in the UAE.
  • Qualified workers with salaries starting from $4,000 per month.
  • Freelancers who have obtained permission for their activities and have earned at least $90,000 over two years.

10 years – "Golden Visa"

The longest stay in the UAE can be claimed by:

  • Foreigners who have purchased real estate worth 2 million dirhams or more. To be able to extend the document further, the property cannot be sold for another three years.
  • Investors who have invested at least 10 million dirhams in the country's economy. This can be a bank deposit, opening a company, or other investment methods.
  • High-level professionals in certain professions. Ten-year residency can be obtained by healthcare workers, scientists, cultural figures, top managers of well-known international companies and institutions. Only foreigners who have signed a work contract in the UAE can become residents.

All these documents are multiple-entry, meaning they can be renewed.

Who can obtain a residency visa

The following individuals can obtain a residency permit:

  • Those employed by a company registered in the Emirates.
  • Local university students.
  • Investors who have opened a business in a free zone.
  • Investors who have purchased real estate.
  • Foreigners who have made significant investments in the UAE economy.
  • Prominent scientists.
  • Pensioners with high income.
  • Freelancers with a certain level of income.

In addition, family members of male residents become eligible to move to the UAE. This includes wives, unmarried daughters, minor sons, and parents.

If a resident brings their relatives into the country, they become their sponsor. This means that they must be able to support them with a minimum of $1,090 each.

Stages of obtaining a residency visa

There are several steps that a foreigner goes through when becoming a resident.

Arrival in the UAE

First, you need to obtain entry permission before arriving in the Emirates. Upon arrival in the country, you must undergo iris scanning and photography. Upon entry into the country, the foreigner must provide their details to the relevant authorities.

Medical tests

After that, the foreigner undergoes a medical examination, which takes place at an authorized medical facility. This is done to rule out any diseases that would prevent obtaining a residency visa. This includes blood tests and X-rays.

This stage takes up to four days. After receiving the test results, the medical facility issues a certificate (if no diseases are detected).


In addition, the foreigner needs to obtain an electronic identity card with their biometric and passport data.

There are many options for foreigners to obtain a residency visa. Most of them are related to investing in the UAE economy. However, long-term residency permits can also be obtained by workers, cultural figures, and students. The Level Consulting company has many years of experience in opening and relocating businesses in the UAE. Our experts are well acquainted with all the intricacies of preparing legal documents for residence and conducting business in this country. We are committed to quickly solving our clients' tasks and support them until they achieve results.

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