Five things you should know about the new UAE visa laws Five things you should know about the new UAE visa laws
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Five things you should know about the new UAE visa laws

Five things you should know about the new UAE visa laws

Earlier this year, the UAE cabinet announced major changes to the UAE visa system, which will result in simplified requirements and more benefits for visitors and residents

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New UAE visa laws

Earlier this year, the UAE cabinet announced major changes to the UAE visa system, which will result in simplified requirements and more benefits for visitors and residents. The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) has approved the rules and procedures of the New Visa Scheme, officially called the UAE Entry and Residence Scheme, featuring 10 types of visas.

Visitors and residents alike can benefit from the scheme, which is an implementation of Cabinet Resolution No. 65 concerning the executive regulation of the Federal Decree-Law No. 29 of 2021 concerning the entry and residence of foreigners. A quick overview of all the changes is provided below to make it easier to keep track of all the changes, which came into effect as of October 3, 2022.

Changes to the Golden Visa
The Golden Visa, a long-term visa issued for a period of 10 years, with the aim to attract foreign investment, highly skilled workers and retaining talents, has been updated as a part of the new Visa Scheme. The eligibility requirements of applicants has expanded to investors in real estate, owners of successful startups, graduates from one of the top 100 universities worldwide and more. In addition, Golden Visa holders can sponsor an unlimited number of support service laborers, and the duration of stay outside the UAE would not nullify the Golden Visa. It is also worth noting that the Golden Visa shall also be renewable upon expiry for a consecutive period. Additionally, individuals who receive the approval to obtain a Golden Visa are now entitled to an entry permit extending for a period of 6 months with multiple entries allowed throughout the duration.

Implementation of the Green Visa
Also included within the New Visa Scheme is the Green Visa – a 5 year residency visa aimed at self-employed individuals, freelancers, investors or partners in commercial entities, as well as highly skilled workers. The Green Visa allows its holder to reside in the UAE, as well as sponsor dependents and first-degree relatives (including unmarried sons until the age of 25) without the need for a sponsor or employer. Children of determination are granted a residence permit, regardless of their age. Moreover, the grace period after the residence visa expiry or cancellation in the UAE for expats has been extended from 30 days to 6 months.

Changes to employee’s residency visas
Residence permits for employees in the UAE will now be issued for a maximum period of 2 years, rather than 3 years which was previously facilitated in many free zones across the country. This has already been announced by a number of free zones including DMCC, DDA, and DIFC, notifying entities that all visa applications, new and renewals alike, shall be converted to 2 years.

Changes to the Tourist Visa Duration
The New Visa Scheme has also amended the previous tourist visa rule, allowing individuals with a standard short-term tourist visa to remain in the UAE for 60 days, rather than the previous 30 days period. This remains subject to the visa application process and the approval of the ICP.

Entry Visa for Tourists without Sponsor Requirements
Additionally, a five-year visit visa for tourists has been included in the Scheme, and a sponsor is not required for this type of tourist visa, which will allow tourists to enter and re-enter the UAE and remain for a maximum period of 90 days, throughout the entire visa duration. Moreover, the stay may be extended, provided that it does not exceed a period of 180 days per year.

Furthermore, a job exploration visit visa has also been implemented, with the aim to attract young talents and skilled professionals seeking job opportunities in the UAE. The eligibility criteria is restricted to fresh graduates from one of the top 500 universities in the world, with a minimum educational level of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Besides, a new business entry visa will allow investors and entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities in the UAE, without the need of a sponsor. Also falling under the “no sponsor” category are relatives and friends of UAE residents and citizens who are looking to visit the country.

An entry permit will also be granted for individuals having a temporary work mission or project-based business trips, provided they are sponsored by an employer. Similarly, visas will be issued for study and training purposes for individuals looking to attend training or educational courses or internships in the UAE. The study and training visas shall be sponsored by the UAE-based educational institutions or public and private entities licensed in the country.

Omar Almasri is a corporate paralegal based at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates.

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