Your guide to the UAE’s new visa reforms starting from September
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Your guide to the UAE’s new visa reforms

Your guide to the UAE’s new visa reforms

Looking forward to the new UAE visas rules rolling out next month? Here’s what’s on offer for tourists, residents, professionals and entrepreneurs

New UAE visas to be introduced from September 2022

The visa reforms announced by the UAE government in April this year, making the country an even more desirable location for businesses, investors and tourists.

The visa system amendments will simplify procedures for visitors, families, skilled professionals and more and represent the most significant changes to the UAE’s visa system in decades.

According to a tweet from the UAE government, these changes will boost competitiveness as the country is actively growing its knowledge economy. Additionally, the country is looking to build on the momentum generated by changes in legal regulations across critical sectors. In fact, according to the World Bank’s 2021 annual ratings, the UAE ranked 17 among 190 countries in the ease of doing business. Reports also suggest that the UAE’s job market is flourishing with 9 per cent growth in the private sector – and of course, Dubai has long been a top tourism destination.

These measures are intended to relax some restrictions regarding residency and stimulate foreign investment. In addition, they reflect the country’s ambition to build an innovative, sustainable future and attract people with the talent and skills required to realise that goal.

Residency in the UAE
Under the new residency visa system, different types of visas are available for working, studying, investing, and living in the UAE. These new visas include:

  • Golden Visa: To attract skilled professionals and investors, the UAE has expanded the Golden Visa’s various categories to welcome more applicants with changes like lowering the real estate minimum investment to Dhs2m, including startup owners, scientists, skilled workers, exceptional talent and students.
  • Green Visa: This new five-year visa allows skilled workers, the self-employed and freelancers to sponsor their families without a sponsor or employer. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and a minimum salary of Dhs15,000.
  • Business Visa: This new category allows investors and entrepreneurs to obtain visas without a sponsor or host.
  • Temporary Work Visa: Professionals or workers travelling to the UAE for short-term work projects or assignments can apply under this new category. A temporary contract or letter from the employer with proof of fitness is required.
  • Family Visa: The new regulations allow parents to sponsor their children’s visas indefinitely for unmarried females and up to age 25 for males.
  • Tourist Visa: One of the most anticipated changes is that tourist visas will now be valid for 60 days. Additionally, a new multi-entry will be introduced, granting multiple entries for visitors and the ability to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days. Those 90 days can be extended; however, the visa is limited to 180 days a year. Applicants should have a bank balance of $4,000 (Dhs14,700) or its equivalent in foreign currency six months before applying.
  • Visas for training/education: Students interested in attending courses, internships or training in the UAE can be sponsored by public or private sector educational institutions; however, a letter of clarification with the program’s details and duration is required.
  • Visa to visit a relative/friend: Foreigners can apply for a visa without a sponsor if their relative or friend is a UAE citizen or resident.
  • Job Visa: Fresh graduates with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent who are looking to build their career in the UAE can apply for this new visa, which doesn’t require a host or sponsor.

Industries set to flourish
The UAE government’s new visa system will catalyse growth and new opportunities across every sector, especially investment, tourism, and real estate. These significant reforms are flexible and progressive. They will provide more options than ever and are set to boost the economy, ushering in a massive increase in foreign direct investments. After the Coronavirus-19 pandemic, it is increasingly imperative for all countries and industries to adapt to the new ways of the world. In addition, the new visa reforms will further the UAE’s mission to remain one of the world’s leading destinations.

Libbi Burtinshaw is the operations manager for PRO Partner Group

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