In April 2022, the UAE visa residency system announced that real estate investors could obtain Golden Visa when purchasing a property worth no less than Dh2 million. This has encouraged many Dubai residents to invest or merge their properties to reach the Dh2 million milestone to be eligible for long-term residency.

Real estate industry executives and investors who got Golden Visa for buying Dh2 million worth of property acknowledge that Golden Visa motivates people to buy more and is also a great tool to retain people in Dubai post Expo 2020.

“Golden Visa is a cherry on the cake to motivate people to buy more. A golden visa is also a great tool to retain people post-Expo 2020 Dubai. People earlier used to buy one bedroom, and now they’re trying to club a deal to reach Dh2 million mark so that they can get the Golden visa,” said Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Developers.

He said demand for two-bedroom units has increased while many investors also take two one-bedrooms to reach Dh2 million.

“We have seen around 35 to 40 per cent of customers merging two properties to reach the Dh2 million milestone to get the Golden Visa. When it comes to top buyers of properties for Golden Visa, it’s mainly Europeans, Africans and nationals of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),” he said.

The company, which has set up a one-stop service to assist customers in obtaining Golden Visa, has helped arrange for around 80 customers to obtain Golden Visa.

The Dubai-based developer has launched six projects so far and aims to launch two more in July-August.

Bought property to get Golden Visa

Nigerian national Paul (name changed on request) said he bought multiple properties from different developers in Dubai, making him eligible to get a Golden Visa.

Yuan Li (also name changed on request), the Chinese national, owns three properties in Dubai. “The main reason for buying property is to get the Golden visa. I had Dh3-4 million and wanted to get Golden Visa by investing in property. I bought one unit in Downtown and two near Miracle Gardens,” said Li.

Obtaining Golden Visa through investment in real estate:

— Buy property worth Dh2 million or more

— Merge or combine properties to total up the value of Dh2 million or more

— Invest in an off-plan property worth a minimum of Dh2 million and pay instalments – this way they will not have to invest a lump sum amount at one go

— Take a loan from local banks provided the value of the property is a minimum of Dh2 million

— Married couples are making joint investments in a Dh2 million-property in order to fit in the eligibility criteria

This is applicable for properties bought from approved developers as per the announcement.

Samana CEO Imran Farooq added that overall the momentum of the Dubai real estate sector is extremely good and Golden Visa is helping to create more records in the real estate in market. In addition, the successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is also encouraging investors to select Dubai as a destination.

Ayman Youssef, vice-president, Coldwell Banker, UAE, said they get quite a good number of enquiries from clients with regards to buying a property to obtain a Golden Visa. “We foresee the Golden Visa being a great driver for investors to buy a property in UAE. In a matter of time, we will see more and more investments being made for this reason.”

Youssef added that the laws permit people to merge properties to be eligible for the Golden Visa. “This has encouraged people to invest in additional properties. E.g. If previously a person owned property less than a million they are now considering buying an additional property to make up for the remainder.”

He added that Indians, Pakistanis and Arabs are among the top nationalities applying for Golden Visas.

Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group, said Golden Visa and Residency Visas linked to property ownership are definitely attracting investment into the UAE's real estate market, although there are many other good reasons for foreigners to buy properties.

“For example, Dubai's real estate market offers one of the highest returns in terms of rental yield, in addition to the appreciating value of properties that makes investment a very lucrative proposition. Besides, the quality of life, world-class infrastructure, safe environment and global connectivity make real estate investment in the UAE an intelligent choice. Golden Visa and Residency Visas are added advantage for the investors," added Sajan.