Dubai has announced it will grant cultural visas to 1,000 creators and artists from across the world. 

The announcement was made on Tuesday by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, as part of the first-of-its-kind cultural visa initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 2019.

Since the visa was first announced, Dubai Culture received 261 cultural visa applications from individuals hailing from 46 nations. A total of 120 applicants have met the required and optional criteria. A majority of these applicants have been issued visas as well, while the remaining are currently under process.

The initiative was launched in a bid to position the fast-developing emirate as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a hub for talent.

Hala Badri, Director-General of Dubai Culture, said: “Dubai provides a stimulating and supportive environment for creativity and creators. Its contributions have helped raise the UAE’s position in the global cultural landscape by attracting exceptional writers, artists and creators."

She added that establishing Dubai as a hub for outstanding Arab and international creative talent is part of the leadership's endeavour to attract talent and give them opportunities to prosper and participate in the UAE’s development.

“The long-term cultural visa provides talented people with a stable base in Dubai and contributes to enhancing the emirate’s growth by stimulating the creative economy," Badri said.

"This will result in creating more jobs in the sector, especially as Dubai has a strong cultural foundation and diverse creative sectors that offer attractive opportunities to intellectuals and creative people. Enabling more eligible individuals to receive this visa has always been part of this pioneering initiative’s strategic plan."

Eligibility criteria

Applications are accepted if they meet terms and conditions and key criteria. These relate to:

  • Years of residency in the country
  • Record of knowledge-related and creative achievements
  • Willingness to meet optional conditions and pledges for each category, including a pledge to contribute 36 hours of service to the community in the UAE in creative or artistic capacities

The initiative will allow visa holders to automatically renew their permits without an Emirati sponsor.

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