The UAE on Monday announced the largest set of reforms and updates to its entry and residency schemes. The new system covers entry visas, new residency options and an expanded Golden Visas (long-term residency) scheme.

The country has made major improvements to its residency system, introducing new five-year permits called the Green Visa. The system will offer longer, flexible grace periods that reach up to six months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired.

In addition to the Golden Visa, the government has detailed 10 residency schemes under four categories:

Category 1: Work

It’s the typical work visa issued for two years.

5-year residency does not require a sponsor or employer. Applicants should have a valid employment contract, and classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and their salary should not be less than Dh15,000.

This scheme supports flexible work models. The 5-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals does not require a sponsor or employer. The applicant would need to a obtain a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level should be bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma, and the annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than Dh360,000. Alternatively, the applicant may prove financial solvency throughout his/her stay in the country.

Category 2: Investment

5-year residency for investors to establish or participate in commercial activities. Previously, residency for this category was for two years only. Applicants would need to furnish approval and proof of the investment.

Category 3: Education

This two-year residency is for students enrolled in educational entities. It’s sponsored by a licensed educational establishment in the UAE.

Category 4: Live

UAE residents can sponsor his/her family members, including sons till the age of 25 and unmarried daughters regardless of their age. Children of determination are granted a residence permit regardless of age. Green Visa holders can sponsor first degree relatives. The duration of family members’ residency shall be the same as their sponsors’.

It’s a five-year visa. Previously, authorities had announced some criteria to obtain the residency, including investments or an active income.


The one-year visa allows holders to live in the UAE while they work for an employer outside the UAE.

It’s a two-year residency.

Residency permits are issued to three categories:

- A female resident whose husband passed away and she has a child or more

- UAE citizens’ parents or children who hold foreign passports

- GCC citizens’ spouse or children who hold foreign passports.

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