UAE Residence Visa Types: All You Need to Know

Dreaming of a life in the city of Dubai? Well, you’re not alone. The UAE has become a beacon for individuals worldwide seeking unparalleled opportunities, dynamic lifestyles, and a vibrant cultural melting pot. And what better way to make Dubai your home than by securing a UAE residence visa?

In recent years, the UAE has introduced a variety of residency visa options, catering to diverse aspirations and lifestyles. From the Golden Visa to specialized visas for investors, retirees, and even remote workers, the UAE offers a pathway for every dreamer.


IFZA Official

Jump To What Interests You the Most:

1. Who Can Apply for a UAE Residence Visa?

Let’s begin by understand who can apply for a UAE residence visa. To eligible, you must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Employment: If you are employed by a governmental office or private company in the UAE.
    • Education: If you are enrolled in a UAE educational institution.
    • Dependent: If you are a dependent of a UAE citizen or foreign resident, such as a child, parent, maid, or close relative.
    • Investment: If you have made a significant investment in the UAE.
    • Property Ownership: If you have purchased property in the UAE.
    • Retirement: If you plan to retire in the UAE.

Meeting any of these requirements qualifies you for a UAE Residence Visa, granting you the opportunity to reside legally in the country.

2. Types of Residency Visa

The UAE offers various residency options for foreigners, here are some of the most common types:

UAE 10-Year Golden Visa

The UAE offers a 10-year residency visa for investors, commonly known as the Golden Visa. To qualify for this visa, there are specific requirements you need to meet:


  1. Investors in Public Investments

Foreign investors seeking a 10-year golden visa must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Submission of a letter from an investment fund accredited in the UAE confirming the investor’s deposit of AED 2 million, or
  • Submission of a valid commercial or industrial license along with a memorandum of association indicating the investor’s capital is not less than AED 2 million.
  • Submission of a letter from the Federal Tax Authority confirming that the investor pays the government a minimum of AED 250,000 annually.
  • For licenses issued from free zones, a “To Whom It May Concern Certificate” from the relevant free zone authorities is necessary.

Additionally, the investor must demonstrate:

  • Complete ownership of the invested capital (not acquired through a loan).
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage for themselves and their family, if applicable.
  1. Real Estate Investors

For real estate investors, owning property or a group of properties can lead to eligibility for a 5-year Golden visa, which is renewable under the same conditions and without a sponsor. To qualify, you must:

  • Obtain a letter from the land department of the respective emirate confirming ownership of one or more properties valued at no less than 2 million dirhams.
  • Purchase property using a loan from specific local banks approved by the competent local entity.

The family members of the Real Estate Investor (spouse, unmarried daughters and unmarried sons) may also apply for a Golden Visa for a period of 5 years.

  1. Entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs, obtaining a Golden visa for a 5-year period is possible if you own an economic project of a technical or future-oriented nature, emphasizing risk and innovation. To qualify, you need approval letters from each of the following:

  • A UAE-based auditor certifying that the project’s value is at least 500,000 dirhams.
  • Authorities in the respective emirate confirming that the project aligns with technical or future-oriented criteria.
  • An accredited business incubator in the UAE to establish the proposed activity within the country.
  1. Humanitarian Pioneers

Pioneers of humanitarian endeavours may qualify for a 10-year Golden visa if they fall into the following categories:

  • Members and exceptional employees with a minimum of five years of service in international and regional organizations.
  • Members and distinguished employees with a minimum of five years of service in civil associations and institutions of public interest.
  • Individuals recognized by local, regional, or international organizations dedicated to humanitarian efforts.
  • Funders of humanitarian initiatives, provided their support is valued at no less than two million UAE dirhams or its equivalent.
  1. Frontliners

The golden visa is also extended to health professionals who have served on the frontlines to safeguard the UAE community in times of need, including public officials who serve as the first line of defense, such as nurses, paramedics, medical assistants, laboratory technicians, and pharmacists technicians, and others. The 10-year residence period may be extended if the exact requirements are met.

  1. People with Exceptional Talents

Outstanding specialized talents encompass cover various fields such as medicine, science, arts, and engineering, among others. Qualifying individuals may obtain a 10-year Golden visa by fulfilling specific requirements for each category:

  • Doctors and scientists need approval from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (for doctors) or recognition from relevant scientific bodies.
  • Inventors require a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Economy validating the economic value of their patents.
  • Creative individuals in culture and art must secure approval from the respective emirate’s department of culture and arts.
  • Executive directors need to provide proof of education, five years of relevant experience, a minimum salary of AED 50,000, and a valid work contract.
  • Athletes require a recommendation letter from the General Sports Authority or sports councils.
  • Specialists in engineering and science must present certified degrees and a valid work contract from the Ministry of Education.
  1. Skilled Workers

A specific criteria is also set for skilled workers who can meet the following:

  • They have a valid work contract in the UAE
  • Their positions are classified as belonging to either the MOHRE Skill Level 1 or 2
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree
  • Monthly salary of at least AED 30,000
  • Active licenses for professions that require this, for example, teachers, doctors, pharmacists, and others.
  1. Students

Outstanding students, whether in high school or university, can obtain a Golden visa for a significant duration:

High School Students:

National-level toppers with a minimum grade of 95% may receive a 5-year Golden visa.

Requirements include a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education (Emirates Schools Establishment).

Visa duration may extend if enrolled in majors/colleges with study periods exceeding five years.

University Students:

Exceptional university students may secure a 10-year Golden visa without a sponsor.

Eligibility criteria include attending A or B class-rated universities by the Ministry of Education.

Submission of a recommendation letter from the university or an accredited academic record with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 for A class universities and 3.8 for B class universities is necessary.

Graduation should not exceed two years.

Outstanding Students of Foreign Universities:

Graduates from top 100 global universities recognized by the Ministry of Education can obtain a 10-year Golden visa.

Conditions entail maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and graduating within two years.

The graduation certificate must be accredited by the Ministry of EducationTop of Form


Once obtained, this visa is valid for 10 years and will be renewed automatically.

UAE Green Visa

The UAE has introduced the Green Visa, aimed at attracting highly skilled professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, and students to the country. It’s a type of investment and employment visa suitable for various cases.


  • Long-term residency
  • Ability to sponsor family members
  • Freedom to work for any UAE-based company or establish a business
  • Access to healthcare, education, and other government services
  • Flexible grace period of up to 6 months after the end or cancellation of the residency visa
  • Ability to bring first-degree relatives


Part of UAE’s efforts to diversify its economy, attract foreign investment and talent, and become a global hub for innovation and sustainability.


  1. Talented people, skilled professionals/employees, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

The Green visa is available to freelancers, self-employed individuals, and skilled employees who meet specific criteria:

Freelancers and/or self-employed individuals must provide:

  • A freelance/self-employment permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
  • Proof of a bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma.
  • Documentation demonstrating annual income from self-employment for the previous two years, totaling at least AED 360,000, or evidence of financial stability for the duration of their stay in the UAE.

Skilled employees applying for the Green visa must:

  • Possess a valid employment contract.
  • Be classified in the first, second, or third occupational level according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
  • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification.
  • Have a minimum monthly salary of AED 15,000.


  • Provides 5-year residence in the UAE for all eligible parties.

UAE Retirement Visa

If you’re over 55 and considering retiring in the UAE, you can apply for a retirement visa. Here’s what you need to know:


To qualify, you need to meet one of these criteria:

  • Have a minimum of 15 years of work experience, either within or outside the UAE, or be aged 55 years or above at the time of retirement.
  • Possess property or properties valued at no less than AED 1 million.
  • Maintain financial savings of no less than AED 1 million.
  • Demonstrate a monthly income of AED 20,000 (AED 15,000 per month for Dubai).


You’ll need copies of:

  • Passport (applicant and dependents, if any)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Current UAE residency visa
  • Emirates ID

Additional documents required depending on your case:

Real estate investment

  • Copy of title deed


  • Proof of retirement letter
  • Proof of savings in UAE letter

Fixed income

  • Proof of retirement letter
  • Proof of income letter
  • 6-month bank statement
  • Property investment and savings:
  • Copy of title deed
  • Proof of savings letter


Once obtained, the UAE retirement visa is valid for 5 years and can be renewed.

UAE Employment Visa

Foreign nationals working in the UAE can obtain a residency visa sponsored by their employer. This visa allows them to live and work legally in the country.


The employer serves as the sponsor for the visa. Employers can be private entities in the mainland or free zones, or government-owned facilities.


For mainland company employees, the following documents are required:


  • Trade License
  • Company Immigration Card
  • Company Labour Card


  • Passport
  • Personal photo (white background)
  • Education certificate
  • Previous residency visa (if applicable)
  • Previous Emirates ID (if applicable)
  • Tourist Visa (if applicable)
  • DHA-approved health insurance

For free zone company or government entity employees, the required documents are:


  • Online visa application
  • Trade License
  • Company Immigration Card
  • Office Lease Agreement


  • Passport
  • Personal photo (white background)
  • Copy of offer letter/appointment letter
  • Education certificate
  • Previous residency visa (if applicable)
  • Previous Emirates ID (if applicable)
  • Tourist Visa (if applicable)
  • DHA-approved health insurance

UAE Company Investor Visa

Foreigners who own or hold shares in a company in the UAE can obtain this residency visa. It’s also for expats starting their own businesses in the country.

This visa allows its holder to live and work legally in the UAE for its duration.


For investing in a mainland company, you need these copies:


  • Trade License
  • Immigration Establishment Card
  • Memorandum of Association (LLC)
  • Local Service Agreement
  • Partnership contract (if available)
  • Partners list (LLC)


  • Passport
  • Personal photo (white background)
  • Bank statement (if applicable)
  • Previous visa (if applicable)
  • Previous Emirates ID (if applicable)

For investing in a Freezone company or government entity, these copies are required:


  • Trade License
  • Share Certificate
  • Immigration Card
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Certificate of Incorporation


  • Passport
  • Personal photo (white background)
  • Bank statement (if applicable)
  • Previous visa (if applicable)
  • Previous Emirates ID (if applicable)


  • This investor visa is valid for 3 years and can be renewed.

UAE Family Visa

If you hold any type of residency visa in the UAE, you can sponsor your immediate family, including your spouse, children, and parents.


To issue a UAE family visa, you need to meet these rules:

  • The sponsor must have a minimum salary of AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus accommodation.
  • Male and female family members aged 18 and above, who are to be sponsored, must undergo and pass medical fitness tests at approved health centres in the UAE.

Important to note:

  • In special cases approved by the ICP, a mother can sponsor her children.
  • A resident sponsor has 60 days to apply for his dependents’ residence visa after they enter the UAE under an entry permit.
  • The type of profession is no longer a condition for an expatriate worker to be able to sponsor his family visas.
  • Medically unfit individuals will not be granted a residence visa.
  • Residents diagnosed with dormant or inactive pulmonary tuberculosis are considered medically fit and granted a one-year ‘Health Fitness Certificate for Residence’, subject to treatment and follow-up by the respective health authority.
  • Parents can be sponsored by a resident, and the residence visa will be granted on a yearly basis regardless of the duration of the sponsor’s visa.

Documents Required Documents for A UAE Family Visa:


  • Passport copy
  • UAE residency visa copy
  • Original Emirates ID
  • Labor card and contract copy (by Ministry of Labour)
  • Salary certificate (for employees in Freezone or governmental facilities)
  • Ejari or Tawtheeq Certificate
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement (if applicable)


  • Passport (with at least 6 months validity)
  • Passport-size photo (white background)
  • Previous visa copy (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (for spouses)
  • Birth certificate (for children)
  • Health insurance approved by DHA


  • Family visas can be issued for 1 to 2 years, or parallel to the sponsor’s visa duration. Renewal varies.
  • Family visas are linked to the sponsor’s visa. If the sponsor’s visa is cancelled, the dependents’ visas are also cancelled.
  • After the sponsor’s visa is cancelled, there’s a 30-day grace period to cancel the family residency visa. Fines apply after this period.

UAE Student Visa

Students applying to educational institutions in the UAE can obtain a student residency visa.


  • Passport copy (valid for at least 6 months)
  • Passport-size photo (white background)
  • Visa and tuition fees receipt
  • Current visa copy (if applicable)
  • Copy of admission letter


Initially issued with a 1-year validity period, renewable annually until completion of education.
Student Visa

3. Documents Required for Dubai Residence Visa

  • Original Passport (minimum validity of 6 months).
  • Sponsor Letter from a university, company, or relative residing in Dubai, depending on your purpose of stay.
  • Medical Test including blood tests, chest X-rays, and HIV tests, to ensure compliance with Dubai’s health standards.
  • Certificate of Good Conduct from your home country’s police department affirming your lack of criminal history.
  • Health Insurance Policy approved by the DCCA to cover medical expenses during your stay in Dubai.
  • Application for Emirates ID through the Emirates Identity Authority.
  • Deposit in a Dubai bank, the amount of which varies depending on the visa type.
  • Birth/Marriage Certificate for individual applicants or a marriage certificate for those traveling with family or spouses.
  • Entry Visa serving as a permit to enter Dubai, before applying for a residence visa.
  • Residence Visa Application Form, including identity proof and all required documents.

Meeting these requirements ensures a smooth process for obtaining a Dubai residence visa, facilitating an extended stay in the vibrant city.

4. Applying for a UAE Residence Visa

Here’s how you can apply for a residence visa in Dubai:

Step 1: Secure a Sponsor

The first step when appalling for a residence visa in the UAE, you need to secure a sponsor. A sponsor can be:

  1. UAE company (for employees),
  2. UAE citizen (for family members)
  3. educational institution (for students)

The sponsor has to start visa application process and ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements.

Step 2: Obtain an Entry Visa

Next, the sponsor will need an entry permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s online portal or through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website. This can also be done at licensed GDRFA typing centres. This permit allows you to enter the country for the purpose of obtaining your residence visa.

Step 3: Submit Required Documents

It’s important to gather all the documents required for your chosen visa type. Make sure that all your documents are complete, valid, and meet the specified format requirements. The documents required may vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and your sponsor.

Step 4: Apply for Residence Visa

Next, your sponsor will submit your immigrant visa application to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

Step 5: Pay for the Residence Visa

At the time of application, you will be required to pay the UAE residence visa fee. The fee varies depending on the validity of the visa and the purpose of your stay in the UAE.

Step 6: Wait for Approval and Visa Stamping

Once your application is submitted, the authorities will review it. Upon approval, the visa will be stamped on your passport, allowing you to legally reside in the UAE.

Step 7: Obtain Emirates ID

After receiving your residence visa, you need to apply for an Emirates ID card, which serves as the official identification document in the UAE. The Emirates ID will be valid for the same duration as your visa. The process and cost for obtaining an Emirates ID may vary.


The validity of your visa depends on its type and sponsor. Sponsored visas can be valid for one, two, or three years, while unsponsored visas (such as the Golden and Green visas) can be valid for up to 5 or 10 years, subject to certain conditions.

In recent changes, residence visas can also be issued for 5 or 10 years, subject to specific conditions outlined by the authorities.
Residence visa

5. Advantages Of A UAE Residence Visa:

Having a UAE residence visa offers a multitude of advantages, providing individuals with a host of opportunities:

  1. Open A Bank Account:

Holding a residence visa enables you to easily open a bank account in the UAE, allowing you to manage your finances conveniently and access various banking services tailored to residents.

  1. b) Access Financial Facilities:

With a residence visa, you gain access to a wide range of financial facilities, including loans, credit cards, and investment opportunities offered by banks and financial institutions in the UAE.

  1. c) Apply For a Driving License:

Residents can apply for a UAE driving license, enabling them to legally drive in the country and avail themselves of the convenience and independence of having their own vehicle.

  1. d) Access Government Health Services and Health Insurance:

UAE residents with a valid residence visa are entitled to access government healthcare services, ensuring they receive quality medical care when needed. Additionally, residents have the option to obtain health insurance coverage, further enhancing their healthcare benefits and financial security.

  1. e) Register Children in Government And Private Schools:

Parents holding a UAE residence visa can enrol their children in both government and private schools, providing them with access to quality education and a diverse range of learning opportunities.

  1. f) Work And Invest:

A residence visa permits individuals to legally work and invest in the UAE, offering various employment and business opportunities available in the dynamic economy of the Emirates.

  1. g) Travel Visa-Free To Certain Destinations:

Certain nationalities holding a UAE residence visa may enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to select destinations worldwide.

By obtaining a UAE residence visa, individuals gain not only legal residency but also access to a wealth of privileges and opportunities that contribute to a fulfilling and enriching lifestyle in the Emirates.

6. Choose IFZA For Easy Business Setup in Dubai

IFZA is a well-known name in the region for its expertise in company formation in Dubai. Our international network of Professional Partners can guide you through every step of the IFZA license application, ensuring a smooth company formation process and saving you valuable time. And the best part? You don’t even have to be physically present in the UAE.

Choose from thousands of business activities and combine commercial and professional activities under a single license. With IFZA, you have the freedom to build your business exactly the way you envision it.

Our services don’t end with company formation in Dubai. The IFZA Free Zone ecosystem provides ongoing support to your business with corporate bank account opening assistance, medical insurance coverage, and more. Our Professional Partners receive comprehensive training and access to the IFZA Academy for training FZCO learning opportunities that focus on critical business skills such as customer service, sales, communication, and government regulations to ensure your company formation in Dubai is a success.

What are you waiting for? Contact an IFZA Professional Partner today for expert guidance for company formation in Dubai.

Business Support

How can we help you?

Our team of experts are ready to assist you with any questions or inquiries you may have. Let us know how we can support your business goals.

Get In Touch

Chat with us

Visit us Today