If you are looking for both a lucrative location for your investments and a safe, secure place to call home, there are few options better than the United Arab Emirates.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a global hub for investment and innovation, offering a unique opportunity through its UAE Residence by Investment Program.
In this article, we delve into the reasons why HNWIs should consider availing themselves of this program and how it can unlock a world of opportunities.
From its tax-friendly regime to long-term residency options and a vibrant lifestyle, the UAE has become an attractive destination for those looking to thrive in a dynamic and prosperous environment.
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This article isn’t formal legal or financial advice, and the facts might have changed since we wrote it.
Table of Contents
Why invest in the UAE?
The UAE, particularly Dubai, is a popular place for investment due to several reasons. First, it provides a tax-free environment which allows investors to keep more of their earnings and enjoy minimal tax liability.
The UAE also has a booming economy that is stable and rapidly expanding driven by sectors such as real estate, tourism, technology, and renewable energy. This creates a dynamic investment landscape with diverse opportunities for high-net worth individuals looking to invest.
Dubai, in particular, is known for its safety and security, making it a safe haven for investments. It has low crime rates and a strong security presence, earning its reputation as one of the safest cities in the world.
Dubai’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa positions it as a global trading and logistics hub. The city’s world-class transportation infrastructure, including its modern airports, seaports, and extensive road networks, facilitates seamless connectivity and efficient supply chain management.
Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports globally, handling millions of passengers and cargo every year.
The airport’s connectivity to over 260 destinations makes it an attractive destination for businesses and tourists alike. Additionally, Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port is the largest port in the Middle East, serving as a vital gateway for international trade.
Dubai’s thriving tourism industry also generates high demand for short-term rental properties, ensuring a steady stream of rental income for investors. The city attracts a large number of tourists, providing a strong market for hospitality and related sectors.
Compared to other major cities, Dubai real estate prices are relatively low, making it an affordable option for investors. The city also offers flexible payment options to accommodate investors with various budgets.
Dubai investments, especially in the real estate sector, have historically yielded both consistent and high rates of return. Investors should anticipate high rental yields and the possibility of price increases.
Dubai’s real estate market has been a major driver of its economic growth. The city’s skyline is adorned with iconic skyscrapers and luxurious properties, attracting investors from around the world. This is especially relevant for those looking to avail of the UAE golden visa, which we will discuss below.
Whether you’re looking for residential, commercial, or industrial properties, Dubai offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference.
Investing in Dubai’s real estate sector can be highly profitable, with opportunities for capital appreciation and rental income.
The city’s property market has shown resilience and stability, even during global economic downturns. Government regulations, such as escrow accounts and strict property laws, provide additional protection for investors, ensuring transparency and fair dealings.
Dubai’s location at the intersection of major commercial routes from Europe, Asia, and Africa makes it an ideal hub for international business. Access to international markets is simplified by the city’s ports and airports, which in turn boosts commercial activity.
To entice businesses and investors, the UAE government has enacted measures favorable to the business community. Those putting in investment in the UAE can enjoy benefits like tax breaks, free trade zones, and simplified rules and regulations.
Dubai’s infrastructure, which includes its transportation, energy, and communication systems, is state-of-the-art and among the best in the world. The city’s dedication to infrastructure development and maintenance helps the economy thrive and improves residents’ quality of life.
Overall, the UAE is a desirable location for investors because of its lack of taxes, thriving economy, safe and stable city, thriving tourism industry, affordable property prices, good return on investment, and world-class developers.
What’s more, for many, the key advantage for those who invest in Dubai is its tax-free environment. The city does not levy personal income tax or corporate tax, allowing investors to retain a larger share of their earnings.
This attractive tax regime, combined with various incentives and exemptions, makes Dubai a haven for businesses and individuals seeking to optimize their financial returns.
Dubai also offers free zones, which are designated areas that provide additional benefits for investors. These free zones offer 100% foreign ownership, zero customs duties, and simplified administrative procedures.
They are tailored to specific industries, such as technology, media, healthcare, and logistics, providing a highly conducive environment for businesses operating in these sectors.
What should you know about the UAE Residence by Investment golden visa?
Modern infrastructure, transportation, and communication networks make the United Arab Emirates a vital player in the Arabian Gulf. The country offers great opportunities for international trade.
Dubai, the second-largest of the seven emirates, is the commercial and financial epicenter of the United Arab Emirates.
As such, the UAE is a prime location for conducting business. Their government recognizes this, and has allowed foreign investors, business owners, and talented persons (such as specialists, students, and researchers) who make a sizable investment in the Emirates to be eligible for permanent residency through the country’s Residence by Investment program.
The UAE Long-Term Residence Visa is a new immigration option offered by the government of the United Arab Emirates for rich or highly qualified foreign nationals.
Applicants’ eligibility categories determine the length of time they can receive this visa (often between five and ten years). If you meet the requirements, a sponsor in the UAE is not required to submit your application; instead, you can submit your application on your own behalf.
The United Arab Emirates Investor Visa is the most prevalent type of long-term residency visa, although it requires the applicant to make a sizable investment in the UAE before being awarded the visa.
Benefits of having a UAE Residence Visa or UAE Golden Visa
Because of its central location between Asia, Europe, and Africa, the UAE is sometimes referred to as “the gateway to these continents”. Other benefits include:
- High-quality services and a satisfying way of life in a secure setting.
- Spouse and children under the age of 21 who are not married to the applicant are welcome to apply at no cost.
- The UAE is in the top 30 countries for business friendliness worldwide
- With no income, capital, net worth, or withholding tax (save for those levied in the local banking and oil sectors) and a number of double-taxation treaties in effect, the country provides a favorable tax framework for investors.
- Excellent return on property investments.
- Simple, effective procedures for obtaining residence permits
- country that participates in all three major international organizations
UAE Golden Visa requirements
Investors in real estate, one of many eligible groups for the UAE’s Golden Residence visa, can get a renewable 10-year residency permit by purchasing any of the following:
- At least a two million AED (or about $550,000) in property investment
- A minimum of AED 2 million (about USD 550,000) in property value with financing from select local banks
- Off-the-plan properties from reputable local developers, totaling at least AED 2 million (about USD 550,000).
- All applications for residency in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must be accompanied by a completed application form, as well as the applicable fees and supporting documentation.
- UAE visas issued under the Golden Residence program are valid for 10 years and can be extended beyond that. The visa remains valid even if you move out of the UAE.
- The application for UAE residency can be filed to the government when the preliminary due diligence checks have been completed and the retainer has been paid.
After meeting all of the criteria, the applicant is granted a six-month multiple-entry visa and invited to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to apply for an ID card and pass a medical examination. The client then receives the residence visa and full permission is given.
The residency application takes around eight weeks to process.
Golden Visa UAE eligibility
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers two distinct Long-Term Residence Visas, each with its own set of prerequisites and qualifying standards.
If you fit into one of the following categories, you may apply for a 10-year long-term residence visa in the United Arab Emirates:
- You make a public sector investment of at least AED 10 million (United Arab Emirates Investor Visa).
- You are a doctor, scientist, inventor, specialist, or exceptionally talented artist; engineers in fields like computer science, electronics, electrical engineering, and biotechnology; and so on.
If you fit into one of the following categories, you can apply for a long-term resident visa valid for 5 years in the United Arab Emirates.
- You make a real estate investment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE Investor Visa, or UAE Property Visa).
- As an entrepreneur, your current venture requires a minimum investment of AED 500,000.
- As a student, you have: a cumulative secondary school average of 95% or higher (public or private); after high school, you must enroll in a college or institution with a GPA of 3.75 or higher.
Several pieces of documentation are required to apply for a long-term residency visa in UAE. Documents such as these are required when applying for the admission permission.
- Passport photocopy
- Images must be passport-sized
- Receipt from the past six months
Any supplementary materials such as the following:
- Company Trade License Copy
- Documentation of the Partnership Contract (if any)
- Names and/or IDs of any further collaborators
- A duplicate of the LLC’s Articles of Organization.
- The necessary documentation (for specialist talents) from the appropriate UAE authorities.
- Proof of patent for investors
You will require the following items when applying for a long-term residency visa in the UAE:
- Your valid entry visa
- Clinical Exam
- Photos for your passport and immigration file
- Documents relating to your purpose of travel
The documents listed here are by no means exhaustive. In some instances, clearance from UAE authorities is also required prior to submitting a visa application.
The more delicate nature of this visa means that you may additionally need the assistance of an attorney or other approved legal organization.
What should you know about the UAE Investor Visa?
Investments of at least AED 10 million in the public sector in the UAE, or AED 5 million in real estate, are required to qualify for an Investor Visa in Dubai or anyplace else in the United Arab Emirates.
To qualify for a 10-year UAE visa via investment, applicants must invest at least AED 10 million in the country’s public sector. Some examples are:
- Putting money into a mutual fund
- In the United Arab Emirates, a minimum of AED 10 million is required when forming a new company.
- Participating in an established business as a partner, with a minimum investment of AED 10 million
Furthermore, when investing the funds, you should guarantee:
- You did not borrow it
- You keep the money invested for a minimum of three years.
You can also qualify for a UAE residency visa for the long term if you invest in a property with a gross value of at least AED 5 million. You will need to keep your investment alive for at least three years, and it can not come from a loan.
UAE Golden Visa Costs
The cost of applying for a Golden visa in the United Arab Emirates has increased to AED 150 as of February 2023.
Ten-year UAE visa for persons with specialised talents
If you have a unique skill, you may be eligible for a UAE visa. If you have particular skills in areas such as medicine, business, science, the arts, etc., you may qualify. However, the following apply to individuals with specialized talents who wish to apply for a 10-year visa to the United Arab Emirates:
- If you are a scientist, you need to have either the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence or accreditation from the Emirates Scientists Council.
- Accreditation from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development is required for artists.
- The UAE government requires patent holders to have valuable patents that have been approved by the Ministry of Economy.
- Medical professionals: At the very least, one of the following needs to be true of you:
- You have a doctorate from a school consistently ranked among the world’s best, or “top 500.”
- You have been working in your field for 10 years and hold a PhD.
- You have received recognition in your field in the form of an award or certificate.
- You participate in a professional group relating to your expertise.
- You have written books or articles for respected scientific journals in your specialty.
- You have developed expertise in a field that is crucial to the United Arab Emirates.
- For executives, you need to be in a leading position of a major international corporation.
- For other talents, you need either a patent or scientific research that has been published in a top-tier journal to be considered.
Your spouse and children can join you in the United Arab Emirates if you have an Investor Visa for the country. One executive director and one advisor may also be added to the visa’s validity period.
A single UAE Investor Visa application can cover many company partners. But it does not mean the money may be divided up among several investors; rather, each partner must put up their own AED 10 million.
How do you apply for a UAE Investor Visa?
In order to enter the UAE, international nationals need to have either a UAE-based employer or educational institution sponsor their visa application. Long-term UAE residency visa applications, on the other hand, can be submitted independently of a sponsor.
Your UAE investor visa sponsor will be the company you set up in the UAE.
Your property investment or purchase acts as your sponsor for a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates.
You must first obtain a UAE Entry Permit, which is valid for repeated entries and a total of six months, before you can apply for a Residence Visa.
After entering the United Arab Emirates with an entry visa, you must then apply for a long-term residence visa at the appropriate visa-issuing authority in the UAE.
Applications for residence visas must be submitted to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in the emirate where the applicant intends to reside.
Before you can apply for a resident visa, you will need to show proof of your health by taking a medical examination.
Because the UAE Investor Visa falls outside the norm for travel documents, you may want to retain legal counsel to assist you with obtaining the visa and researching investment opportunities in the UAE. Additionally, due to the Investor Visa’s novelty, conflicting sources of information exist.
The Dubai Investor Visa is required for foreign citizens who wish to permanently reside in the emirate of Dubai.
Due to Dubai’s status as an emirate within the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the process for obtaining an Investor Visa for Dubai is identical to that outlined above.
The only real difference is that instead of applying in Abu Dhabi or any of the other emirates, you will go through the GDRFA offices in Dubai.
A long-term resident visa called a UAE Golden Visa is available to investors, business owners, scientists, and those with other remarkable skills.
In 2022, the government of the United Arab Emirates authorized additional requirements for obtaining a golden visa, including a lower required investment amount, the freedom to travel abroad for an indefinite amount of time, and the ability to buy pre-construction homes with financing.
The application for UAE residency can be filed to the government once the preliminary due diligence checks have been completed and the retainer has been paid.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has simplified the residence application process for foreign nationals by providing ‘typing offices’ where staff will fill out all the necessary paperwork on your behalf once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites.
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