There has been much talk recently about long term visas, held out as an example of the Dubai government encouraging investment in the Emirate by creating a greater sense of belonging and security. So far however it seems those visas have been offered only to a very privileged few. Here we look at one of the other ways the government has been encouraging real estate investment in Dubai linked to residency rights – Investor Visas.
How to qualify
There have been some recent changes to the regulations surrounding Investor Visas. The main conditions that must be satisfied include:
- the value of your property must be at least AED 1,000,000 (you can submit the details of up to 3 properties with a total combined purchase price of AED 1,000,000 or above);
- the property should have freehold title - it cannot be leasehold or off-plan. The property must be in a ‘ready’ condition - no visa will be issued if the property is still under construction;
- if the property is mortgaged, the mortgage must not exceed 50% of the value of the property; and
- you must prove an income (in or out of the UAE) in the minimum amount of AED 10,000 per month.
Note that all of these conditions must be met.
In the event of joint ownership, each owner can apply for an Investor Visa if it can be shown that their individual contribution towards the property or properties is AED 1,000,000 or more, each.
Property owners who hold an Investor Visa can sponsor their immediate family members.
Duration and costs
As of January 2019, the Investor Visa is valid for a period of 3 years and renewable thereafter. The current level of fees payable for obtaining the Investor Visa is c. AED 16,000.
Working in Dubai
The Investor Visa is purely a ‘residency visa’ allowing the property owner to reside in Dubai. It is not an employment visa and so it does not permit the property owner or family members to work in the UAE. If the property owner is subsequently employed, then any Investor Visa must be cancelled and he or she must apply for a new visa based on his or her employment with the company.
To work in the UAE an employment visa is required.
- Title deed
- Passport sized photo
- Health insurance
- Good Conduct Certificate from the General Department of Criminal Investigations – Dubai Police headquarter
- In the event that the property is mortgaged, a No Objection Certificate from the bank
- DEWA bill
- Lease (if the property is rented out)
- Proof of income.
You will need to attend the Dubai Land Department ("DLD") to request a reference letter which then needs to be submitted to the Dubai Police with a request for a good conduct certificate. The certificate will take approximately two days and will be sent to you by email.
Once the good conduct certificate has been obtained, an application to the DLD customer service must be submitted together with the documents detailed above. You should receive an SMS confirming that the application has been initially approved, within 30 days.
After receiving the initial approval, you must make payment of all fees, where-after the DLD will apply for the entry permit and finally for the full Investor Visa.
There is in place a procedure to obtain residency based on investment in property rather than employment. This has implications for many groups, including investors who are not permanently based in Dubai but would like the benefits that residency offers, and those considering retirement in the UAE but who have not been lucky enough to be selected as recipients of the 10 year visa.