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immigration to UAE-The United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the Middle East’s most prosperous nations, supports multidisciplinary communities in all seven of its states and emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah.

Pursuant to Federal Law No (6) for 1973 Concerning Immigration and Residence: “No person other than national of the United Arab Emirates may enter the country in any way without a valid passport or a travel document or a visa or an entry permission or a valid residence permit”. 

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immigration to UAE
A complete guideline for UAE immigration & Visa issuing

Here’s your guide to immigrate to the most diverse, ethnocentric and tolerant regions of the world.

Visa Free Entry is permitted to UAE and GCC Nationals. UAE grants visa on arrival to Nationals of 70 countries including the US, China, Maldives, France and Russia .. etc. While the rest are entitled to obtain Entry permits & Visit Visas by applying to the relevant authority either through an offline or online channel. UAE is a home to 8.84 million foreigners.

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ENTRY PERMIT FOR Immigration to the UAE

Entry permits or visas can be applied through “Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA)”. Or, through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the individual emirate. 

The UAE Government issues several types of visas and entry permits. These are discussed below as follows:


Transit visas are issued to travelers flying through any UAE airport or border. This type of visa issues for either 48 or 96 hours. These visas are non-extendable.


Tourist visa is for those who are not eligible for visa on arrival or a visa-free entry to the UAE. This type of visa can be obtained for eligible individual tourists from around the world.

Foreign Nationals who have a US visit visa/Green Card/ UK/European residency with a validity of six months are eligible for a visa on arrival in the UAE.

Application for Tourist Visa:

The UAE embassies do not issue tourist visas. Tourist visas can be arranged either through the UAE national carriers, Licensed Travel agencies or Hotels in the UAE who will sponsor the tourist visa. Any resident can avail tourist visas for their family by applying for the same through the official channel.

Renewing or extending tourist visa:

All types of visit and tourist visas can be extended for 30 days twice, upon applying for it and after successful approval by the concerned authority.

Visa overstayers who do not renew, will have to pay penalty.

You can consult a UAE immigration lawyer to learn about legal matters in the UAE.

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The five-year visa enables tourists of all nationalities to enter the UAE without a guarantor. For each entry, visa holder can stay in the country for up to 90 days and stay can be extendable by another 90 days. It allows the visa holder to freely enter and exit the country multiple times.


GCC residents and their companions need to apply online for a visa either through GDRFA – Dubai for visit to Dubai or the ICA for other emirates. This happens when they provide their sponsor is travelling with them and their Passports and GCC residency is valid for minimum 3 months.


The UAE has implemented a 10 year residency visa programme. The system enables eligible foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a local sponsor and 100% ownership of their businesses on the UAE’s mainland.

Criteria for Eligibility:

Investors with Public Investments

The investment is not limited to:

  • A deposit of not less than ten million dirhams in an investment fund within the UAE.
  • Establishing/Partnership in an organization in the UAE with a minimum share capital of ten million dirhams.
  • Also, the investment capital shouldn’t be loaned and the investment needs to be retained for 3 years. 
  • The investor further needs to submit Audit Reports of the past 2 years along-with 6 months bank statements and a real estate license, if applicable.

People with Exceptional Talents / Caliber

People with outstanding achievements in the field of Science, Research & Art are encouraged to apply for the Golden Visa promoting to the overall economy and boosting the human resources in the UAE. The spouse and children naturally reap the Golden Visa benefits. All these categories must have a valid employment contract in their specialized fields in the UAE.

Conditions are:

  • Inventors & Researchers should demonstrate their work either through patents or published scientific research, confirmed by the Ministry of Economy & Emirates Scientists Council or holders of Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
  • The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development must accredit the creative people in art and culture.
  • Doctors who hold a license from the UAE Health Department can apply for a 10-year golden visa 
  • Outstanding Students from High school & Universities who have received a minimum grade of 95%.
  • Charity and humanitarian aid workers in the UAE.
  • Engineers from various fields and Professionals with Phd degrees.
  • Executive Directors who have a certified degree from the university, earning a salary of  fifty thousand dirhams with 5 years of work experience.
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The Silver Visa is another long term visa granted for a period of 5 years. Those Eligible for the 5 year visa are detailed below:

  1. Real Estate Investors
    • The investor must have an investment in the real estate market of five million dirhams.
    • The amount invested shouldn’t be loaned.
    • The property should be retained for at least three years.
  2. Entrepreneurs
    • This classification includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of five hundred thousand dirhams.
    • The entrepreneur is permitted a multi-entry visa for a half year, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and kids, a partner and three executives.
  3. Outstanding Students. This includes:
    • Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95% in public and private secondary schools.
    • University students inside and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.
    • Long term visa includes families of the outstanding students.


The Business Visa is part of the long term residency scheme. To be eligible applicants must prove their entrepreneurial experience following which they must qualify the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s background check and a health assessment.

On receipt of approval from the ICA, the applicant can visit the country for six months with a Multiple-Entry Visa. This visa is to establish the business project & thereby assess its feasibility, following which applicant can change this visa into a residence permit. The visa holder can nominate up to three employees to obtain the residency. Furthermore, all visa holders can sponsor their family members, subject to ICA’s conditions family members are granted visas for one, two, or three years.

It is one of the most popular ways for entrepreneurs and businessmen to immigration to UAE.


Green Visa, like the Golden Visa, gives self-residency status to holders. It distinguishes between work permits and residencies. That means, the residence permit is not linked to a company work permit. The self-residency visa will be sponsored by employees themselves, not their companies if they are employed.

Investors, entrepreneurs, highly-skilled individuals, top students, graduates, those running small and medium enterprises, scientists and other talented people will be considered for Green Visa.


The visa enables professionals of all nationalities to sponsor themselves on an annual basis, despite working remotely for a company not registered in the UAE.

Applicants should have a passport with a minimum six-month validity, health insurance with UAE coverage, Proof of employment & one-year employment contract validity and a minimum salary of USD 5,000 per month, with 3-month bank statements.

If you are interested in opening a company in UAE, you can click here for more information


Foreign university students can sponsor their family members as long as they can afford suitable housing.


This visa is offered to retired residents over the age of 55, it’s a long-term visa for a period of five years. However, to be eligible a retiree, must either invest in a property worth two million dirhams or have financial savings of no less than one million dirhams, or a constant income of minimum monthly income (20,000 AED).

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This visa is issued on humanitarian grounds to the citizens of countries suffering from wars and disasters, it is a one- year residency visa. It also entails widows, divorced women and their children to renew their residency visas without a sponsor for one year, renewable once.
For humanitarian reasons, it is one of the ways to immigration to UAE.

Speak to the attorney in Dubai directly through our law office in the UAE.


Categories of foreigners who can be nominated for UAE citizenship

The following categories of foreigners can be nominated for the UAE nationality:

  • an investor who owns a property in the UAE.
  • a doctor/specialist in a scientific discipline of high demand in the UAE with research contributions and practical experience of not less than 10 years. He/she must have a membership in a reputable organization in the field of specialization.
  • a scientist, active researcher either at a university, research Centre or in the private sector of at least 10 years. He/she must also have a recommendation letter from a recognized scientific institution in the UAE.
  • an inventor must have one or more patents that are approved by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy (MOE) or any other reputable international body. He/she must also have a recommendation letter from MOE.
  • intellectuals and other individuals with creative talents should be pioneers in the field of art and culture and must have won at least one international award. A recommendation letter from related government entities is required as well.

The UAE citizenship is granted only by the Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts, Offices of the Executive Councils and the Cabinet based on the nominations of federal entities.

FAQ about immigration to the UAE

1-How long does it take to immigrate to UAE?

The processing of a visa takes 3 to 4 business days. Entry into the UAE requires immigration authorization. All other visas are valid for admission into Dubai for 60 days following the date of issuance, with the exception of the 96- and 48-hour visas, which are only valid for 30 days after the date of issuance.

2-Can I live in UAE permanently?

how to submit a permanent residency application in the UAE. The Emirates implemented a new system for long-term visas in 2019. It enables residents to remain in the nation without a local sponsor and to have complete foreign ownership in a business on the Mainland.

3-Who can get 3 years visa in UAE?

A three-year visa is granted to those who have been hired for government positions in Dubai or by government-affiliated businesses. In an emergency, those with two-year visas may stay longer by paying steep fines. However, they can extend their visa to allow them to stay longer.

You may contact us. We, the Khairallah Advocates & Legal Consultants, one of the best law firms in the UAE, are always ready to help you with all legal issues.

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