The story so far: The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security began the trial run of the Advanced Visa System on September 6. It was first announced by the UAE Cabinet — led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai in April.
The changes in the UAE visa rules can be broadly classified into three categories — entry visa, green visa and golden visa. For the first time, the UAE has introduced entry visas that do not require a host or sponsor for visitors. All entry visas will now be available for single or multiple entries and will be valid for 60 days unlike the previous 30-day period. In 2020, golden visas were introduced, designed to enable exceptionally skilled foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor, according to Emirates News Agency.
A job exploration visa will be granted if the applicant is classified in the first, second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, or is a fresh graduate of the best 500 universities in the world, or has a minimum educational level of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Another kind of job visa includes the entry permit visa which allows employers to sponsor visitors for temporary work assignments on projects. Universities can also sponsor visitors for attending training and study courses.
A business entry visa allows investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
For tourists, besides a regular tourist visa, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa enables them to enter multiple times on self-sponsorship and remain in the country for 90 days on each visit, which can be extended for another 90 days. However, the applicant has to submit proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies for the last six months. A family visa allows parents to sponsor their male children till the age of 25, up from 18, while an entry permit to visit relatives allows a visitor to enter the country if they are a relative or a friend of a UAE citizen/resident.
The new five-year green residence visa is aimed at attracting exceptional talent, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. It replaces the previous residence visa that was valid only for two years. Besides, a grace period of up to six months to stay in the country has been introduced after the residence permit is cancelled or expired.
Few amendments have been made to the golden visa scheme allowing more categories of people to secure the coveted 10-year visa. Scientists, skilled workers, exceptional talent, real estate investors, entrepreneurs, students, humanitarian pioneers, doctors and nurses have also been included in the list. Skilled professionals can get the long-term residency, if they have a minimum monthly salary requirement of AED 30,000 a month. Investors can also get the visa when purchasing a property worth at least AED two million.
The Indian expatriate community of approximately 3.5 million constitutes about 30% of the UAE population. The restructuring of its entry and residence system will further boost the country’s image as an ideal destination for work and investment. Thousands of talented professionals are expected to find employment in the UAE and tourists can now experience a hassle-free vacation with the simplified visa system.