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United Arab Emirates – Residency

Types of Residency in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an attractive destination for expats from around the world. With its booming economy, luxurious lifestyle, and warm climate, it is no wonder why many people are moving to the UAE. If you are considering making the move, it is important to understand the different types of residency available for foreign nationals in the UAE.

Temporary Residence

Visit Visa

If you are planning on staying in the UAE for a short period of time, you can apply for a visit visa. This type of visa is issued to individuals who want to visit the UAE for tourism, business, or medical reasons. Visit visas are usually valid for 30 to 90 days, depending on the purpose of the visit.

Work Permit

If you have secured a job in the UAE, your employer will apply for a work permit on your behalf. Once the work permit is issued, you can then apply for a residence visa.

Student Visa


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If you are planning on studying in the UAE, you can apply for a student visa. This type of visa is valid for one year and can be renewed annually as long as you are still enrolled in a recognized educational institution in the UAE.

Permanent Residence

Family Visa

If you have a family member who is a UAE resident or citizen, you can apply for a family visa. This type of visa is valid for three years and can be renewed as long as the family relationship still exists.

Property Investor Visa

If you purchase property in the UAE that is worth at least AED 1 million (approximately $270,000 USD), you can apply for a property investor visa. This type of visa is valid for three years and can be renewed as long as you still own the property.

Retirement Visa

If you are over the age of 55 and have a monthly income of at least AED 20,000 (approximately $5,500 USD) or savings of at least AED 1 million (approximately $270,000 USD), you can apply for a retirement visa. This type of visa is valid for five years and can be renewed as long as you still meet the income or savings requirements.

Process for Applying for Residency in the UAE

To apply for residency in the UAE, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a medical certificate: You will need to undergo a medical examination and obtain a certificate from a government-approved medical facility.
  2. Apply for a residence visa: Once you have your medical certificate, you can apply for a residence visa. This can be done through your employer, a sponsor, or a residency agent.
  3. Submit your application: You will need to submit your application and supporting documents to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  4. Undergo biometric data collection: You will need to provide biometric data, including fingerprints and a photograph.
  5. Collect your residence visa: Once your application has been approved, you can collect your residence visa.

Documents Required for Residency in the UAE

When applying for residency in the UAE, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Passport and passport-sized photographs
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Employment contract (if applicable)
  • Bank statements
  • Marriage certificate (if applying for a family visa)
  • Property purchase documents (if applying for a property investor visa)
  • Retirement savings statements (if applying for a retirement visa)

Registration on Arrival in the UAE

Upon arrival in the UAE, you will need to register with the GDRFA. You will need to provide your passport and residence visa, as well as undergo biometric data collection.

Reliable Information on Residence in the UAE

  • For reliable, up-to-date information on residency in the UAE, individuals can consult the official website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) (https://gdrfa.gov.ae/).
  • Additionally, individuals can consult a qualified immigration attorney for personalized advice and assistance with the residency process.


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