Types of visas to Abu Dhabi for foreign investors

High returns on real estate investment along with political stability of the UAE is a big driver for overseas investors and those who wish to move to the Emirates. According to newly introduced long-term residence visas scheme property buyers, entrepreneurs and expats seeking for immigration may apply for 5-year or 10-year visa if the property value estimates AED 5M or AED 10M investment to public sector respectively. These two types of visas have own eligibility criteria and requirements.

General outlines of a visa claim in the UAE

Foreigners entering the Emirates are required to deliver special permits at the entry ports to the country. The documents are issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and the issue should be initiated and handled by the party, sponsoring new-comers. Sponsors can be UAE-based hotels, airlines, private or public entity, etc. Entry permits are valid for a short period of time, for 2 months mostly.

Residence visa, as opposed to entry permit, allows the holder to stay in the country longer and is granted to those who are already inside and have entered the UAE using entry permit, short or long-term tourist or visit visa.

Depending on the purpose and longevity of stay the Authorities grant visas of pertinent types: business, tourists, patient and his/her companion, eVisa for GCC residents, retirement visa for residents, students visa and transit visa. Citizens of GCC countries are not obliged to obtain visa or permit in the UAE.

Since 2019 there has been adopted Golden Visa System that enables foreigners to qualify for Investors visa issued for 5-10 years and Business visa. The novelty is that now the applicants can claim a visa without help of a local sponsor. That is, the privates, who buy property in any of the emirates are sponsored under the property they own. Entrepreneurs are sponsored by the company they represent. What's more, long-term residence visas will be automatically renewed.

Before nominating to residence visa applicants over 18 years are asked to pass medical test and security check, to ensure they fit to. After that it is necessary to apply for an Emirates ID card.

Where to Apply for Entry Permits or Visas at

Individuals or legal entities may apply for entry permit to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Dubai. ICA avails online platform only, while GDRFA provides both online and offline channels.

When choosing online procedures an applicant is advised to use either eChannels portal administered by ICA, or the website of GDRFA and Amer.ae for Dubai, or mobile apps available for Apple and Android. Before claiming a visa, foreigners should register themselves first.

Submit the documents in person you may in any of the authorized typing centers, where visa claim will be processed through the GDRFA.

Note, that eVisa can be used at entry port in the UAE without the need to put the original visa in the entry port before the arrival of the sponsored.

How to get a 10-year Investors Visa

Persons are eligible for 10-years visa if they fall under one of the following categories:

  1. Entrepreneurs, who invest not less than AED 10M in public sector in any of the 7 emirates;
  2. Outstanding professionals, as doctors, artists, engineers, scientists and such like. The qualification is subject to be backed with documentary evidences.
Speaking about the first category, investing in public sector implies total capital fund amounting to AED 10M, where 40% is made to real estate and 60% should go to other sectors.

Investment can be made in any of 7 emirates in the shape of:

  • Deposit in any investment fund;
  • Registration of a new company with charter capital equal to AED 10M or more in the UAE;
  • Entering partnership with the existing UAE-based legal entity, contributing share of AED 10M to the venture.
Additionally, investors are liable to provide proofs of:

  • financial solvency up to AED 10M;
  • amount of AED 1M is not loaned;
  • investment is maintained for 3 years or longer.

5-year visa for buying property

Long-term residence visa, valid for 5 years is provided to property buyers, entrepreneurs and outstanding students. Herein we enlarge on the point of investors in a property in the UAE.

The main condition is that the purchase property value must be not less than AED 5M. In other words, the cases when current market value of the property equals to AED 5M, but purchase price is lower than that, won-t be considered.

The rest of terms are similar to 10-years visa requirements: the investment may not be loan-based and is mandatory to be retained for at least 3 years.

5-year retirement visa

One more opportunity to get residency in Abu Dhabi via buying property is applying for foreign retirees' program. Financially solvent persons over the age of 55, who wish to spend golden years in the Emirates may nominate for a renewable 5-year retirement visa. Pensioners are liable to meet certain requirements, as:

  • invest in a property worth AED 2M;
  • prove financial savings of no less than AED 1M;
  • have an active income of no less than AED 20K per month.

Related Visa Services

Investors may also apply for a 6-months multi-entry visa to enter the country to complete procedures for residency.

Note, that long-term residence visa is a different category than regular visa and foreigners may need professional advice and support of power of a local attorney to guide through the process, as well as finding investment opportunity in the country. Besides, Investors visa is relatively new, and applicants are advised to counter check the information with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship and via its feedback platform, or inquire the UAE embassies or consulates (if abroad).