United Arab Emirates – Long-Term Residence (LTR) Visas

residential buildings in UAE

A leading country for individuals and families seeking to establish a place of residence in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provides a stable political and social environment, clear and transparent tax rules, good infrastructure, a favourable investment climate and an excellent quality of life.

Offering a wide range of modern accommodation, first class medical facilities, excellent international schools and a highly developed infrastructure, the UAE continues to attract international investors, businesspeople, and skilled professionals. Its business-friendly environment also ensures that it’s a natural choice for business start-up and expansion initiatives.

When not working, residents have access to host of activities and entertainment venues, including beaches, sport facilities, restaurants and shopping malls.

As part of its commitment to enhancing competitiveness, regional leadership and future prosperity, the UAE government introduced a new and improved range of Long-Term Residence (LTR) Visa options in early October 2022. Under the following titles:

  • Golden Visas
  • Green Visas
  • Self-Sufficiency / Financially Independent Visas


  1. Golden VisasBenefitsThe UAE Golden Visa is a residence permit that enables foreign nationals to live, work or study in the UAE, while enjoying a wide range of benefits, which include:
    • A long-term, renewable residence visa valid for 5 or 10 years.
    • No requirement to have a local sponsor.
    • No requirement to spend six months or more in the UAE.
    • The ability to sponsor family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age.
    • The ability to sponsor an unlimited number of domestic helpers.
    • If the primary holder of the Golden Visa dies, family members can remain in the UAE until their permits expire.


    Qualifying Criteria

    1. Specialist Talents – Skilled Professionals/ Executive Directors

    To qualify applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

    • Must be employed in the UAE.
    • Hold a role classified by MOHRE’s occupational classification scheme as follows:
    • Level 1 Classification – Managers and Business Executives.
    • Level 2 Classification – Professionals in the fields of Sciences, Engineering, Health, Education, Business and Management, Information Technology, Law, Sociology and Culture.
    • Minimum educational level of bachelor’s degree (BA) or equivalent (legalised in the UAE by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)).
    • A letter of experience/reference covering no less than five years holding the same position
    • Minimum monthly salary of AED30,000 in Abu Dhabi and AED50,000 in Dubai (or its equivalent in foreign currencies)
    • Hold a valid Practicing Licence in the UAE, if required (e.g. physician, pharmacist, teacher etc.).

    Those working within one of the following fields may also qualify for a 10-year


    Outstanding Specialised Talents Golden Visa. To do so they are required to have a letter of approval/recommendation from the associated Ministry.

    • Medical Professionals and Scientists – Emirates Council of Scientists or a letter from the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinction.
    • Inventors – The Ministry of the Economy (financial audit report required to confirm investment of minimum AED2 million)
    • Creative People in the Fields of Culture and Art – The Department of Culture
    • Athletes – The General Sports Authority or one of the sports councils
    • Specialists in engineering and science – The Ministry of Education


  1. InvestorsReal Estate Investors – The Real Estate Investor Golden Visa is a five-year visa for investors who have invested or wish to invest in property in the UAE. To qualify applicants are required to meet the following criteria:
    • Own local real estate in which they have invested a minimum non-mortgaged amount of AED2 million.
    • Maintain the investment for at least two years after the Golden Visa has been issued.

    Investors in Public Investments – An investor is also able to qualify for the Golden Visa through public investments. To qualify investors must provide evidence that they have invested at least AED2 million in either of:

    • A UAE-accredited financial deposit or qualifying investment fund.
    • A UAE-based

    Alternatively, applicants can provide proof that they have made a minimum annual tax payment of AED250,000 for two years prior to the application.


  1. Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurs may qualify for a five-year Golden Visa if they own an economic project of a technical nature or based on risk and innovation. They will also require an approval letter from each of the following:
  • An auditor in the UAE stating that the project value is not less than AED500,000
  • The authorities in the Emirate stating that the project is of a technical nature or based on risk and innovation.
  • An accredited business incubator in the UAE to establish the proposed activity.


  1. Outstanding Students and Graduates – Students and graduates who have achieved outstanding results in respect of:
  • High School graduates
  • Graduates of universities in the UAE
  • Graduates of universities outside the UAE


Please contact us for further details of the minimum qualifying requirements.

  1. Humanitarian Pioneers – Pioneers of humanitarian work may also be eligible for a 10-year Golden Visa. Please contact us for further details of the minimum qualifying requirements.
  2. Frontline Workers – A Frontline Golden Visa is provided on a recommendation basis only. Nominations are exclusively provided by the ‘Fakhr Al Watan Office’ in collaboration with the UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP).
  3. Outstanding Specialised Talents – If you possess exceptional specialised skills, you may be eligible for a 10-year Golden Visa by fulfilling the following requirements in each respective category:
    • Doctors and Scientists
      • Doctors are required to have an approval letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE, allowing them to practice medicine.
      • Scientists are required to have a letter of recommendation from either the Emirates Council of Scientists or the Secretariat of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinction.
    • Inventors
      • Investors must provide a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Economy demonstrating that their patent has contributed significantly to the country’s economy.
    • Creative Professionals in Culture and Art
      • Require an approval letter from the Department of Culture and Arts in the respective emirate.



  1. Green VisasBenefitsThe five-year Green Visa enables self-employed individuals, skilled workers and investors to reside and work in the UAE without the need for a local sponsor.The Green Visa extends to the main applicant’s family members, including spouse, children and parents. This includes unmarried daughters of any age and sons up to the age of 25.A flexible grace period of up to six months is also available once the residence permit is cancelled or has expired.Qualifying CriteriaThe Green Visa is available to the following three categories of individual:
    1. Freelancers/Self-Employed

    To qualify freelancers and/or the self-employed are required to submit:

    • A freelance / self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
    • Proof of a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma.
    • Evidence of annual income from self-employment for the previous two years of not less than AED360,000 or demonstrate financial solvency throughout their stay in the UAE.


    1. Skilled Employees

    To qualify skilled employees are required to:

    • Have a valid contract of employment.
    • Be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
    • Hold a minimum of bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
    • Have a monthly salary of no less than AED15,000.


    1. Investor or Business Partner

    The Green visa is also available to investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. To qualify, investors or business partners need proof of investment, as well as approval from the necessary local authorities.


  1. Self-Sufficiency / Financially Independent VisasBenefitsSelf-Sufficiency or Financially Independent Visas offer residence permits to applicants who can demonstrate that they have personal wealth and/or sufficient income, generated outside the UAE, to support themselves and their families.Qualifying Criteria
    1. UAE Retirement Visa

    To qualify, retirees over the age of 55 or individuals who have worked for 15 years or more, inside or outside the UAE, are eligible to apply for a five-year Retirement Visa if they also make a financial deposit of a minimum AED1 million within the UAE and either:

    • Own one or more real estate properties in the UAE valued at a minimum AED1 million, or
    • Have a fixed annual income that is no less than AED240,000 in Abu Dhabi or AED180,000 in Dubai (or its equivalent in foreign currencies)


    1. UAE Remote / Virtual Work Residence Visa

    Non-UAE nationals employed outside the UAE are eligible to apply for a Virtual Work Visa. This one-year visa allows foreigners to enter and live in the UAE under self-sponsorship. To qualify, applicants must provide evidence that:

    • They work remotely for an organisation outside the UAE.
    • Receive a monthly income of USD3,500 (or its equivalent in foreign currencies).


    1. Dubai Virtual Work Residence Visa

    Non-UAE nationals employed outside the UAE are permitted to live and work in Dubai with a virtual one-year work visa. To qualify, applicants must currently live and work outside the UAE are required to:

    • Have an average minimum income of USD5,000 per month.
    • Work remotely for an organisation or own a company outside the UAE.
    • Have a passport with a validity of minimum six months.
    • Have a valid health insurance covering them in the UAE.

    Successful applicants can subsequently apply for residency visas for qualifying family members.


    Establishing Tax Residency in the UAE

    The UAE does not apply personal income tax and, until recently, there was no domestic legislative definition of personal tax residence. As of 31 March 2023, however, individuals will be deemed to be tax resident in the UAE if:

    • The individual’s usual or principal place of residence is in the UAE and the centre of their financial and personal interests is in the UAE, or other conditions prescribed by the Minister, or
    • The individual has been physically present in the UAE for a period of 183 days or more in a 12-month period, or
    • The individual has been physically present in the UAE for a period of 90 days or more over a 12-month period and is a UAE citizen, UAE resident or GCC national who either has a permanent place of residence in the UAE or carries out a job or business in the UAE.


    Formulating Comprehensive Residency Solutions

    If correctly planned and implemented, residency programmes provide a solid foundation upon which it is possible to build flexible asset management strategies. When combined and managed correctly, the following core Sovereign products and services provide both clients and partners with flexible and tax-efficient solutions:

    • International residency and citizenship programmes.
    • Tax residency.
    • Trusts and foundations.
    • Estate and succession planning.
    • International retirement plans.
    • Wealth management.
    • Corporate structures and banking.
    • International life and medical insurances.
Contact Sovereign’s Residency & Citizenship Planning team
Get in Touch

Please contact us if you have any questions or queries and your local representative will be in touch with you as soon as possible.