New property residence visas UAE
New 3 year property investor visa UAE
- At the end of June 2011 there were reports that the duration of the UAE property investor residence visa would be extended from 6 months to 3 years.
- Not clear when this would take effect, if at all (it might be one of those things that is talked about to gauge consumer and/or business response).
- No information supplied as to whether it would be a proper residence visa, or just a much longer multi-entry visit visa (see below for how that makes a difference).
- Not clear either if previous restrictions would still be applied (minimum property value AED 1 million, minimum monthly income AED 10,000).
- A number of business commentators said this might provide a boost to the property market in Dubai and the UAE, which has not recovered from the crash that started in around 2007.
- Large numbers of newly completed properties are forecast to become available during 2011, 2012, and beyond. The changing investor residence visa conditions might be an attempt to influence property prices. If it is, it is not confidence inspiring - who knows whether or not the duration will be changed again in the future if there is a shortage of property prompting an increase in prices.
6 month property investor visa UAE
From 01 June 2009, the UAE will implement a new system of residence visas for UAE property owners which supersedes the old property investor residence visa that was valid in Dubai, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah (previously there was no residence visa based on expat property ownership in Abu Dhabi). According to a WAM report on 02 May 2009, a new paragraph will be added to "Article 33 of the executive regulations of the entry and residency law for entry and residency of foreigners", and a new article, number 34, will be included in the by-law specifying the conditions of the new visa.
- UAE multi-entry visa valid for 6 months at a time, permits multiple entries to the UAE. Commonly referred to as a residence visa but not clear if that's the official term. The difference in terminology might be significant.
- Property owner residence visa can be renewed indefinitely but the visa holder must exit the UAE and re-apply. The applicant can apply right away rather than wait for a month outside the UAE, according to information on 05 May 2009.
- Update 03 August 2009: according to a WAM news report "... when the multi visit visa issued to a property owner expires abroad, his/her visa will be renewed at the airport at arrival."
- Cost of six-month UAE residence visa is AED 2,000. Renewal cost is the same.
- Minimum salary requirement of investor is AED 10,000 per month, or equivalent. Not clear if income must be sourced only from outside the UAE - conflicting reports seen.
- Property value must be at least AED 1 million. Appears to be based on purchase price (evidence needs to be shown) rather than original price or current market value.
- Medical insurance is required for investor and familiy members applying for residence visa under property ownership scheme.
- Property must be complete, and title deed in visa applicant's name has been obtained. Joint property owners cannot apply for residence visa (in contrast to the previous system which allowed first named owner to apply).
- Direct family members (spouse, children) can be included under the property owner's sponsorship. Not clear if primary sponsor must be male, if there is an maximum age limit for children, or if family members can travel in and out of the UAE independently.
- Property must be of an appropriate size to house family members if applicable i.e. a family of 4 is unlikely to be granted a visa if the property is a studio flat (not that there are many studios over AED 1 million in the UAE).
- Property residence visa holders under the previous system must change their visa to the new system from 01 June 2009 otherwise they will be regarded as being in breach of UAE immigration laws (bad luck if you just got your 3 year visa in April 2009).
- Property owners (and family) might be required to have to have a medical test as with other residence visas (visitors with short term entry permits do not have to do a medical test).
- Unknown if property residence visa holders can apply for UAE driving licences, bank accounts, telephone connections, etc. Other residence visa holders can, and previous property residence visa holders could. If the new visa is a "visit" visa rather than a "residence" visa, then probably not.
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) property investor visa
- Apparently investors in some properties in Ras Al Khaimah can still get a 3 year residence visa, but it sounds a bit grey.
- Emirates Business 24-7 on 19 August 2010 quoted a sales agent for
the Royal Breeze Direct Sea View Apartments at Al Hamra Village
as saying "You will get the visa from our sister company, which is Rakia. The visa is guaranteed once you purchase a property, ... You will get the title deed after paying in full. For the visa, we will arrange a trade licence for you so you can get a residence visa. It will cost Dh5,000 but that is a one time payment. This visa is renewable every three years for Dh2,000. ... Ras Al Kaimah laws are totally different. Here the visa is guaranteed,"
- This does not sound like a residence visa for property owners, but a residence visa for company owners and/or investors, which is normally 3 years renewable, and does not have the restrictions that a property owner visa has. The holder of the visa can also sponsor their direct dependents.
UAE property visa questions and conflicts
Visit visa or residence visa?
- A "residence" visa gives the holder more rights in the UAE with respect to applying for driving licences etc so the distinction is important.
- Most reports refer to a "multi-entry" visa implying it is a long visit visa. Other residence visas for the UAE are multi-entry by default, that point is never highlighted. Whereas visit visas are usually single-entry unless specifically described as a multi-entry visa.
- WAM, the official UAE news agency, in its 03 May 2009 report refers to a "multi-trip entry visa" and "multi-entry permit" which is terminology more often associated with visit visas, not residence visas. The report does not specifically refer to a "residence" visa, or even make the implication that it's a residence visa. Similarly, comments from Brigadier Nasser Al Awadhi Al Minhali, Acting Director-General of the Federal Naturalisation and Residency Department (FNRD), subsequently reported in the press refer to "multiple entry visas", not residence visas.
- 03 August 2009 update: In a WAM news report about the implementation of the the new visa, the heading said "DNRD discusses with property developers implementation of multi visit visas" implying that it was a form of visit visa, not a residence visa, which would probably mean no bank accounts, Dubai driving licenses, health card, and other facilities that expat residents are entitled to apply for.
Length of stay outside the UAE: (one month or return immediately?)
- Gulf News 05 May 2009 reports the previously mentioned Brigadier Al Minhali, as saying "After spending six months in the country, the investor must leave the UAE to return to his home country or any of the GCC countries for at least a month before he is eligible to apply for a fresh multiple entry visa" (at least that's what the print version says, the online version has the words "for at least a month" removed).
- A follow up report in the Gulf News on 05 May 2009 said "It was reported earlier that people who complete six months stay need to stay out of UAE for at least a month before being able to renew the visa. However, the Interior ministry on Tuesday confirmed there is no waiting time before renewing the visa."
- Khaleej Times 05 May 2009 reports the same Brigadier Al Minhali as saying "To renew the visa, the owners should leave the country to their home lands, or to the GCC countries, without need to stay one month as they can apply to renew the visa after hours of leaving the country"
Income source: (confusion could be because the new law says visa holders are not permitted to work in the UAE - as with any visit visa or residence visa, it is permission to stay in the UAE, not to work)
- WAM 02 May 2009 says "Article 34 stipulates that owner should have a fixed income of not less than Dh 10,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies whether inside or outside the country"
- Gulf News 05 May 2009 reports that "the investor must have a monthly income no less than Dh10,000 or equivalent in foreign currencies"
- The National 05 May 2009 says "The income must come from outside the UAE;"
- Our interpretation: Income can come from within UAE or outside, but not as a result of employment in the UAE (income from bank interest, stock dividends, etc should be ok, a questionmark over rental income from properties owned in the UAE).
Old property residence visas:
- Emirates Business 05 May 2009 says "All visas given to owners of properties across the UAE will be cancelled after their expiry and they will not be renewed according to old rules, said a senior official" which implies current property residence visa holders can wait until expiry before applying for a new residence visa.
- Khaleej Times 05 May 2009 reports
the aforementioned Brigadier Al Menhali of the Ministry of the Interior FNRD as saying "We informed the residency departments nationwide to start to settle the old owners' situation in a month as the new decision will be officially implemented by June 1; otherwise, they will violate the law and would be illegals if they have no residencies or work at firms". So watch out if you have one of the old visas.
Last update Thursday 14-Jul-2011