Golden Card – A Dream Come True For Expats Living in The UAE

October 6, 2023

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Golden card, a permanent residency for expats in the UAE is a reality.  Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday, 21st May 2019 announced it on twitter.

“The permanent residency “Golden card” will be granted to exceptional talents and everyone who positively contributes to the success story of the UAE.  We want them to be permanent partners in our journey. Residents are an indispensable part of our country.”

Hundreds of UAE business leaders have been granted 10-year residency visas under the government’s new golden card scheme.

Eligibility Criteria for Golden Card

The visa is available to five categories of experts:

Investors, entrepreneurs, chief executives, scientists and outstanding students

Officials announced on June that 400 visa have been issued so far and executives with the salary of 30,000 dirhams or more could apply for the visa.

Let’s look at each of these categories,

1. Foreign Investors:

At least one of the following conditions must be met by a foreign investor in order to be eligible for gold card.

  • A deposit of up to AED10million in an investment fund in the UAE.
  • Owner of a company with AED10million in capital or a partner in a company with a share of up to AED10million.

Moreover, below conditions should also be met.

  • The investment fund must be fully owned instead of being funded through a loan. Proof must be shown.
  • The investment should be held for minimum 3 years.
  • The investor must also provide a detailed insurance document for themselves and their family.

2. Entrepreneurs:

 Should own a successful project with a value of AED 500,000 or more in a certified field of UAE

  • Should provide the approval as certified business incubator who is owner of the project
  • Also required to provide detailed health insurance for themselves and family

3. Chief Executives

Chief executives will be eligible for gold card if,

  • They have completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Should have 5 or more years of experience
  • Earn minimum of AED30,000 or more salary with valid contract in UAE
  • Also required to provide detailed health insurance for themselves and family

4. Specialists

Following can apply for the gold card in UAE,

  • Professors from any one of the top 500 international universities, approved by the Ministry of Education
  • Individuals who have obtained an award or certificate of appreciation in their current specialty
  • Scientists who have contributed to major studies or research
  • Individuals who have done PhD and have 20 years’ practical experience in their field
  • Individuals who specialize in fields considered important to the UAE

5. Outstanding Students

Academically strong students with an average of at least 95% in school or grade point average of minimum 3.75 on graduation from universities in the UE or abroad will qualify for 5 year visa for themselves and their families.

More specific criteria is yet to be revealed but the move expects to attract best international students to the UAE.

You may ask why UAE is being so generous?

Actually UAE is being super smart and progressive. This announcement has created an interesting new paradigm for investors here. This will likely boost the attractiveness of the emirate for top global talent and investment.

Long-term residents who have greatly contributed to the UAE development are also being rewarded for their loyalty and are encouraged to continue investing in the UAE. Balvinder Sahni, Founder and Chairman of RSG Group upon receiving golden card said,

“I felt honored. This country always respects genuine business people. This is my home now and I would love to live here forever.”

Also what’s going to happen here is that the rule changes will deliver boost to office and residential market directly and immediately. More business owners could be tempted to buy office spaces in the UAE rather than just rent them out.

Owning your own home also becomes a lot more attractive. If you know you can stay here for a decade and not just two years as it was in the past. This could also lead to increased property sales. Louie Alsop, CEO of Alsop says,

“The move is huge milestone for the UAE and for the property market. Over the last few years, there are continuous measures taken to develop property market further which in turn adds longevity to the UAE. First with 5year visa, then 10 year visas, then now with permanent residency option.”

Also, Dubai’s appeal as a retirement destination for British expatriates given brexit could also increase.

So far about 6,800 selected investors and residents are those individuals and apparently the total investment they represent is more than Dh100 billion.

For the last 30 years, UAE has undergone rapid pace of development, the idea of belonging has increasingly become more and more important. And now with permanent residency option, expats living in the UAE can call the country their home.

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