We are often asked by our clients: Can I get a residency visa if I buy a property in Dubai?
Wading through visa regulations, requirements and restrictions can be confusing, so in an effort to provide clarity on the subject, we have created this guide for you.
So, firstly: Is it possible to obtain a residency visa when purchasing a property in Dubai?
Whilst the visa options available to anyone looking to live, work or invest in Dubai have changed a fair bit in recent years, there are currently two options open to property investors who would like to live or stay in Dubai.
Types of Visas
The two types of visa currently available to property investors in Dubai are:
- The Property Investor Visa
- The Six Months Residency Visa
How Does Each Visa Work?
The Property Investor Visa – This is a two-year renewable visa that is issued by the Dubai Land Department. This visa enables you to become a UAE resident, obtain an Emirates ID and UAE driving license. You can also sponsor family to join you as well. One key restriction is that this visa is only available for Dubai property investments.
The Six Months Residency Visa – This option is a standard visa, which in many ways is closer to a visitor visa than a residence visa. It is issued by the relevant immigration authority. As you can probably tell, it lasts for 6 months, but can be renewed for as long as you meet the requirements. With this visa, you are granted multi-entry access to the UAE, and is available to those who purchase property in any of the seven Emirates, not just Dubai.
The property you invest in must meet certain requirements in order for you to qualify for either of these visas:
- The property must be valued at Dh1 million or more. This valuation is based on the purchase price listed on the title deed, not the current value of the property when you apply for the visa.
- For joint property ownership, such as owning the property with your spouse, the shared value of your property must exceed Dh1 million.
- The Dh1 million valuation can only apply to one title deed – you cannot consolidate all your investments to meet this valuation requirement on your visa application.
- You will need to provide the title deed (in the name of the applicant) with your visa application, therefore only completed properties qualify. Properties bought off-plan cannot be used to apply for a visa.
- The property you invest in must be freehold and must be a residential property in a “habitable” condition i.e. it must be suitable to be lived in and maintained in a good condition. Commercial property investments do not qualify for these visas.
Both visas have a minimum income requirement of Dh10,000 per month (or equivalent currency). This can be earned either inside or outside the UAE. You will need to provide proof of income as part of your application.
If you meet the requirements listed above, you will then be able to apply for your desired visa with either the Dubai Land Department or relevant immigration authority (depending on which you choose to apply for, see above). As part of your application, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Title Deed on the property
- Passport copy of the applicant
- Current visa status/copy
- Passport photos (x6)
- Certificate of Good Conduct (from Dubai Police)
- Bank Statements
- Utility Bill
The Six Month Residency Visa costs approximately Dh2,300, plus additional fees for sponsorship of a family member (Dh250) and renewal (Dh1,100 each time).
By contrast, the Property Investor Visa costs is considerably more expensive at approximately Dh13,000-Dh15,000, which includes:
- A police clearance letter (Dh220)
- Administration fees (Dh420)
- Application costs (Dh3,000)
- Typing and entry permit (Dh1,100)
- DED license issuance (Dh 8,440)
- Stamping/Emirates ID/medical (Dh2,490)
- Additional fees for family sponsorship and renewals (Dh5,000-6,000)
Things to Be Aware Of:
- Citizenship: Neither visa option will enable you to obtain citizenship to the UAE
- Health: You will be required to undergo an in-country medical examination
- Employment: The visas are purely for residency purposes only, you will not be permitted to undertake employment with either option
- Length of Stay: Whilst there is no maximum term for either visa (providing you continue to renew them at the end of each visa’s term), if you are granted the Property Investor Visa, you must not spend more than six consecutive months outside of Dubai, otherwise your visa will be automatically cancelled
So, which visa should you get?
Well, both options have their pros and cons, so it really depends on your individual circumstances and what you are looking for from both a property investment and a visa.
If you are investing in Dubai specifically, have a larger budget and want more flexibility from your visa, then the Property Investor Visa may well be for you.
However, if you are looking for a cheaper option and can work with the restrictions involved, the Six Month Residency Visa might suit you better.
Finally, the advice given in this document is for guidance only. For further or more in-depth information, consult an immigration expert.
To start your property investment journey in Dubai, why not head on over to see what we currently have on offer in the UAE.