If you’ve recently heard the news about the UAE Green Visa then you might be wondering if it’s worth applying for. When in doubt, take a look at the statistics. In 2021, the UAE expat population alone was an impressive 8.84 million!
It’s easy to see why so many foreign entrepreneurs and businesspeople are flocking here. The UAE has a lot to offer those looking for a change of scenery, including great weather, incredible architecture, and vibrant culture.
While it’s not hard to make this destination an attractive destination for businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors, the UAE government has done just that with the introduction of the new UAE Green Visa.
What do you need to know about the UAE’s Green Visa system? It offers a number of advantages for potential investors and entrepreneurs, as well as foreigners moving to the Emirates. Let’s break down the specifics for you.
What To Know About UAE Green Visa
If you’re a foreign professional looking to live and work in the United Arab Emirates, you may be eligible for a UAE Green Visa, which was announced in the spring of 2022. This means that there’s still little information regarding the specifics.
Ultimately, however, when we talk about the UAE Green Visa, we’re talking about a visa scheme that is designed to cater to a few different types of workers. So what is the UAE Green Visa? It’s part of a program created to help the country expand and develop.
Here’s what to know to see if you qualify for this type of UAE visa as part of moving here if you’re looking to start a business or invest in a new business in the UAE.
Green Residency for Skilled Employees
To qualify for the UAE Green Visa as a skilled employee, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Have a work contract that is currently valid
- Fall into the first, second, or third occupational level (we’ll get into this below)
- Have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from a qualifying university (accredited)
- Earn a salary that is a minimum of AED 15,000 (that’s about $4,000 a month)
First, let’s talk about the occupational levels. There are nine levels in this occupational system. As mentioned, skilled workers need to fall into one of the first three. This includes:
- Level 1: Managers and business executives or legislators
- Level 2: Employees in scientific, technical, and humanitarian fields
- Level 3: Technicians in scientific, technical, and humanitarian fields
Likewise, it’s important to understand the National Qualification Classification System. It was established by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in order to measure the skills of the workforce in the UAE.
The system has three levels, with the first level being the highest.
Having a minimum level of a bachelor’s degree is helpful, as it allows employees to be classified in the first level of the system. This gives them a better chance of being hired by companies that are looking for skilled employees.
What about the minimum salary? It’s currently set to AED 15,000 which, as mentioned, equals roughly USD $4,000. This number has been set out by the UAE government as a basic living wage that allows workers to live comfortably.
Of course, many skilled workers earn significantly more than this, and the average salary for skilled workers is approximately thirty-five thousand dirhams (just over USD $9,500) per month.
Green Residency for Freelancers & Self-Employed Workers
Freelancers and self-employed individuals are also able to solicit a UAE Green Visa residency. The system also allows five years of residency for freelancers and self-employed people without the need for a sponsor or employer in the UAE.
How does the process work? If you’re a freelancer, you will first need to get a freelance permit before you can get a visa. You can get this through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Similar to the skilled worker requirements, to be eligible for a freelancer visa, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent diploma. Those with specialised diplomas may also qualify.
You’ll also have to meet income requirements. However, as a freelancer, it’s a bit different. In this case, you need to prove that you have had sustained consistent income during the past two years. This needs to be equal to AED 360,000 (just over USD $70,700).
However, officials and immigration specialists have noted that meeting the minimum salary requirement is just one factor that is considered during the entire application process.
Before applying, it’s also work looking into some great freelance or home-based business ideas that will help ensure your success while living in Dubai or another city in the UAE.
Green Residency for Investors
The United Arab Emirates is looking to push for growth and is soliciting investors and partners to help make this happen. One way they are enticing potential investors and partners is by offering a Green Visa residency.
This residency gives investors or partners five years of residency if they participate in or establish commercial activities. This replaces the previous two-year residency program. So, as you can see, it’s quite attractive as a long-term residency option.
What do you need to know? You’ll need to provide proof of your investment in a business within the UAE. According to the rules, these investors need to show that they have invested a total of 1 million United Arab Emirates Dirhams invested in the business.
If you as the investor hold more than one license for various businesses then the total investments will be calculated. This means that you could invest AED 500,000 in two businesses and still qualify.
This process can take some time, so it’s important to be patient.
Green Residency for Family Members
One of the most attractive aspects of the UAE Green Visa program? You can bring your family to the UAE!
This scheme offers a number of benefits, including the ability to sponsor parents and children, spouses, and other relatives. Each family member who is sponsored will be eligible for the same rights and benefits as the sponsor, including healthcare and education.
If you want to bring over a son, you’re able to do so as long as they’re under the age of 25. What about your daughter? There is no age limit when it comes to sponsoring daughters as long as they’re unmarried.
Widows are also eligible for sponsorship under this scheme.
Eligibility also extends to children of extenuating health circumstances or that have special needs. These children are given a residency permit with no limit or restrictions on age as well.
Green Visa vs. Employment Visa: What’s the Difference?
In the past, if you wanted to apply for a work visa in the UAE, you would need to have a job offer from a local business. This business would act as your sponsor during the application process.
The sponsorship is an employment contract issued by the Ministry of Labor that outlines the employment terms and conditions of a job offer.
In addition to your employment details, the contract would also have to detail the terms and conditions of your stay in the UAE. Typically, this was all done through an employer. They would sponsor your visa and sometimes help with the processing of it, too.
However, the Green Visa doesn’t require a sponsorship. Instead, you can sponsor yourself. This makes it easier for certain workers to essentially sponsor themselves.
- Business owners
- Self-employed individuals
As you can see, this opens up a visa route for more non-traditional yet skilled workers who might not qualify for a traditional work visa but will still contribute to the dynamic and growing economy.
How Long is the UAE Green Visa Valid For?
Regardless of which route you take to get a Green Visa in the UAE, the visa will be valid for a total of five years. This applies to skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs.
This is a much better long-term option for workers looking to live for an extended period of time in the UAE. Previously, the standard employment residency visa in the UAE was only valid for two years.
However, what’s even better is that this new scheme offers longer flexible grace periods when your employment or visa comes to an end. Now, you have up to six months to stay in the country after the residence permit is canceled or expired.
The Benefits of Getting a UAE Green Visa
The UAE has always been a welcoming country for people from all over the world. The Emirates are known for their beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels, and vibrant nightlife. However, the UAE is also a great place to live and work.
The country offers excellent job opportunities and a high standard of living. The UAE’s new Green Visa is an excellent opportunity for skilled people from different backgrounds to live and work independently in the country.
Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy with your visa.
No Sponsor Required
The main benefit of the UAE Green Visa is that, unlike other visas, it doesn’t require you to be sponsored by your employer. This means that your employer does not have the right to cancel your visa and you are much more secure in your position as a resident.
Get Residency for Your Family
You can now easily bring your family members to the UAE, including your spouse and children.
Additionally, the age requirements are more flexible with the UAE Green Visa. For male children, that age limit has been increased to 25 years of age. There is no age limit for unmarried daughters.
This program also allows you to bring your first-degree relatives, and in all cases, the residency of family members shall be the same duration as the original residence holder.
Fewer “Time In Country” Restrictions
The Green Visa makes travelling in and out of the country easy. With this visa, it’s possible for you to adjust your status if you need to leave the country for any reason.
You can also use this visa to travel to other countries in the Gulf region. This is a great way to make sure that you are able to travel without any problems.
Tax Exemptions in Free Zones
One of the benefits of the UAE Green Visa is that it allows holders to work in the Dubai free zones. What’s a free zone?
They’re tax-free environments where businesses can enjoy 100% repatriation of capital along with increased economic compliance and the ability to enjoy other perks such as a UAE government bank.
Basically, with the UAE Green Visa, you can take advantage of all that the Dubai free zones have to offer while enjoying tax exemptions that can help you improve your bottom line.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the most popular choices for setting up business operations in free zones, but there are many other options available in the UAE.
What Are the Fees for a UAE Green Visa?
The UAE government has said that more details about the visa, including the cost, will be released soon. In the meantime, if you have questions about how the process works or if it’s right for you, definitely get in touch!
Get Help Setting Up Your Business With DUQE
Thinking of applying for the UAE Green Visa for you and your workers or family members? Dubai offers plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups. With the help of DUQE, you can make your mark in this exciting and ever-growing city.
We provide all the necessary resources and support to get your business off the ground and running.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you get your UAE Green Visa.