UAE visa reforms: 11 entry permits that make it easier to visit, work and live in the country

Dubai Ruler shares list of key milestones the government has implemented on social media


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Wed 12 Apr 2023, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Sat 15 Apr 2023, 5:45 PM

Streamlining how visitors can enter the UAE; making longer visit visas available for tourists; offering long-term residency for select professionals, and expanding the Golden Visa scheme are among the game changers the UAE has done recently to attract more people coming from every corner of the world.

These key reforms have been achieved with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the helm of the UAE Cabinet. On Wednesday, he tweeted a list of key milestones the government has implemented as he vowed the country will continue to march forward.

Here are the key reforms that have made it easier for people to reside in the UAE, visit the country, and explore job opportunities for a longer period of time with no sponsor or host required.

Golden visa

This 10-year residency visa was first introduced in 2020, designed to enable foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need for a local sponsor. It also comes with 100 per cent ownership of their businesses. While ordinary expatriates must renew their residency visa every two to three years, holder of Golden visa can renew it for a further decade. Golden visa is given to people who have “highly-prized skills or work in key industries that are crucial to economic growth”. Now, tens of thousands of expatriates have now been awarded a Golden visa in recognition of their exceptional status.

Job-seeker visa

This has come into effect in October last year. It allows people to come to the UAE without the need for a sponsor or host to explore work, investment and business opportunities. Fresh graduates of the top 500 universities in the world can apply for this visa. The minimum educational level of the applicant should be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

Business exploration visa

This visa allows easy entry for people to explore investment and business opportunities in the UAE without requiring a host or sponsor. It only requires a deposit.

Medical treatment entry visa

This is available via sponsorship of a licensed UAE medical establishment. A certified medical report and a letter from the sponsored establishment are required. Medical insurance and deposit are also required.

Study visa

This visa is sponsored by educational, training or research institutions in the UAE.

Multi-entry tourist visa

This was introduced in March 2021. It’s a five-year multi-entry visa for tourists to enter the UAE several times during a calendar year for 90 days at a time, which can be extended for another 90 days. The entire period of stay should not exceed 180 days in one year. Multi-entry visa does not require a sponsor but the applicant should prove a bank balance of US$4,000 six months prior to applying.

Visit visa

People can apply to visit a relative or a friend who is a resident in the UAE after providing a document proving the relationship and reasons behind the visit. No sponsor is required; only a deposit.

Transit visa

The UAE issues two types of transit visa: one for 48 hours which is free of charge, and another for 96 hours for Dh50. This visa is issued by UAE-based airlines and is not extendable.

GCC residents e-visa

This visa is available to residents of GCC countries and their family members. The GCC residency must be valid for at least three months from the arrival date and the GCC resident’s passport must be valid for at least three months.

Temporary work mission visa

This is the best option for temporary workers on projects or probationary periods. The person applying for this visa should provide a temporary work contract, medical test and agreement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if the sponsor is under the ministry’s regulations or if the person is a domestic worker.

Diplomatic affairs visa

This entry permit is for holders of diplomatic, special and UN passports. It can be issued by UAE embassies and consulates outside the country.


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