UAE: Abu Dhabi invites expats to explore long-term visa, citizenship options

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Abu Dhabi - Capital launches Golden Visa programme to invite professionals, students and investors to settle down with their families.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 11 Feb 2021, 1:23 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:21 AM

Abu Dhabi has launched a programme inviting all talented professionals, students and investors to settle down with their families in the UAE capital.

Called Thrive in Abu Dhabi, the initiative seeks to develop key sectors such as culture, healthcare, research and development (R&D), and real estate.

It offers long-term visas that may translate to the coveted UAE citizenship for talented expatriates in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment, while contributing to Abu Dhabi’s sustainable development.

“Creative talent are encouraged to be part of a global arts and culture hub, join the emirate’s dynamic media and the entertainment industry, or support the development of our understanding of the past among fellow academics, conservators and archaeologists,” an official release stated.

“The creative visa builds on the five-year Culture Sector Strategy for Abu Dhabi, unveiled in November 2019 by the Department of Culture and Tourism, which covers five strategic objectives: preserve and sustain its cultural heritage; increase awareness of, and engagement with, cultural heritage and the arts; stimulate creativity as a driver for education and social change; build and enable capacity in its culture sector; contribute to economic growth and diversification.”

Abu Dhabi has a thriving cultural and creative sector with strong global credentials. They include world-class museums, art centres, art fairs, music concerts, and a grassroots artistic community.

The Capital also boasts the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Warehouse241, Abu Dhabi Art annual fair, Qasr Al Hosn and Cultural Foundation and the forthcoming Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim — not to mention international educational institutions supporting students to excel in creative activities such as NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, Berkley College, and CNN Academy.

Students especially have opportunities galore. Those pursuing a PhD or have promising scientific ability at either high school or university level, can expand their horizons and ensure exciting career paths by studying at one of a collection of world-class academic institutions in Abu Dhabi such as NYUAD, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and Khalifa University.

Students can also learn the skills of the future, including in specialist areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), at the new Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence, or coding at 42 Abu Dhabi.

They can participate in pioneering research in areas related to Covid-19 and farm technology at UAE University, or focus on tolerance and coexistence at the world’s first university dedicated to the human fraternity, the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities.

Thrive in Abu Dhabi also invites innovators to turn their ideas into reality — with access to funding and incentives — as part of a dynamic R&D ecosystem that is pioneering new technologies to solve the global challenges of the future, from water security to food technology.

As part of Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme, Ghadan 21, the Department of Education and Knowledge has launched academic research grants to award Dh40 million in competitive research funding to support R&D.

Details about the programme — including the long-term visas and paths to citizenship — can be found at or by calling 02-6664442 (outside UAE) or 800 555 (within UAE).

How to Thrive in Abu Dhabi

Each category within the Thrive in Abu Dhabi programme has its own set of norms for five to 10-year options. For pathways to citizenship, eligibility criteria are yet to be announced.

Types of visas

>> Investor visa

(including real estate investors)

>> Entrepreneur visa

Visa for student with Promising Scientific Ability

>> Visa for promising students

(High school students and university graduates)

>> Special talent visa

(Doctors, scientists, creative people in the arts and culture industry, innovators, executive directors, educators in priority fields, sports, doctorate degree-holders and engineers)

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