The updated residency and visa procedures recently adopted by the UAE highlight the country’s approach to promoting the values of tolerance and openness to other countries and their peoples.
A UAE Cabinet resolution issued yesterday, which allows expatriate students to bring their families to the country and sponsor them, will consolidate the country’s international position as a leading education and work destination, reinforcing its competitiveness in regional and global indexes related to residency and entry visa flexibility.
Over the past four years, the UAE has adopted a series of key updates to its UAE residency visa requirements. In 2017, the country announced the launch of an updated medical treatment visa allowing foreign patients to be issued with individual or group visas for 90 days, which are renewable if required upon a request from the hospital, boosting the country’s international stature in the field of healthcare and treatment tourism.
In September 2018, the UAE Cabinet approved a law to provide retired residents over the age of 55 a long-term visa for a period of 5 years, which can be automatically renewed if the retiree owns a real estate investment worth AED2 million, or if their financial savings are worth at least AED1 million, or if they have proof of income of AED20,000 per month or over.
UAE Golden Residency, a ten-year residency visa In 2019, the UAE adopted the long-term “UAE Golden residency visa, a 10-year residency visa, which benefitted investors, entrepreneurs, talents, scholars in sciences and knowledge, PhD holders, doctors and engineers, as well as overachievers who graduated from Emirati universities with a GPA of 3.8 or more.
The changes and developments to the UAE’s residency and visa systems are not limited to the investment and tourism sectors, they also address humanitarian factors. In 2018, the UAE Cabinet issued a resolution granting the citizens of countries suffering from wars and disasters a one-year residency visa while allowing widows, divorced women and their children to renew their residency visas without a sponsor for one year, renewable once.
On 28th December, 2020, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, instructed those concerned to extend the visas of visitors for one month free of charge, because many countries have temporarily closed their airports or suspended flights as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
During the pandemic, the UAE made several decisions related to residency and tourism visa procedures, to support the financial and living conditions of residents and tourists and ensure their safety and security.
In March 2020, the UAE Cabinet issued a resolution extending residency permits that expired on 1st March, 2020, by three months, which could be renewed without additional fees. People who visited the country at the start of the pandemic were also given a one-month extension, which is renewable once.