UAE Green Visa, A New Path towards A Bright Future
Green Visa is the latest resident visa announced by the UAE government as part of the ‘Projects of the 50’, a series of developmental and economic projects honoring the UAE’s 50th anniversary with the aim to increase the UAE’s development and integrate them into a comprehensive hub in all sectors and establish its status as an ideal destination for talents and investors.
Included among the residency reforms are green visa and freelancer visa schemes, which allow foreigners to work in the country without the need for employer sponsorship. Holders of the new green visa will be able to sponsor their parents and children up to the age of 25 years.
At the moment, applicants should be making a monthly salary of a minimum of AED 20,000 to sponsor a parent. In addition, sons above the age of 18 years are only allowed to reside in the country if they are registered in educational institutions.
The Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi says green visa holders have a greater grace period of 90-180 days to leave the country upon job loss or retirement instead of 30.
Senior officials and experts say that the newly launched ‘green visa’ will greatly benefit expatriate families and ensure their stability in the UAE.
The specific regulatory changes related to visas include:
- Extension of business trip permits from 3 months to 6 months,
- Sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members,
- One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases,
- Extension of children’s age limit on parents’ residency from 18 to 25 years,
- Extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90 to 180 days.
Who is eligible for the Green Visa?
With Green Visa, the self-residency status has been further expanded to
- Highly-skilled individuals,
- Top students and graduates,
- Those running small and medium enterprises,
- Scientists and other talented people.
What is a Freelancer Visa?
Freelancer Visa is a new federal visa for self-employed workers that was announced along with the Green Visa. It is the first federal scheme of its kind and enables self-employers to sponsor themselves.
Who can apply for the Freelancer Visa?
Self-employed workers based in the UAE and overseas in specialized fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and digital currencies.
Half a Century
The green and freelance visas are part of the main legislative changes that will upgrade visas and work permits issued by the UAE. The residency reforms are part of ‘Projects of the 50’, which will outline the roadmap for the next 50 years. Launched under the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiative, 13 out of 50 new developmental projects were revealed by members of the UAE Cabinet on September 5, 2021.
Foreigners make up about 90% of the 10-million population of the UAE. NRIs (non-resident Indians) will be the largest community to benefit from the new visa rules as they make up 60% of the expatriate population in the country.
“The new visas give the holders a sense of permanence in the UAE,” said K V Shamsudheen, managing director, Barjeel Geojit Financial Services, Dubai. Like the golden visa, it gives self-residency status to holders. It distinguishes between work permits and residencies, meaning the residence permit is not connected to a company work permit. The self-residency visa will be sponsored by employees themselves, not their companies if they are employed. Expatriates can currently get limited validity visas linked to their employment, which requires them to exit the country upon the expiry of the visas or renew them periodically.
The Differences between Golden Visa and Green Visa
The green visa scheme is different from the golden visa scheme launched in 2019. The golden visa is issued for five or 10 years and suits high net worth individuals who bring large investments to the UAE. The golden visa offers ex-pats the opportunity to live in the country without being forced to renew their visa every two or three years and without the need for a sponsor.
Another new visa is also introduced for foreign students aged 15 and above looking to gain work experience across several different sectors. This is to project the UAE as an ideal destination for work, education, and entrepreneurship for people in any field.
Previously, golden visas were offered to a particular set of expatriates. However, the eligibility has now been expanded to include managers, chief executives, specialists in science, engineering, health, education, business management, and technology specialists.
“This means the procedures for the 10-year visa has been simplified for attracting highly skilled and specialized residents, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, pioneers, leading students, and graduates,” said Shamsudheen.
Explaining how the green visa is different from the other visa programs such as the gold or silver residencies, Al Zeyoudi told Khaleej Times: “It is a continuation. We have three systems of residency visas – tourist, golden and green. They all complement each other. More details of how exactly the system works will be announced soon.”
According to the minister, the applicant will be self-dependent under the green visa scheme, and not attached to companies. Furthermore, individuals over the age of 15 can work under a temporary visa scheme.
“Some humanitarian relaxations have also been made for widows/widowers and divorcees, for example. They will be given a full year to find a job instead of the 30-day period to leave the country. Many humanitarian aspects have been taken into consideration in the new system,” added Al Zeyoudi.
Hundreds of expatriates, who lost their jobs caused by the economic recession following the spread of the covid-19 pandemic, have set up their own businesses, making use of the changes in the sponsorship rules and incentives offered by various free zones in the UAE.
In addition, the costs of setting up businesses are decreasing drastically with the free zones offering competitive rates for issuing trade licenses and establishing businesses.
100% foreign ownership is allowed in the free zones and the same ownership is now also possible for companies outside the free zones. The average cost of setting up a business ranges from AED 15,000 to AED 50,000, depending on the nature of the business.
For more information, please contact one of our advisors in the UAE, Denmark, or Canada, and we will do our utmost to answer your question regarding the residency, citizenship, and immigration processes.
Do not hesitate to comment below, if you have any questions or experience about investment in the UAE Green Visa.