How to Settle in UAE with Family – Choices Available for Expats

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Geographically well-positioned, UAE is one of the favorite destinations for tourists, businessmen, and foreigners to settle with their families and make it their second home.

There are umpteen reasons why UAE has grown to a popular choice for all. To name a few, they are:

  • The high-end infrastructure and lifestyle in the UAE at 1/3rd cost compared to European countries
  • The zero personal income tax rates, just 5% VAT, 100% foreign ownership of property & companies and ease of doing business
  • UAE is the trade hub of the Middle East, UAE has one of the Safest banking sectors with the presence of all international Banks & hassle-free opening of bank accounts (Currency Arab Emirate Dirham pegged to Dollar)
  • Easy access to world-markets in 160 countries, well-developed air, and sea transport & logistics support
  • Geo-Political stability in UAE with enormous Government support to promote trade & entrepreneurship
  • Safety & Security of life, the lowest crime rate in the world, high-end health care facilities, residents less prone to infections due to weather, hygiene, and food habits.

The Government of UAE has launched a series of initiatives in the lines of promoting Business ecosystem, real estate, Banking, lifestyle & tourism.

How to Settle in UAE with Family

UAE aims to bring in a fresh talent pool, business growth, and foreign investment through the long term residence initiatives. “ FEEL FREE TO GROW” is the campaign initiated by a major Freezone in UAE.

Here is a list of options available for a Foreign expatriate to settle in UAE with their family.

1. Investor Visa through Company Formation

Setting up a company in one of the cheapest Free Zones of UAE is an easy way to obtain a 3-year Investor Residence Visa.

The Investor visa holder is eligible to sponsor their family subsequently to the company formation and processing of the owner visa.

2-Year Investor Residency Visa

The 2-year Investor Residency Visa can be renewed continuously at the end of its expiry period so that it’s almost like a permanent resident in UAE.

The country is NOT issuing any passport by way of separate CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT in UAE. The UAE Free Zones has a wide range of Company Formation Packages tailormade for various investor requirements.

An investor can choose from multiple business license types, activities, office types, visa quota, free zone locations, etc. based on their nature of the business activity and budgets.

To know more about choosing the right Free Zone and Business Setup Package, talk to our expert team!

2. Residence Visa through Investment & Deposits

UAE grants residence visas for those investors who make significant deposits in a Company and become a shareholder or deposit on the entrepreneurial projects in the UAE.

Investments into new company formation or entrepreneur projects worth of AED 5 Million are eligible for a 5-year investor visa.

3. Residence Visa through Property Purchase

Property owners with an investment of at least AED 1 Million in designated freehold areas are eligible for a two-year renewable visa. As long as the property rests with the owner, the visa will remain valid. The investor must-visit UAE at least once every 180 days for keeping the visa status active.

The Visa provides all benefits of living in the UAE, apply for a driving license, opening a bank account, sponsor family, etc. The property residence visa does not entitle the investor to work in UAE.

4. Long Term Residence Visa

The Long Term Residence Visa is currently the most popular investment opportunity available for foreign expatriates and businessmen due to the long term validity of the visa. Here are the criteria required for fulling the Long Term Residence Visa issuance in the UAE.

Eligibility for 10-Year Visa (GOLD VISA)

1. Investment in UAE in the form of Real Estate and Business Setup

Public Investment of at least 10 AED million in the UAE in the form of real estate investment and other business investments.

The investment could be in any of the below forms:

  • AED 10 Million deposit in the investment fund in UAE
  • Company formation with a capital of AED 10 Million
  • Partnership with an existing or new company with a share value of AED 10 Million
  • Having a total investment of AED 10 Million in UAE with 60% of investment in sectors other than real-estate. (Real Estate shall not be under the mortgage)

Conditions to be met for issuance of the 10-Year Long Term Visa

  • The amount must not be loaned
  • The investment must be retained for at least 3 years
  • There should be financial solvency of up to AED 10 million
  • Each partner who contributes to AED 10 Million, could apply for the visa individually

The long term visa holder is eligible to sponsor their family, one advisor, and an executive director.

Investors from abroad could apply for the six-month multiple-entry visa initially to complete the procedures and apply for the long term visa.

2. People with Specialized Talents

Specialist Talents in the field of research, innovation, science, medical, art & Creativity have an opportunity to avail of the 10-year long term license.

The visa advantage also extends to the immediate family.  All the job categories require to have a valid employment contract in the specialized field.

To know more, read: Criteria for Long Term Residence Visa

5-Year Long Term Residence Visa in the UAE

Another popular visa option is the 5-year visa for entrepreneurs, property investors, and outstanding students.

Eligibility for a 5-Year Visa

1. Investors in a property in the UAE

The investment must be made in any residential property in the freehold areas of the UAE with a gross value of AED 5 Million

  • Real estate property shall not be under the mortgage.
  • The property must be retained for at least 3 years

2. Investment in Entrepreneur Projects

Investment of AED 5 Million in any of the entrepreneurial projects or accredited business incubators based in UAE is another option available for a long term residence visa.

A six-month multiple entry visa would be allowed initially to complete the long term visa process. The investor is eligible to sponsor Spouse & Children, also a partner and three executives.

3. Outstanding Students

Students with outstanding academic performance are eligible for the 5-Year Long Term Visa.

Students with a minimum of 95% marks in public & private secondary schools. Also, university students within and outside country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation. The student is eligible to sponsor the family under the long term visa.

5. Freelance Permit

Freelance Visa permits are gaining popularity in the UAE recently. Most of the UAE Free Zones are offering Freelance Permits with Visa quota at affordable rates. Freelancers and Part-time employees can apply for freelance permits from the Free Zones and work legally in the UAE.

Freelancing is common mostly in the field of marketing, IT, Consulting, etc. A Freelance Permit is a perfect way to start an entrepreneurial journey in the UAE. It helps you to test the market first and then take the big step towards setting up your dream company.

6. Residence Visa through Employment

Expats who do not want to start a company or invest in property could consider the option of getting employed in a UAE based company. The employer would sponsor your visa and subsequently, you could bring your family to the UAE.

Most of the first-timers to UAE follow this route and then in the future look at opportunities of company formation once they get to know the local UAE market and business environment well.

Why choose UAE for Settling with your Family?

UAE is a perfect place to start your life and business establishment due to the world-class infrastructure and a stable economic & business environment. Also, being part of the growing business ecosystem provides you with numerous opportunities and networking capabilities.

UAE has it all to keep your family entertained year-round, it is one of the most secure and liveable places in the world. The Overall business and economic environment in the UAE are positive for long term growth and sustainability.

To know more about Long term residence visa and how to peacefully settle in UAE with your family, reach out to our expert business consultants right away!

Read more about “Why it is the Best Time to Start a Business in UAE?“.


A Marketing Consultant working @Aurion Business Consultants specialized in writing about Business Setup in UAE tips, License Packages, Free Zones, LLC Company Formation, Startups, etc in the UAE.


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