How to Apply for Residence Visa in UAE – Types of UAE Residence Visa Explained

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There is no better time to settle down in UAE for the ex-pat population with their family. UAE is offering long-term residence visas, green visas, freelance visas, etc.

The investor visa is one of the most preferred visa options in the UAE among entrepreneurs. The investor visa validity is mostly for 3-years in the free zone and 2 years in the mainland.

The 100% foreign ownership, no income tax and corporate tax, full profit repatriation, favorable business environment, etc., makes Dubai a perfect choice for business investment and establishing a company.

Types of UAE Residence Visa for Expatriates

There are many ways in Dubai to obtain a residence Visa. Following are few resident visa options that ex-pats can avail of themselves in the UAE.

1. Free Zone Business License

The easiest way to get a residence visa in UAE is by starting a small business by obtaining a single visa quota business license from anyone Free Zone in UAE.

The Free Zones in UAE offer virtual business licenses to investors with Flexi-desk, and co-working spaces for conducting their desired business activity through obtaining the business license.

Residence Visa in UAE

The Free Zones in UAE are a vital part of economic growth. Despite the Pandemic, there are significant new company registrations recorded on various Free Trade Zones in UAE.

It is a secured business jurisdiction and offers UAE residence for company owners, and employees under a company registered in the respective Free Zone as well as provides all required infrastructure facilities for the business to thrive.

2. Mainland Company License

For investors aiming to venture into the mainland of UAE and actively expand their local business, a mainland company license is the right choice. Start a Limited Liability Company in the mainland of Dubai, take an investor visa, and sponsor employees and thrive the business.

Mainland business has many advantages for investors. With 100% ownership for expatriates, easy bank account opening, lower rental expenses, flexibility to expand, etc., LLC Company formation is one of the investor favorite choices.

3. Freelance Permit

For young entrepreneurs who want to start their business for the first time or try out the UAE market before going full-fledged by opening a company, getting a Freelance Permit is an ideal choice.

There are few Free Zones in UAE that offer Freelance Permits for various business activities. The Freelance Permit will be issued for a person and it won’t be a company.

Freelance permit in UAE

Using the Freelance Permit, the person can take up projects for the specified business activity in the permit. They can also apply for a UAE residence visa and sponsor dependents for 2 years which is renewable.

There are affordable Freelance Permits offered by the Free Zones in UAE that freelancers can apply.

Freelance Permits from SHAMS free zone start at AED 5,740. Similarly, there are other Free Zones such as Ajman Free Zone, Umm Al Quwain Free Zone, etc., that offer Freelance Permits at an affordable free for entrepreneurs.

4. Golden Visa

UAE has announced full-fledged long-term visas for expatriates to continue their tenure and contribute to the economy by being in the UAE.

It is also aimed at retaining the best talent in UAE and generate more business opportunities and business growth. The Long term residence Visa is not tied up to an employee as the sponsor and the individual will have a 5 to 10-year visa in UAE that is subject to renewal.

The Golden Visa will enable significant foreign investment from global investors who are aiming to make Dubai their home for the long term and will boost the economic outlook.

The strategic industries of UAE such as tourism, real estate, commercial, etc., will get talented employees, more foreign investment, and achieve business growth through long-term golden visas.

5. Green Visa

To further strengthen the economy, create more job opportunities, and retain global talent in UAE, the Government has introduced the Green Visa. There are a lot of benefits in terms of visa rules such as:

  • Staying in UAE without a job for 3 to 6 months
  • Self-employed people can sponsor themselves and family without the need of an employer
  • Sponsor parents and children up to the age of 25, and more.

The recent amendments in the UAE residence laws are for encouraging the expatriates to stay in the UAE and contribute more to the economy. UAE has launched numerous residence visas and other supportive programs for expatriates to easily live, work, and study in UAE along with the family.

6. Property Investment

The real estate market in UAE is very mature with numerous projects read to occupy in various prime locations of UAE.

UAE has a wide range of properties available ranging from affordable to luxury penthouses. With the long-term residence visa and property visas tied up to the property purchase in UAE, the real estate market in UAE is witnessing a major growth prospect.

Property Investment Visa in UAE

For a minimum property investment of AED 1 million, the investor will receive a 3-year visa and be able to sponsor dependents too. There are certain criteria for property owners to be met for the qualification of a property visa in the UAE.

Also, for properties worth AED 5million and above the investor is qualified for a 5-year golden visa.

To know more read: Property Visa in UAE

7. Employment Visa

Getting employed in UAE will entitle you to a UAE resident visa under the sponsorship of the employer. Depending on the Free zone or Mainland the visa validity is for 3-years and 2-year respectively. For a first-time visitor to UAE getting on employment, the pathway is ideal to get UAE market experience and later venture into setting up a company for themselves.

Along with the above-stated residence visa, under the new development plan and promoting ex-pat living in UAE, there are retirement visa, special work permits for teenagers, residence visa extensions for widowers for up to 1 year, employment visas holding up to 6months, and more.

So in a nutshell, UAE is becoming a family-friendly and expat-friendly location with ample facilities and infrastructure to power businesses of any scale and retain global talent within UAE and boost growth prospects.

To know more about UAE Residence visas and the process of applying, talk to our expert business consultants right away!

Contact Us: Aurion Business Consultants


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.