UNITED ARAB EMIRATES EXPANDS RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM TO OFFER PERMANENT RESIDENCE
Year-round sunshine, world-class shopping, restaurants, and entertainment, low crime rates, a highly developed infrastructure, a tax-free environment, and Western culture in a Middle Eastern country – all features of living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If you are interested in residing in the UAE, you should know that the opportunity for foreigners to permanently reside in the UAE was increased on May 21 with the announcement of a “Golden Card” permanent residency program.
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted on May 21, “We launched a new ‘Golden Card’ system to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists and artists. The first batch of 6,800 investors with Dh100 billion worth of investments will be granted the ‘Golden Card’. . . . The permanent residency ‘Golden Card’ will be granted to exceptional talents and everyone who positively contributes to the success story of the UAE. We want them to be permanent partners in our journey. Residents are an indispensable part of our country”. “Dh[United Arab Emirates dirham]100 billion” is equivalent to approximately $27.2 billion.
While more specific details of this new “Golden Card” permanent residency program have yet to be announced, it is believed that it will also apply to extend permanent residence to the applicant’s spouse and children.
The reaction to the new “Golden Card” permanent residency program was positive. For example, Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group (one of the world’s leading independent financial advisory organizations), commented, “The Golden Card will ensure the UAE becomes even more attractive for overseas talent as it provides permanency and, therefore, more certainty and stability. It will inevitably make recruiting more top talent easier for UAE-based firms and this can be expected to add real value to the country and its economy. The initiative will further fuel confidence that the UAE is a place for international companies to do business and invest. Its business powerhouse reputation will be galvanised by this proactive and forward-thinking new development”.
UAE’s residency by investment program, only recently commenced in February, previously had offered long-term residency, but not permanent residency, to investors. Specifically, there were previously 2 long-term residency options for foreign investors under UAE’s residency by investment program. First, you could receive a 10-year residence visa in the UAE if you invested (for at least 3 years) Dh10 million in an investment fund or an established or new company in the UAE. Second, you could receive a 5-year residence visa in the UAE if you invested (for at least 3 years) Dh5 million in real estate in the UAE. These 10-year and 5-year residence visas appear to remain in effect, with the “Golden Card” permanent residence visa offering foreign investors seeking residency in the UAE another alternative.