Friday, January 8, 2010

New property residence visas UAE

From 01 June 2009, the UAE will implement a new system of residence visas for UAE property owners which supersedes the old property investor residence visa that was valid in Dubai, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah (previously there was no residence visa based on expat property ownership in Abu Dhabi). According to a WAM report on 02 May 2009, a new paragraph will be added to "Article 33 of the executive regulations of the entry and residency law for entry and residency of foreigners", and a new article, number 34, will be included in the by-law specifying the conditions of the new visa.
UAE multi-entry visa valid for 6 months at a time, permits multiple entries to the UAE. Commonly referred to as a residence visa but not clear if that's the official term. The difference in terminology might be significant. Property owner residence visa can be renewed indefinitely but the visa holder must exit the UAE and re-apply. The applicant can apply right away rather than wait for a month outside the UAE, according to information on 05 May 2009. Update 03 August 2009: according to a WAM news report "... when the multi visit visa issued to a property owner expires abroad, his/her visa will be renewed at the airport at arrival." Cost of six-month UAE residence visa is AED 2,000. Renewal cost is the same. Minimum salary requirement of investor is AED 10,000 per month, or equivalent. Not clear if income must be sourced only from outside the UAE - conflicting reports seen. Property value must be at least AED 1 million. Appears to be based on purchase price (evidence needs to be shown) rather than original price or current market value. Medical insurance is required for investor and familiy members applying for residence visa under property ownership scheme. Property must be complete, and title deed in visa applicant's name has been obtained. Joint property owners cannot apply for residence visa (in contrast to the previous system which allowed first named owner to apply). Direct family members (spouse, children) can be included under the property owner's sponsorship. Not clear if primary sponsor must be male, if there is an maximum age limit for children, or if family members can travel in and out of the UAE independently. Property must be of an appropriate size to house family members if applicable i.e. a family of 4 is unlikely to be granted a visa if the property is a studio flat (not that there are many studios over AED 1 million in the UAE). Property residence visa holders under the previous system must change their visa to the new system from 01 June 2009 otherwise they will be regarded as being in breach of UAE immigration laws (bad luck if you just got your 3 year visa in April 2009). Property owners (and family) might be required to have to have a medical test as with other residence visas (visitors with short term entry permits do not have to do a medical test). Unknown if property residence visa holders can apply for UAE driving licences, bank accounts, telephone connections, etc. Other residence visa holders can, and previous property residence visa holders could. If the new visa is a "visit" visa rather than a "residence" visa, then probably not.