The UAE, the Gulf nation that wealthy Indians love to always hop over for shopping and fun, has eased its visa norms, making it easier for foreigners to buy property and live there with some “exclusive benefits”. Earlier, expats could only live in the UAE if they had an Emirati sponsor.
The new rules, introduced in April 2022, particularly relate to the UAE’s highly sought after Golden Visa, involving its entry permits and long-term residence for expats. The rules officially come into play this September.
What has changed for Golden Visa holders?
Besides being allowed to reside in the UAE for 10 years, Golden Visa holders can now avail themselves of a slate of new additional benefits. They can now sponsor family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age, and sponsor unlimited support services such as maids. The visa, which can be used as an entry visa for six months as well, can be renewed on expiry.
Those holding the Golden Visa can stay on in the UAE without the backing of a sponsor or employer. There is no restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residence valid. Earlier, visa holders had to return to the UAE every six months if they travelled abroad but that rule has been done away with.
In the event the original holder of the Golden Residence visa dies, his or her family members can now stay on in the UAE until the permit expires.
It’s raining discounts for Golden Visa holders
The UAE has dangled some more incentives for expats. It has announced that Golden Visa holders will also receive an exclusive government-issued discount card, called the Esaad card. This was previously available to select government employees. It gives Golden Visa holders exclusive access to offers and discounts on the purchase of cars, reduced premiums on health, insurance plans, and offers on dining, stay and spa treatments.
Who is eligible to own a UAE Golden Visa?
Investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes are amongst those eligible for the Golden Visa.
You can hope to own a dream home in glittering Dubai (which, incidentally, is a favourite with Bollywood stars), if you have a minimum monthly salary of AED 50,000 or a fixed deposit of AED 2 million in a local bank for two years.
Or, if you own property in the UAE worth AED 2 million (about ₹4.2 crore). This limit has been lowered from AED 5 million, or ₹10.4 crore. If the owned property is on loan, you may be eligible for a visa if you hold at least AED 2 million of the property’s value.
If you have held the position of director, general manager or chairman of a board of directors for four years, you are eligible. Scientists and researchers with high achievements and influence in their respective fields can get the Golden Visa based on a recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council. Professionals, outstanding students, humanitarian pioneers, frontline heroes are also eligible.
Besides, entrepreneurs/investors can also get a 10-year residence visa by investing in a startup in the UAE under the new laws.
Indians highly interested
After the UAE relaxed its rules, Dubai has noticed a 60 per cent surge in property sale in the first half of 2022, as compared to 2021. More than 43,000 units were sold in the first half of 2022, according to DXBinteract.com.
Indians seem to be lured by the UAE’s golden dreams the most. Already, the UAE government has handed out Golden Visas to prominent film stars like Mohanlal, Kamal Haasan, Tovino Thomas, Trisha and Parthieban. It is clear that one way to secure the Golden Visa is by buying property in the Gulf nation. A prospect that has been made more attractive with buyers not having to pay capital gains tax there.
Many Indian brokerage firms have also started holding property expos for Indians wanting to invest in Dubai, said media reports. Most of the enquiries property consultants are receiving at expos are from Indians who want to stay in Dubai by investing in a property. Despite high interest rates, June was the best month for property deals in Dubai in 2022 with 9,000 transactions, according to DXBinteract.com.u