Over the past few years, Dubai has made extensive reforms to its immigration policies, introducing new types of visas. These new visas commonly referred to as ‘Golden Visa’s allow individuals who have made significant economic investments into the country to live in Dubai for a certain number of years. This includes owning or purchasing real estate. The aim of these new visa categories and long term residency programmes is to develop business in the region, as well as to attract and retain new talent and high net worth individuals into the city. 

So who is eligible for these visas. Well, all non-citizens who own at least one property that has a value of at least AED 1 million are able to apply. Whilst the property can be mortgaged, it can only be a maximum of 50% of the property value. Individuals who jointly own property are eligible to apply also on the condition that each individual share is worth at least  AED 1 million. 

Retirement visa 

If you wish to retire to the UAE, you may be eligible to apply for the UAE’s retirement visa. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be over 55 years old and have either AED 1 million invested in property;  a bank deposit of no less than Dh1m; or an active annual income of at least Dh180,000. Lasting 5 years, the visa can be renewed, providing the investments are maintained. 

Are there conditions on what type of property qualifies? 

In short, yes. In order to qualify for the visa, the property must meet certain criteria. For one, the investment must be into residential property and not commercial property. What’s more the property must only be freehold. Freehold properties, (as opposed to non-free hold/leasehold properties), allows buyers to own the land their property is built on. In the UAE, non GCC residents are unable to purchase non-freehold properties. 

It is also not possible to apply for this visa if your property is purchased off-plan. Off-plan refers to when individuals purchase a property directly from the developer before its construction is complete. Whilst they can be an attractive option, as they are typically sold at a lower rate than properties on the secondary market, it will not grant you eligibility for a golden visa. 

How long does the visa last? 

The validity of the visa is dependent on the amount of investment. Essentially, the more you invest, the longer you can stay in Dubai. As mentioned above, the retirement visa lasts for 5 years and can be renewed. For the golden visas, if you invest AED 1 million, the visa lasts for 3 years. If an investment of AED 5 million or more is made, then the visa will last for 5 years. Irrespective of the investment amount,  providing the individual maintains their investment, individuals will maintain their eligibility and the visa can be renewed. If in the event, the investment either decreases in value or the applicant are unable to keep the investment, the renewal of the visa will be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

What can AED 1 million buy?

If you are planning to settle in Dubai with your family, then the city is home to some beautiful villas . With a budget of AED1 million, you can find 2-3 bedroom villas in one of Dubai’s villa comunities.  These communities tend to have lovely amenities, such as pools, parks, and gyms. . If you are looking for something smaller, or closer to the main hubs of Dubai, The Marina and Downtown Dubai are home to some gorgeous apartments. An AED 1 million budget will allow you to buy a spacious apartment in one of Dubai’s more prestigious towers. With so many options in Dubai, it would be advised to go to an experienced real estate brokerage who will be able to help you find the perfect home that will fulfil the requirements for you to get a golden visa.

Determining the value of your property

Some applicants may already own a property in Dubai. So how do you know if the property fits the requirements to grant the owners eligibility for the Golden Visa? Providing the property is in a freehold area, the primary concern would be the value of the property. Whilst many estate agencies will offer free appraisals, this may not be reflective of the true value of the property. Instead, it may just be a reflection of the current market sentiment and conditions. As such, it is recommended to go to a RICS accredited and highly experienced surveyor. They will be able to perform a full inspection and provide a detailed and comprehensive valuation report. This will allow the homeowners to correctly identify the value of their property, and if it meets the minimum investment requirement of AED 1 million. 

For more information about purchasing or valuing a property book a meeting with an experienced estate agent, or one of our valuation specialists.