Some residents will now be eligible for ten-year visas…

The UAE is often seen as a place where expats come and work with the intention of returning home within a few years. But some big changes are afoot in the UAE visa system, which will allow some residents to make the country a long-term home.

At a cabinet meeting this week, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced that certain residents will be eligible for ten-year visas. The longer term visa will be available to specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields and their families, as well as for all scientists and innovators.

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Five-year residency visas will also be granted to students studying in the UAE, which will be increased to ten-year visas for “exceptional” students.

It’s not just residency visas that are getting a shake-up. The Dubai ruler also announced that international investors will be able to own 100 per cent of their UAE-based company under the new policies. 

Currently, all companies are required to have a local (aka Emirati) partner that owns 51 per cent of their business. This applies to everyone except those based in free zones, who can already be 100 per cent foreign-owned.

“The UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents in the UAE,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Government departments have been asked to work on implementing the changes by the end of the year.

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Images: Media Office