The renewable visa grants residence in the UAE for 10 years…

In May 2019, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai introduced a new type of residency visa known as the ‘Golden Card’. The visa initially aimed to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists and artists. However Sheikh Mohammed recently approved athletes to be granted the privilege.

So far, around 1,200 people have been granted the visa, and not all of them live in Dubai full-time. Five-year visas are also available, although both variations renew automatically. A few famous faces have been awarded the UAE Golden Card visa.

Here’s all the celebrities who have been awarded a Golden Card visa.

Cristiano Ronaldo


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Cristiano Ronaldo, footballer for Portugal and Juventus football clubs, is a regular visitor to the UAE. The star, who is currently the most followed person on Instagram, regularly shares pictures of his adventures here, and is good friends with HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Ronaldo was awarded ‘Best Player of the Year’ at the 2019 Dubai Globe Soccer Awards, shortly followed by a Golden Card visa in February 2020.

Novak Djokovic


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on

Novak Djokovic, who claimed victory at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday February 21, has also been awarded a Golden Card visa. The Serbian tennis star regularly visits Dubai with his family, often using Sheikh Hamdan’s training facilitates, Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex to work on his fitness. Djokovic considers Sheikh Hamdan, who he refers to as Fazza, to be a good friend and has praised his passion and enthusiasm for sport in the past. The Golden Card visa was awarded to Novak Djokovic in February 2020, it’s also expected that Roger Federer will also receive the honour soon.

Paul Pogba


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba) on

French football player, Paul Pogba, has also been granted a Golden Card visa. The Manchester United player regularly trains in Dubai and often shares videos from the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex. Thanks to the visa, he’ll be able to continue to visit as often as he likes.

Luís Figo


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Luís Figo (@luis__figo) on

Retired professional football player, Luís Figo, has also been awarded a permanent residency visa by the UAE cabinet. The Portuguese athlete was a record-holder for his national team, and also played for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

Roberto Carlos


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Roberto Carlos 罗伯特卡洛斯 (@oficialrc3) on

Brazilian retired footballer and ambassador, Roberto Carlos, has been granted a Golden Card visa. Carlos has been visiting the UAE for many years, supporting many of the sports tournaments and events.

Miralem Pjanic


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Miralem Pjanić (@miralem_pjanic) on

You might also like

Sheikh Mohammed unveils gold card system for permanent visa residents
Here's what Cristiano Ronaldo has been up to whilst he's been in Dubai
Spotted: Sheikh Hamdan and Cristiano Ronaldo share selfie

Miralem Pjanić, Bosnian professional footballer, also has the accolade of a permanent visa for the UAE. The Juventus player was last in Dubai to attend the Global Soccer Awards.

Padraig Downey

Danú Theatre Founder and Director, Padraig Downey, has been awarded a Golden Card visa for his efforts to the arts. Downey has been praised for helping to build the theatre scene in Dubai, which has grown tremendously over the years. The producer has created mostly Arab and Irish content, with 20 full length productions so far.

Images: Instagram