Alsuwaidi & Company

Foreign Ownership

Spotlight on Recent Developments in UAE

Long-term Residence Visas

The UAE has launched long-term residence visa programs that aim to attract international talent into the UAE, such as entrepreneurs, investors, scientists and special talents. Availing these long-term residence visas can be described below:

10-year UAE residence visa

According to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, foreign investors may obtain a 10-year UAE residency visa provided the following:

  1. Establishing an entity with a minimum total share capital of AED 10 million with at least 60% shareholding of the total company share capital of such investor, make a deposit of at least AED 10 million in an investment fund in the UAE;
  2. The invested amount shall not be a loan from any financial/non-financial institutions; and
  3. The investment ought to be for 3 years.

Further, specific categories are also entitled to apply for 10 years UAE residency visa (i.e. doctors, scientists, creative individual in field of culture and art, etc.), however, applicants must have an employment contract in a field which is identified as a priority for the UAE, in addition of specific conditions vary according to each field.

5-year UAE residency visa

In addition to the above-mentioned 10-year UAE residence visa, investors who invest in a property in UAE can apply for a 5 years UAE residency visa. Granting the visa to such investors shall be allowed provided that (i) the property gross value the subject of the investment shall not be less than AED 5 million; (ii) the invested amount shall not be a loan from any financial/non-financial institutions; and (iii) the property must be taken for minimum 3 years.

In addition of property invests as mentioned in the previous paragraph, entrepreneurs shall also apply for a 5 years UAE visa, provided to own a project within UAE of a value not less than AED 500,000 with obtaining an approval from an accredited business incubator in UAE.

Outstanding students shall be entitled to apply for 5 years UAE visa as long as their score in their secondary school is at least 95% with a distinction of 3.75 GPA upon graduation from any university. Such students may obtain the visa for themselves as well as for their family.

Digital Initiative: Spotlight on the Dubai Land Department

As the UAE positions itself at the forefront of innovation and adoption of leading-edge technologies globally, it is worth highlighting specific initiatives and regulatory developments made by the UAE government to promote the transition of the UAE economy into one that is more digitally enabled and ready to adapt to the future.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) is one UAE government agency that is leading in the push for innovation and rollout of seamless and efficient customer experiences through digital solutions. The DLD has rolled out blockchain technology to automate and optimize real estate business processes end-to-end. The DLD is employing blockchain across three initiatives: Ownership Verification, Property Sale by the Developer and Smart Leasing. Through the blockchain platform, DLD aims to improve the provision of services, effectiveness of collaboration among all parties involved in the real estate market and enhanced security for real estate properties conducted digitally.

The DLD has also launched several digital applications to facilitate real estate transactions and processes across multiple stakeholders. These applications are as follows:

  • Rental Dispute Center Application: it is an application that makes registration and follows up of rental disputes easy and accessible to owners and tenants of various categories. This application pro​vides information on​ disputes cases in addition to online registration, mediation cases, rental cases, appeal cases, special request, enforcement requests and payments ​
  • Dubai Brokers Application: it is an application targeting real estate agents and investors by providing accurate and real-time information on DLD-licensed and approved brokers and real estate agents. The application provides information on brokers’ performance and efficiency, more importantly highlighting whether such brokers and agents are actually licensed by the DLD
  • Ejari Application: it is an application providing the Ejari certificate along with other services for tenants and owners such as the Rental Index calculator, list of approved management companies and their location, and the list of licensed typing centers to register tenancy contracts
  • Investment Map Application: launched by the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Center, the investment arm of DLD to attract major investors for off-plan available projects, the Investment Map carries an integrated set of applications and Dubai real estate best practices in addition to Google’s search tool that enable all investors to access investment opportunities through their smart devices
  • Real Estate Self Transaction “REST” Application: is a platform for conducting real estate trading and transactions with multiple parties anywhere and anytime. The new platform enables the complete digital management of real estate transactions, eliminating paper documents and reducing brokerage procedures.
  • Taqyimee Application: is a platform to connect owners and third-party valuators. Owners/owner representatives can view and select DLD approved third-party valuators from Taqyimee mobile application and request for the valuation of their properties. Third-party valuators will accept, reject and assign valuation requests and coordinate with requestors to conduct the valuation process offline. Once the valuation is completed, valuators can issue a valuation certificate

UAE positions itself as an attractive destination for investors and businesses by providing acceleration of technology and digital initiatives or an integrated environment for sustainability and growth. The continued robust growth by the UAE economy coupled with the proactive approach of the UAE government to regulatory changes ensure that the UAE remains as the MENA region’s leader for doing business.

Written and prepared by:

Hadeer A. Hassan, Junior Associate

Vida Grace N. Serrano, Associate

Suneer Kumar Chenolikomath, Senior Associate