Dubai Property Investment Visa – so you have heard stories about the possibility of obtaining a residency visa with the purchase of a property in Dubai but have no idea if this is true or what this entails?

Well, you are not alone. There is still much confusion around this topic (especially given that the rules have changed a few times over the years!) as to whether this is even possible, what type of visas are available, how long they last for as well as the requirements and restrictions.   Below we outline all you need to know about the options that are available to UAE property investors.

Update (* August 2018)

There has been some confusion in the past with regards to whether it is possible to consolidate all of your property investments in order to try to obtain an investor visa.  Previously this was not possible however our recent enquiries at Dubai Land Department have confirmed that it is now possible to do so.  There is however a maximum limit of using TWO properties for the purpose of consolidation in obtaining a Property Investor Visa.

Types of Visas – Property Investor Visa vs 6 Months Residency Visa

The first thing to note is that there are 2 types of visas granted to property investors in Dubai – what we will refer to here as (1) Property Investor Visa (2) 6 Months Residency Visa. There are some key distinctions to note:

The Property Investor Visa is issued by the Dubai Land Department and is a 2-year renewable visa. With this visa, you become a UAE resident meaning you can obtain an Emirates ID, UAE driving license and sponsor family as well. This visa is only available for Dubai property investments, however.

The 6 Months Residency Visa, on the other hand, is issued by the relevant Immigration authority and is a 6 months multi-entry visa. This is effectively a visitor visa that allows multiple entries to the UAE. The key benefit to this is that it applies to property purchases in all 7 Emirates.

Requirements:

Property Value

Both visa options require that the property value must be AED 1 million or more. This is based on the purchase price on the Title Deed rather than the current property value when applying for the visa.

If a property is jointly owned (for example, husband and wife ownership), the shared value must exceed AED 1 million.

Update (* August 2018) – There has been some confusion in the past with regards to whether it is possible to consolidate all of your property investments in order to try to obtain an investor visa.  Previously this was not possible however our recent enquiries at Dubai Land Department have confirmed that it is now possible to do so.  There is however a maximum limit of using TWO properties for the purpose of consolidation in obtaining a Property Investor Visa.

Property Location & Status

The property must be completed as the Title Deed (in the name of the applicant) is one of the main requirements. Visas for off-plan properties are not possible. The respective visas also only apply to Freehold properties.

Property Type

Only residential properties are permitted for the purposes of the visas. Commercial projects are not allowed. In addition to this, the added requirement is that the property must be ‘habitable’ – in other words, it must be in a good condition and suitable for someone to live in.

Visa Costs

The Property Investor Visa costs approximately AED 13,000-AED 15,000; with the higher end being inclusive of the police clearance letter (AED 220), administration fees (AED 420), application costs (AED 3,000), typing & entry permit (AED 1,100), DED license issuance (AED 8,440) and stamping/Emirates ID/medical (AED 2,490). There are also additional costs for the renewal and for sponsoring any spouses or dependents (AED 5,000-6,000).

Update (* August 2018) – It is also mandatory now to obtain medical insurance as part of the final visa application process.  Typical insurance prices start from AED 1,000.  If you have international insurance already, you can however use this instead.

The 6 Month Residency Visa is considerably less in terms of cost (approx. AED 2,300 in total) however this visa must be renewed every 6 months (AED 1,100 each time) so costs can still add up with this option. Again, fees apply for sponsorship of family and renewals (AED 250).

Minimum Income

There is a minimum income requirement of AED 10,000 per month (or equivalent currency), which can be derived from inside or outside the UAE. The applicant must provide proof of income as part of the criteria.

Documents Needed

Provided you satisfy the above requirements, you will then be in a position to apply for your respective visa at either the Dubai Land Department or relevant Immigration authority. There are various documents required, which we have summarized below:

  • Title Deed on the property
  • Passport copy of the applicant
  • Current visa status/copy
  • Passport photos (x6)
  • Certificate of Good Conduct (from Dubai Police)
  • Bank Statements
  • Utility Bill
  • Health Insurance

Things to Note?

* Neither visa option provides citizenship to the UAE

* An in-country medical examination is required as well as fingerprint biometrics

* Employment is not possible under either visa as they are purely for residency purposes only

* There is no maximum term – but the 6-month visa must be renewed every 6 months and the investor on the Property Investor Visa must not spend more than 6 consecutive months outside of Dubai

So Which Type of Visa is Best?

It is quite clear that the 6 Month Residency Visa is the simpler and cheaper option of the two however it comes with notable restrictions. Firstly, it needs to be renewed every 6 months making it quite costly for the rights that it affords. This is also rather impractical as the investor has to exit and re-enter the country for such purposes. It is in effect a visit visa only making it very restricted. The key benefit for this visa is however that it applies for all Emirates, unlike the Property Residency Visa which only applies to property purchases in Dubai itself.

The Property Investor Visa is of course a much broader option and affords the investor much greater scope. It is valid for 2 years and doesn’t require the investor to exit before this period. It also grants residency, an Emirates ID and the opportunity to obtain a UAE driving license. This comes at a price however as this option is considerably more expensive, has a stricter application process, with more paperwork required as well as much lengthier processing times (can take 1 month plus to obtain).

It is difficult to give a definitive answer as to which is best as it really depends on individual circumstances, such as your nationality, your intentions, your budget, your property location etc. These are all factors to be taken into consideration. The 6 Months Residency Visa is the cheaper and easier option of the two however the Property Investor Visa does perhaps provide more bang for your buck as it affords much more extensive rights as a resident rather than those limited rights of a visitor under the 6 Months Residency Visa. The choice, however, is yours.