A total of four hundred golden visas have been handed out in the UAE so far with a target of 6,800 by the end of the year, Major General Mohammad Al Marri, Director-General of General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, GDRFA, said on Tuesday.
"This was announced during a press conference to explain the new Gold Card visa process, which started on 21st May this year, and applies to investors and talented individuals. The 6,800 identified as eligible in the first year of this initiative are from 70 countries and can make a combined investment estimated at AED100 billion," said Gulf News in an article published in its today's edition.
Speaking at the press conference at the GDRFA headquarters in Al Jaffiliya on Tuesday, Al Marri said, "The Gold visa given to some has got a duration of 10 years, it means a golden visa is only 10 years but it is renewable.
"After 10 years they are continuous for another 10 year period every 10 years, there are medical insurance and other procedures that need to be done in between but it comes without any extra conditions," he said.
"So long as they still satisfy terms and conditions and are still in the same activity," the visa will continue, added Al Marri, but if investors decreased in worth or their business failed within those 10 years, "things would be looked at on a case to case basis," he said.
Brigadier General Saeed Salem Balhas Al Shamsi, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi GDRFA, said there was no minimum requirement stay inside the UAE, so if the visa holder left the country for longer than six months, their visa would still be valid.
"The investor [or special talent] can come and go freely," he said. "There is no need to talk about six months or a specific time period outside the state."
Al Marri said, "6,800 is the primary figure we can achieve by the end of this year, today we have a special team communicating with eligible people to achieve a specific timing and date for each person who has an appointment, with specific categories and committees for this we can achieve 30-40 a day."
Eventually, he said, those eligible would be able to apply online via smartservices.ica.ae or go to a local typing centre.
Al Marri also added that there was no age restriction. "Here in the UAE we never look at age, height, colour, nationality or any other social circumstances, we are dealing with people as humans and not nationalities, we are all equal with no differentiation," he said.
One interesting development was that within the special talents section of the 10-year visa, Executive Directors with a Bachelors Degree, five years experience in the UAE and a salary of AED30,000 a month could also now apply.
"If you are an investor [or special talent] and you have a Gold Card visa you will never think that it will expire after one or two years and this tension will be removed," said Al Marri. "It will give you the opportunity to go and think of other kinds of businesses to invest in, in the country that trusted you. And, of course, you will be paying back to the country while doing business," he added.
On 21st May, the UAE began issuing long-term residence visas enabling foreign investors and talents to live, work and study in the UAE without a sponsor and with 100 percent ownership of their business. These visas will be issued for five and 10 year durations and are renewable.