UAE mulls 'Golden Visa' for investors

The UAE is considering issuing a separate visa for businessmen, said a senior government official at the Dubai immigration department.

The 'Golden Visa' is under consideration at the federal level by the UAE’s Ministry of Interior.

Major-General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) – Dubai, said: “The Ministry of Interior is studying the proposal to issue 'Golden Visa' for businessmen and we are looking to implement it at the federal level… the future will be different and things are subject to changes and modification to obtain visitors satisfaction.”

He said in an interview with the newly-launched magazine ‘Manafez Dubai’ by the GDRFA-Dubai.

Al Marri didn’t reveal other details such as the duration and costs of the 'Golden Visa'.

A number of European Union countries – including Portugal, Cyprus, Spain, Greece and Britain – offer special visas to foreign investors who invest, particularly in property, in those countries. Buying a temporary residence visa thus allows investors to travel across 26 Schengen countries, according to workpermit.com – which offers visa consultancy.

The 'Golden Visa' boosts investor sentiments and attracts foreign investments in the countries. The issuance of 'Golden Visa' in UAE will also meet the much-awaited demand of the local business community to have a longer-term visa to boost the FDI.

Quoting the Portuguese government, BBC News reported last month that since the residence scheme began in 2012, Portugal has issued 734 so-called ‘Golden Visas’, generating more than €440 million in revenues.

According to workpermit.com, the rules in EU could vary from country to country, as do the amounts that investors have to pay and the length of the visa they will receive but the basic principle is the same. Investors are offered visas ranging from one-year to five years for their investments in different sectors – mainly real estate.

The following countries offer investor visas or Golden Visas:

-               UK’s Tier 1 or investor visa offers 3-year temporary residence on 1m pound investment. It’s renewable and visa holders will, in time qualify for permanent residence then citizenship.

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Portugal offers Golden Visa – or temporary resident visa – for one year and can be renewed twice for two year periods on minimum investment of half-a-million euros.

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Cyprus offers temporary residence visa for three years which is renewable on minimum investment of €300,000. It also offers a 'fast track citizenship' option for those who are able and willing to invest 1m euros in a qualifying investment.

-               Greece started 5-year Golden Visa last year on €250,000 investment in property.

-               Spain's temporary residence visa is also for 5 years on half a million euros investment in property. It’s a one-year visa which can be extended twice for two years.

Applicants in all countries can apply to bring their spouses and dependent children with them, Workpermit said.

Workpermit said one thing that appears to be certain is that, as the European economy continues to struggle, it is likely that more countries will join the rush and issue visas to people from outside the European Economic Area who are prepared to invest in property, bonds or businesses.

 

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