Individuals with specialized talents from around the globe have long desired to work, start businesses, and invest in the UAE, which is considered a premier destination for these activities. In response to this, the UAE has introduced new green visa and residence permit options to improve accessibility for those who are interested.

The new UAE green visa allows highly skilled individuals, investors, entrepreneurs, top students, and graduates to sponsor themselves for residence in the UAE, without the need for sponsorship from a UAE-based company.

Learn about the Green Visa and the process for applying for it in Dubai in this comprehensive guide.

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UAE Green Visa

The Green Visa is part of the revamped UAE visa system, recently.

It is valid for a five-year period and is eligible for renewal. One of the added benefits of this visa, in addition to its longer validity, is that it allows the holder to sponsor their immediate family members and provides a longer period of time after cancellation, during which the visa holder can remain in the UAE for up to six months.

The Green Visa is divided into three categories:

  • Green residency for skilled workers
  • Green residency for self-employment
  • Green residency for investors or partners in commercial activities. This type of visa is self-sponsored, meaning that it does not require sponsorship from an employer.

How do UAE Green Visa and Golden Visa Differ?

Similarity: Both the Green Visa and the Golden Visa allow individuals to sponsor themselves, rather than requiring sponsorship from an employer. Additionally, these visas offer longer-term residency options in comparison to traditional visas, which typically have a validity of 2 or 3 years.

Difference: Green Visa and Golden Visa UAE, both have different eligibility requirements, duration and benefits.

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UAE Green Visa Golden Visa UAE
Duration Duration
The Green Visa has a validity of five years. The Golden Visa has a validity of ten years.
Eligibility Eligibility
According to a decision made by the UAE cabinet in April 2022, an applicant must fulfil three requirements to be eligible for a Green Visa.

Green residence for self-employees or freelancers: Freelancers with a freelancer Visa in UAE can apply for UAE Green Visa for long-term residency.

To obtain a Green Visa, the applicant must have a permit for freelancing or self-employment from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), hold at least a diploma or degree in any field, and have earned a minimum of Dh 360000 from freelancing or self-employment in the past two years.

Skilled employees will get green residence: To be eligible for a Green Visa, the applicant must have a valid employment contract and meet the following criteria set by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE): work in a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level position, hold a degree and have a minimum salary of Dh 15000.

Partners and Investors will get a 5-year residence: This type of visa, which is most suitable for investors or partners in an agency or firm, does not require sponsorship to obtain and is self-sponsored.

Investors: This type of visa is suitable for both public and real estate investors, as well as entrepreneurs who own registered start-ups, have a start-up idea or have sold existing start-ups within or outside of the UAE.

Some remarkable talents: This visa is suitable for those who are involved in fields such as innovation, investment, arts, culture, sports, and digital technologies.

Professionals as well as scientists: This visa is suitable for individuals working in fields such as health, science, education, administration, business, information technology, culture, social and legal activities, as well as CEOs and senior executives.

Graduates or students excelling in studies: To qualify for this type of visa, the applicant must be the top student in secondary school or have graduated with the highest marks from a university in the UAE. Additionally, students from the top 100 universities worldwide are also eligible.

People associated with the Humanitarian field: This visa applies to individuals working with regional and international agencies, in public benefit roles, or who have received awards in related fields or volunteered their time.

Advantages Advantages
  • This visa grants the holder a five-year residency in the UAE.
  • self-sponsorship
  • This visa does not permit the holder to sponsor immediate family members.
  • This visa allows the holder a grace period of six months after the visa is expired or is cancelled.
  • This visa allows the holder to sponsor any family member, including children, supporting staff, or spouse, and there is no limit on the sponsorship amount.
  • This visa allows the holder to stay outside the UAE for an unlimited period.

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How to apply for UAE Green Visa?

To apply for a UAE Green Visa in Dubai, one should go to the official website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and follow the necessary steps.

Step 1: Visit the official GDRFA website

Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Services’ section and choose the ‘Entry Permits’ option.

Step 3: Choose the ‘Entry Permit Services’ option and access the ‘New Entry Permit for Green Residence’ option. You will be presented with all the categories eligible for the UAE Green Visa, choose the one that applies to your profession.

Step 4: Click on ‘Start service’ and you will be directed to the login page.

Step 5: Select ‘Individuals’ from the tab and log in using your GDRFA account details, and UAE Pass account, or register for a new account if you don’t have one yet.

Step 6: Once you have logged in, you will be taken to your personal account. Here, click on the green ‘New application’ button and select the ‘Green residence for’ high-skilled workers/investors/or self-employment option.

Step 7: Complete the application form with all the necessary details and the required supporting documents, which will vary depending on the category you have chosen – highly skilled employee, investor, or freelancer/self-employed.

Step 8: Make the payment for the visa application, after which the application will be completed and submitted for review.

The GDRFA will notify you via text message and/or email about the status of your visa application. If any documents are missing, you will be informed to submit them within 30 days. If the missing documents are not received within this time frame, the visa application will be cancelled.

Green residence for skilled employees:

The new category of Green Residence for Skilled Employees offers a five-year residency period for skilled workers without the need for sponsorship or an employer. The requirements for this visa are a valid employment contract, classification in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, a minimum educational level of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and a salary of not less than AED 15,000 (USD 4,083.74).

It’s worth noting that skilled professionals (third level in the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification) are eligible for an extended grace period of 90 days after the expiration of the Green Residence.

Green residence for freelancing and self-employment:

Given the increasing popularity of freelancing and flexible work models worldwide, the new Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment offers a five-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals in the UAE without the need for sponsorship or an employer.

The requirements for this visa are: obtaining a freelance/ self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, minimum educational qualification of a bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma, an annual income from self-employment for the previous two years of AED 360,000 (USD 98,009.86) or the ability to demonstrate financial solvency during their stay in the country.

Green residence for investor or partner:

The Green Residence for Investors or Partners is a new category that aims to encourage investment in the UAE. It grants a five-year residency for individuals who are establishing or participating in commercial activities. Additionally, the validity of this category has been extended from 2 years to 5 years.

The requirements for this visa are approval of the investment and proof of investment of 1 million AED, in case the investor (partner) has more than one license, the total invested capital will be calculated and approval from the competent local authorities is mandatory.

New benefits for family members:

The new system provides more benefits to the family members of Green Visa holders. A resident can now easily bring their family members, including their spouses and children to the UAE.

According to the information available on the ICP system, the grace period to exit the UAE after a residency visa cancellation has been extended to 6 months for Green Visa holders and their family members. This means that ex-pats now have 6 months to either correct their status and get another residence visa or leave the country.

Fines are not applicable during the grace period, however, if the Green Visa holder fails to renew or cancel the visa of his dependents, the dependents could be liable to pay an overstay fine. Additionally, the age limit for children has been increased to 25 years (previously 18 years) and there is no age limit for unmarried daughters.

Children of determination are granted a UAE residency permit, regardless of their age. The Green Residence holder is allowed to sponsor their first-degree relatives and in all cases, the residency of family members shall be the same duration as the original residence holder.

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Cost of UAE Green Visa:

The cost for one individual for the Green Visa UAE application process is AED 335.75, which does not include the cost of the ID and additional medical fees. If you are already in the UAE when the permit is issued, an additional AED 650 fee for ‘inside country status change’ will be added to the Green Visa UAE cost of AED 335.75.

The total cost for the application process will also vary depending on the number of dependents the applicant wishes to sponsor. Additionally, it is important to note that this cost does not cover the cost of the medical fitness test and Emirates ID application, which are also required to finalize the Green Residency paperwork.