Investor Visa to the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is an Arab nation located in the Arabian Peninsula and bordered by Qatar, Iran, Pakistan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. The UAE is comprised of seven principalities called emirates with Islam as the official religion and Arabic as the official language (though English, Persian, Hindu, and Urdu area also widely spoken in the country).
The UAE is one of the richest countries in the world and boasts the seventh highest GDP per capita. The country’s economy is based upon its oil reserves, which are the seventh largest in the world, and its natural gas reserves, which are the seventeenth largest in the world. The country’s most populated city is Dubai, which has emerged as a business gateway and global city that is a thriving metropolis and popular tourist destination. Dubai houses the Middle East’s first indoor ski slope, many of the world’s most famous hotels, and several five-star restaurants.
Due to its surging economy, many foreign nationals are interested in relocating to the UAE in order to pursue investment opportunities. To accommodate and encourage foreign investment, the UAE has created investment driven immigration programs.
Investment-Based Opportunities in the UAE
The UAE offers an investor visa that provides temporary residence to its holder. The temporary residence lasts for a maximum period of three years and is a good option for foreign nationals seeking to establish their own business or to invest into an existing business in the UAE. The visa gives its holder authorization to live and work in the UAE provided the individual abides by all of country’s the laws and codes of conduct during the entire length of stay.
To qualify for the investor visa, the foreign national must deposit either 10,000AED or 20,000AED with the UAE government. (One of the benefits of the investor visa is that unlike other UAE visa, there is no requirement that the foreign national have a job offer from a UAE company.) The national must also prove that he/she has sufficient funds to make a significant investment into a UAE company, or to create a business in the UAE. The UAE immigration authorities must approve the prospective investment in order for the visa to be approved.
When the visa is approved, the investor will obtain the visa from the UAE consulate and can immediately relocate to the country. One of the other benefits of this investor visa is that the foreign national will not be required to pay tax in the UAE.
Additional Information About Coming to the United Arab Emirates
It is important to emphasize that the United Arab Emirates is governed by strict Islamic laws that require women to observe a certain level of modesty and require all visitors and residents to observe laws and regulations that respect the country’s religious values and traditions. For example, the nation enforces very strict laws against the practice of homosexuality.
Moreover, one of the potential disadvantages of the UAE visa is that, unlike the vast majority of other country’s investor visas, the UAE visa does not lead to UAE citizenship. Obtaining UAE citizenship as a foreign national (through a legal process called naturalization) is exceedingly difficult and generally only available if the foreign national marries a UAE citizen or if the national’s father had UAE citizenship.
Additionally, the UAE weekend is Friday to Saturday and not Saturday to Sunday like in most nations. Moreover, there are no street addresses in Dubai as residents have Post Office boxes to receive their mail.
These laws, codes of conduct, and standards of dress in the UAE may be very different than that which is allowed in the investor’s home country, so it is very important for investors to consult attorneys who can advise them on how to observe the country’s laws.