The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced new visa schemes as part of initiatives to attract foreign direct investment and boost the country’s global competitiveness. This includes a restructuring of the current entry and residency system.

More details of the new visa schemes’ eligibility criteria has yet to be announced, however initial reports suggest the introduction of a “Green Visa” and a “Freelance Visa”. 

Green Visa

The Green Visa will allow an individual to work in the UAE, without the need for company sponsorship. It is aimed at attracting highly-skilled individuals, investors and entrepreneurs, as well as exceptional students. These visas will not be employment dependent, as is the case with regular employment visas, and can be sponsored by individuals themselves if they are employed.

Who is eligible to obtain the Green Visa?

Entrepreneurs, investors, highly-skilled individuals, top students and graduates, individuals running small and medium enterprises and other talented individuals. Details of how the applications can be made or eligibility criteria will be announced in due course. 

What is the benefit of the Green Visa?

  • Allows the holder to sponsor dependents, including parents, spouse and unmarried female children
  • Permits sponsorship of male children up to 25 years of age
  • Extends the grace period for leaving the country upon visa expiration from 30 days to between 90 and 180 days
  • Visas are expected to be valid for five years

Freelancer Visa

The first federal scheme of its kind, this visa aims to attract self-employed foreign nationals, working in specialized fields, to live and work in the UAE.

Who is eligible to obtain the Freelancer Visa?

The visa is applicable to self-employed foreign nationals who own a business in the UAE or overseas, specializing in fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain or digital currency.

Eligibility requirements and further conditions will be announced prior to the implementation date of these new visa categories. 

Other regulatory changes related to visa schemes:

  • Business trip permits are extended from three to six months
  • Dependent parents are sponsored under the visa of direct family members
  • One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases
  • Extension of children’s age limit on parents’ residency, from 18 to 25 years
  • Extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90 to 180 days

Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities

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