Dubai attracts a lot of foreign investment each year and one topic we are often asked about by potential property investors is around visas. There are two main investor visas available to those who purchase property in Dubai and the UAE. Tristan Lowe, General Manager and Partner at Domain Conveyancing, explains the different visas, including their benefits, required application documents, visa costs and more.
The property investment opportunities available in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates are great, with some areas enjoying a rental yield of up to 10%.
Non-residents are able to buy here relatively easily, making it a competitive option for those investors who want to spread risk by purchasing in places other than their home country.
A common question from non-residents who are interested in purchasing property in Dubai and the UAE is around residency visas. Many of those who invest here are also interested in the added benefit of being able to apply for a residency visa, which will allow them to come and go from the country as they wish for the duration of the visa.
There are two main visas available to non-residents who purchase property in the UAE, which we will take you through.
The specifics of the investor visas
The two main visas that non-residents who own property here can apply for are the three-year and five-year visa. There are only a few differences between them, which are explained below.
Each of the two investor visas can be renewed indefinitely at the end of each term. This means that although there is a process to be completed every three or five years, the visa can be maintained for as long as you have property in the country.
Eligibility for a visa
The three-year visa is available to individuals who have purchased a property of AED one million or more. The five-year variant requires property valued at AED five million or greater. It is worth mentioning that the investment does not need to be in a single property so, for example, you could own three (or more) properties in the UAE totaling a value of AED five million and be eligible for the five-year visa.
Cost of the investor visas
Obtaining each visa comes with a fee, which is broken down into different elements, noted below. The fees for some elements are known to change often and can also vary from one applicant to the next for several different reasons, for example, they can change depending on whether an applicant remains in the UAE throughout the visa process or not.
At Domain Conveyancing we charge a standard fee for both visas, which includes our admin and management cost, as we handle the visa process on your behalf. The three-year visa is AED 27,600 + VAT; its five-year counterpart is AED 12,500 + VAT.
The fee includes the costs for each of the elements below:
- VIP medical
- Emirates ID
- Visa processing fees
- Domain Conveyance admin and management of the process
Visa holders must also take the minimum government medical insurance of AED 750 per year.
Requirements to get your visa
In order to get an investment visa, you will need to provide some basic paperwork including; passport photos, a copy of your passport and current visa or UAE entry stamp and your original title deed(s). You may also have to complete a Police Clearance Certificate.
Since you are required to provide a title deed as part of your visa application, this means that the investment visa cannot be applied for until you have completed on your property purchase.
The benefits of an investor visa
With this type of visa, you become a tax domicile of the UAE. This means that in most cases your investments and the profits made no longer require you to be taxed by your home country. This can be incredibly financially beneficial, however is it worth noting that this does depend on the regulations in your home country too.
Once you have a visa, you will be able to open a bank account, get a local driving license, obtain an Etisalat or Du account for a mobile phone contract, TV and/or internet service and will be issued an official Emirates identification (Emirates ID card).
As a holder of an investor visa, you will be able to sponsor additional family members to enter the country. Your visa entitles you to sponsor your spouse, children and parents. It even gives you the extra reach to sponsor home help, allowing you to bring trusted family childcare with you.
Being able to sponsor for a family visa does not, however, automatically mean those visas are issued. Each will need to be applied for and the relevant fees paid.
Noteworthy points when obtaining a property visa
It should not be assumed that obtaining a three or five-year visa is plain sailing, and that just by buying the property, you’ll be issued the visa. Our specialists are here to help you and it’s always worth speaking to us before making your final plans if getting a visa is one of your main reasons for purchasing property here.
Visas and off-plan property
The property you are using to get the visa must be fully constructed. Though you can obtain a mortgage against an off-plan build, the visa will not be issued until the home is habitable and you have the title deeds.
Change in home value
Visas are issued based on the amount you paid for your property, not its current market value. This can work both ways – it means that if you bought a home for AED 900,000 and it is now valued at AED 1,100,000 it will not entitle you to a visa, but it also means that if you bought at 1,000,000 and it has dropped in value to 950,000 you are still eligible.
It is possible to apply for either the three or five-year visa whilst the property is still mortgaged. However, the minimum investment needs to be met. For example, if you are applying for the three-year visa, you can have a mortgage for anything above AED one million and, as mentioned previously, this investment amount can be over multiple properties.
You will need to gain written approval from the bank that holds your mortgage(s) that they do not have any objections to your getting a visa.
If you bought your property (valued at AED one million or more) as a joint venture with your spouse (husband or wife) then both of you are entitled to apply for an investor visa.
If your property is jointly owned by someone who is not your spouse, then each applicant’s individual share must be worth AED one million or more. Thus, with a 50/50 stake in a property, it would need to have been bought for AED two million or greater for either party to obtain the visa.
Right to work
An investor visa does not give you the right to work in the UAE. If you, or any of your family, wish to remain here and also get a job, then you must be sponsored by your employer in the usual fashion.
Help from Domain Conveyancing
We can take the stress out of the visa application by managing the whole process for you. With years of experience, we understand the system and can best advise on your options and move the application forward on your behalf. If you are interested in purchasing property in the UAE and getting an investor visa, let your mortgage consultant know today so we can work together to get the best result for you.
By Tristan Lowe, General Manager and Partner at Domain Conveyancing