UAE Launches Long-Term Residence Visa for Retired Expats

The UAE will allow expats to obtain post-retirement long-term visas, which will be valid for five years and can be renewed after that.


The United Arab Emirates has decided to allow expats to obtain long-term visas and stay in the country for five years after they retire.

The UAE cabinet, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, passed a new law, which comes into effect in 2019, to allow retired expats above the age of 55 years to stay in the country if they fulfill certain conditions. To qualify, they must invest in a property worth AED2 million or have financial savings of no less than AED1 million, or an active income of no less than AED20,000 per month.

More than 80 percent of the U.A.E.’s population is made up of foreigners, who have been a mainstay of its economy for decades, working, buying homes, and spending cash at luxury malls and eateries, according to Bloomberg. But they were only welcome as long as they could work, creating an underlying sense of transiency even among expatriates who have spent most of their working lives in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or elsewhere in the oil-rich kingdom.

All expatriates in the UAE are currently expected to retire at 60 with an option to work until 65 with special approval from the authorities. This move is aimed at boosting long-term growth in a country that has struggled to translate rising oil prices into a recovery for the country.

The new residency visas are applicable for people above the age of 55 years for a period of five years, with the possibility of renewal, according to specific conditions.

The law, which will come into effect from 2019, is expected to make a major difference in the UAE, which does not allow expats to remain in the country once relieved from work.

The long-term residency plan has been welcomed by expats who have spent a significant period of time in the country and plan to continue living there.

“This is an excellent decision that will go on to help expatriates plan their lives in the UAE with more clarity and certainty. It will also have a very positive impact on the market and attract more people to the country,” Syed Maqbool, a longtime resident, told Gulf News.

The Cabinet also adopted a resolution to support the industrial sector by reducing fees on electricity consumption for large, medium, and small factories.

In a statement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the new schemes will boost the country’s economic growth along with establishing an integrated environment of growth and sustainability.

“We launched today an initiative to support the industry sector and to affirm UAE’s position on the global map as an attractive investment destination that provides an integrated environment for growth and sustainability,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said. “We are investing in a sustainable industrial sector through the collaboration between different government entities and our goal is to be a successful model for the green economy to preserve our environment for future generations.”

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