From 01 June 2009, the UAE has implemented a new system of residence visas for UAE property owners, whereby which property owners can stay in the UAE for up to six months at a time. The property visa can be renewed indefinitely but the visa holder must exit the UAE each time to re-apply. The cost of the six-month property visa is AED 2,000 with the renewal cost being the same. The Developer cannot guarantee the visa but can apply for the visa on the owner’s behalf to the Department of Naturalization and Residency, which makes the final decision.
Ministerial Decision No. (281) of 2009 amending some provisions of the Executive Regulations of the Entry and Residency Law for Entry and Residency of Foreigners” was issued at the federal level to specify the rights and obligations of property owners in relation to residency visas.
A new paragraph has been added to Article 33 of the ‘Executive Regulations of the Entry and Residency Law for Entry and Residency of Foreigners’ and a new article, Article 34, has been included in the by-law specifying the conditions of the new visa.
The amendment to Article 33 states:
“Owners of built-in properties can stay for six months from the date of entry into the country. On the expiry of this period, the owner pledges to depart for his homeland or any of the GCC countries. He will only be allowed to enter the country again after meeting the required conditions.”
According to the new Article 34, the owner should submit a multi-trip entry visa in regards to the property as per the following conditions:
- “The property should be built-in (complete) and in this case doesn’t include owners of vacant lands, plots, or off-plan Units.
- The owner should obtain a title of the property from the property registration authority in the emirate concerned.
- The Unit must be wholly owned by the concerned person.
- The value of the unit should be at least Dh 1 million (USD$270,000). The Ministerial Decision did not clarify the basis on which the property is to be valued, however, the most practical way to value the property is by using the amount stated in the sale and purchase agreement or the purchase price.
- The unit should be fit for accommodation and the property must be of an appropriate size to house family members in a reasonable ratio of people to square feet.
- The owner should have a fixed income of at least Dh 10,000 (USD$ 2722) per month or its equivalent in foreign currencies whether inside or outside the country. Not all sources of income are acceptable but examples of an acceptable income generated in the UAE are interest from bank accounts and income coming from stock dividends. It is important to note that the property visa doesn’t give the owner of the property the right to work inside the UAE, however, only to reside in the UAE.”
Direct family members including spouse and children can be included under the property owner’s sponsorship. UAE medical insurance is required for all applicants.
Furthermore, joint property owners cannot apply for residence visa in contrast to the previous system which allowed first named owner to apply. Previously in joint -ownership cases, a residency visa was granted to the first named person on the title deed. Now the applicant must be the only owner of the property. The exception is joint -ownership between husband and wife, where in which the husband as an applicant will be eligible with his family members for property visas.
Property visa holders under the old system must change their visa to the new system from 01 June 2009 or they risk breaching UAE immigration laws and facing the resulting penalties.