How to get permanent residency in the UAE: ways to obtain citizenship

Residence permit
United Arab Emirates


How to get permanent residency in the UAE: ways to obtain citizenship

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most attractive countries in the world of living. Not only does it promise economic and political stability, but it also offers an unrivaled lifestyle. Find out more about how to obtain UAE citizenship, how to obtain a UAE residence permit for investors, and what are the benefits of living in the Emirates for expats

Apply for an insurance policy for a safe stay in the UAE at no extra cost
Apply for an insurance policy for a safe stay in the UAE at no extra cost

From 2021, the migration policy of the United Arab Emirates has become softer. The country's government is working to attract investors, highly qualified personnel, scientists and other talented workers. Expats can get a residence permit in the UAE and even apply for citizenship.

According to a study by GMI, the total number of expatriates in the UAE in 2023 was 9.0 million. The majority of expats come from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but there are also many British and international expatriates living in the country.

Who is eligible for UAE citizenship? How to get a residence permit and what benefits does a foreigner get? Details in our material.

Ways to obtain UAE citizenship

There are currently four ways to obtain citizenship in the United Arab Emirates:

● By origin


Children born in the UAE are not automatically granted citizenship. In order to become a citizen of the country of origin, one must meet one of the following requirements:

- be born to parents who are citizens of the UAE, both on the territory of the state and abroad;

- when the child's mother is a citizen of the UAE, and the father is not legally established or is a stateless person;

- if the child was born in the UAE, and his parents have not been established.

People who come from a family of ethnic Arabs who settled in the UAE before 1925 and lived in the country before 1972 can also apply for citizenship under this procedure.

● On the basis of marriage

In order to marry a foreigner, a citizen of the UAE, regardless of gender, must obtain court permission.

In turn, a foreigner must already live in the Emirates on the basis of a visa before marriage, and must also not have a criminal record or serious illnesses. It is also forbidden for one of the couple to be twice as old as the other.

Non-Muslims can marry UAE citizens with the consent of both parties.

UAE citizenship can be obtained only by a foreigner who marries a citizen of the country: after 7 years if there is a child or after 10 years if the couple does not have children. A foreign man who marries a UAE citizen will not be able to obtain state citizenship under this procedure.

● Through naturalization

Resident visa holders can obtain UAE citizenship through naturalization regardless of ethnicity. The minimum required period of residence in the Emirates for naturalization is 30 years.


● For exceptional merit

People who have made a significant contribution to the economy, culture or any other sector of the UAE can obtain citizenship under this procedure. Candidates can be:

- inventors who have at least one patent approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy;

- scientists with ten years of work experience and at least one prestigious international award or grant;

- doctors with at least 10 years of work experience who have outstanding merits in their field;

- creative talents;

- investors.

Only royal or official persons of the UAE can nominate for citizenship, then the candidacy must be supported by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Wealthy foreigners can make an investment in the UAE economy and obtain first a residence permit in the country, and later citizenship.

UAE residence permit for investors

To obtain a residence permit in the UAE, a foreigner must purchase a residential building, apartment, hotel rooms, townhouse, villa, office or warehouse. Depending on the amount of investment, a residence permit can be obtained for 2 or 10 years. It is allowed to invest only in buildings that are located in the freehold zone.

● 2 years – the minimum real estate value is from $205,000, in the event that a family invests – $272,000.

● 10 years – when buying a home in the amount of $545,000 or more.

Requirements for investors: age - over 18 years, absence of criminal convictions and dangerous diseases (HIV, hepatitis or tuberculosis). Family members are eligible for a visa if they also meet these requirements. In addition to the spouse/husband, unmarried sons under the age of 25 and daughters of any age can be added to the application. They get the same rights as the investor.

The procedure for obtaining a residence permit in the UAE based on investment takes about 2 months. To obtain a permit, it is necessary to draw up documents, purchase real estate, undergo a medical examination at one of the UAE clinics and submit an application.

"Golden visa" in UAE

In April 2022, the Government of the UAE approved the procedure of the "Golden Visa" program, which expanded the list of applicants who can receive a residence permit in the UAE:

- An entrepreneur can get a "golden visa" if he is the owner or partner in a small or medium-sized business registered in the UAE. The company's annual revenue must be at least $272,000.

- Pensioners, with excellent financial status, whose pension exceeds $4,100 or if the foreigner has an open bank deposit or owns real estate in the UAE.

- Exceptional talents – foreigners who work in the field of culture, art, sports or digital technologies. The candidate must obtain a recommendation from a federal or local government agency.

- Scientists - applicants must have a master's degree or a doctor of philosophy degree and have significant scientific achievements.

- Highly qualified workers in the fields of medicine, science and technology, information technology, business, education, law, culture and social sciences, who have an employment contract with a company in the UAE and a salary of $8,000 or more.

What are the benefits of living in the UAE?

Obtaining a residence permit has a number of advantages for a foreigner:

● Tax optimization – and the UAE has no taxes on income, property, capital gains, gifts or inheritance. Also, the advantage of the country is a low corporate income tax compared to other developed countries.

● International Bank Account – Investors have the right to open multi-currency accounts in UAE banks to save and transfer funds.

● Access to world-class education and healthcare systems.

● Absence of requirements for mandatory residence in the UAE – in order to maintain their permit, residence permit holders must visit the country only 1-2 times a year.

● The opportunity to get the Esaad Privilege Card for free, which offers exclusive offers and discounts of up to 70% in the Emirates and 92 countries around the world.

● The ability to apply for UAE citizenship, which provides benefits such as the right to visa-free travel to 176 countries around the world, including Schengen countries, Great Britain and Canada.

The procedure for obtaining citizenship or a residence permit in the UAE is quite complex and has many features. An immigration lawyer will help you choose the most successful permit program. You can order a specialist consultation online using the link.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in the UAE;

Legal advice in the UAE;

Travel and health insurance for foreigners in the UAE;

Insurance for international students in the UAE.

Find 8 common mistakes when applying for a residence permit here.

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