Dubai's Golden Visa Program Boom: GDRFA issued 158,000 visas in 2023

May 31, 2024

In 2023, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA Dubai) issued a total of 158,000 UAE golden visas. Lieutenant General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, the director-general of GDRFA Dubai, highlighted that this figure nearly doubled compared to the total issued across all categories in 2022, which stood at 79,617, and greatly exceeded the 47,150 issued in 2021.

It is a remarkable achievement, demonstrating the government’s ongoing dedication to attracting and retaining top global talent. This milestone not only highlights Dubai's appeal as a prime destination for skilled professionals but also emphasizes the strategic importance of the Golden Visa program in promoting economic growth and innovation. Find out everything about the Golden Visa in Dubai and the importance and implications of this milestone.

Golden Visa Dubai and its Exclusive Benefits

The Golden Visa program in Dubai is a long-term residency visa granted to individuals who meet specific criteria in various categories, such as long-term residency visas for investors, entrepreneurs, skilled professionals, researchers, and outstanding students. The purpose of the Golden Visa is to attract and retain top global talent and investment, fostering economic growth, innovation, and diversification in Dubai.

  • The visa allows multiple entries for six months to facilitate obtaining residency.
  • It’s a renewable residence visa, valid for either 5 or 10 years.
  • No need for a sponsor.
  • Golden Visa holders can stay outside the UAE for extended periods exceeding the standard six-month limit to maintain the validity of the residence visa.
  • You can sponsor family members, including spouses and children, regardless of their age.
  • You can also sponsor an unlimited number of domestic helpers.
  • In case the primary holder of the golden visa passes away, family members can reside
  • in the UAE until the expiration of their visa duration.

UAE Golden Visa Requirements

Investors in Public Investments

  • 2 Million Deposit for Golden Visa: Submitting a balance certificate or statement from a licensed UAE investment fund or financial institution, proving a deposit of at least AED 2 million, maintained for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Business Ownership: Provide a valid commercial or industrial license and a memorandum of association showing a capital of AED 2 million or more.
  • Tax Contribution: Submit a letter from the Federal Tax Authority confirming an annual tax payment of at least AED 250,000.
  • Ownership: Own the invested capital outright, not through a loan.
    Insurance: Provide proof of medical insurance for yourself and your family.

Real Estate Investor Visa Dubai

  • 10 Years Residence Visa for Property Owners: Submit a letter from the land department confirming ownership of properties worth at least AED 2 million.
  • Loan-Based Purchase: Purchase property with a loan from approved local banks.


  • Project Value: Obtain a letter from a UAE auditor stating the project value is at least AED 500,000.
  • Project Nature: Secure approval from local authorities confirming the project is of a technical or future-oriented nature.
  • Business Incubator: Get approval from an accredited UAE business incubator to establish the activity.

Outstanding Specialized Talents

  • Doctors: Approval from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention to practice.
  • Scientists: Recommendation from the Emirates Council of Scientists or recognition from the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
  • Inventors: Recommendation from the Ministry of Economy validating the economic value of your patent.
  • Creative Professionals: Approval from the relevant emirate's department of culture and arts.
  • Executives: A university degree accredited by the Ministry of Education, a minimum of 5 years of experience, a salary certificate showing AED 50,000 or more, and a valid work contract.
  • Athletes: Recommendation from the General Sports Authority or sports councils.
    Engineering and Science Specialists: A certified Bachelor's or Master's degree and a valid work contract.

Outstanding Students

  • High School Students: National-level top scores (minimum 95%) and a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education. The visa is valid for 5 years and extendable.
  • University Students: GPA requirements (3.5 for A-class, 3.8 for B-class universities) and a recommendation letter or graduation certificate. Eligibility is within 2 years of graduation. Top students from globally ranked universities (top 100) with a GPA of at least 3.5 are also eligible.

Pioneers of Humanitarian Work

  • Eligibility: Outstanding employees in international/regional organizations or civil associations for at least five years, award recipients in humanitarian work, and funders with contributions of at least AED 2 million.

Frontline Heroes

  • Eligibility: Nurses, medical assistants, lab technicians, pharmacologists, and other approved cadres who demonstrated exceptional efforts during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, with a recommendation from a competent authority.

Factors Driving the Surge

Launched to secure long-term residency for investors, entrepreneurs, and skilled professionals, the program has quickly become a cornerstone of Dubai's economic strategy, offering a 10-year renewable residency visa that enhances stability and security for residents and their families.

The presence of highly skilled professionals not only contributes to Dubai's economic diversification and resilience but also fosters a culture of innovation and excellence, enhancing its global competitiveness. Looking ahead, the Golden Visa program aligns with Dubai's ambitious vision for the future, playing a vital role in ensuring the city remains an attractive destination for top talent worldwide. This sustained success reflects Dubai's strategic foresight and unwavering commitment to growth and development, paving the way for a vibrant, innovative, and resilient economy. If you're looking to secure a golden visa by investing in property, Provident Estate offers a diverse range of properties for sale. While buying property may seem complex, understanding the essential factors is key to mastering it. Our team of expert advisors is also on hand to ensure a smooth buying process!

FAQs about Golden Visa

The "One Touch" Golden Visa service is an initiative by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai designed to streamline and simplify the process of applying for a Golden Visa. Submit your application via the ICP website or the ICP App, accessible on both Google Play and the App Store.

To obtain a retirement visa in Dubai, you need to be at least 55 years old and meet one of the following financial criteria: own a property in Dubai worth at least AED 1 million, have a bank deposit of at least AED 1 million, or have an active income of at least AED 20,000 per month. You can apply through the Dubai Retirement Portal or the Dubai Tourism website, providing the necessary documents and meeting the specified requirements.

You will be notified of the outcome of your nomination application within 30 days via email. Upon approval of your nomination, you will receive a link via email to upload the necessary visa documents.

The residency visa in Dubai includes the following:

  • Golden Visa
  • Green Visa
  • UAE Blue Residency Visa
  • Investor Visa
  • UAE Retirement Visa 
  • Employment Visa
  • UAE Company Investor Visa
  • UAE Family Visa
  • UAE Domestic Workers Visa
  • UAE Specialist Resident Visa
  • UAE Student Visa

Here is the list of documents investors required for the UAE Golden Visa application:

  • A passport
  • Availability of an e-Certificate of Title / Title deed
  • A personal photo
  • UAE ID (if any)
  • A copy of the current residence permit (if any).

For more information, get in touch with us at Provident