Does Buying a Property in Dubai Also Mean Getting a Residency?
If you are one of those wondering if you can get a residency in Dubai after buying a property, this is the right article for you. The interesting part is that the more you research on this topic, the more perplexed you’ll get. That’s because the internet is filled with a lot of contradictory information.
As someone who wants to own a property in this city, you deserve to know the truth. In the Q&A’s below, I will set the record straight by debunking some misconceptions surrounding Dubai property visa.
Question: After buying a property in Dubai, will I be able to get residency automatically?
Answer: Of course, you can purchase a property in the city, but that doesn’t mean that you can acquire residency automatically. Take note that the government doesn’t grant a residence visa through property ownership. You need to follow a separate procedure to acquire it.
Question: Will I get a lifetime residence visa after purchasing a property in Dubai?
Answer: Yes, you can get a UAE residency, but your purchase has to be worth AED 1 million. However, this residency is valid only for 3 years, which means your visa must be renewed every 3 years. Unlike other countries, Dubai doesn’t offer a lifetime residency.
Recently, the government has announced the following visas for certain individuals: 5-year visa for real estate investors, 5-year visa for retirees, and 10-year visa for business owners/ investors. These visas are not applicable yet, and once the government issues further details about this, I would tackle that on my next blog. Hence, stay tuned on my posts to keep up-to-date of the latest happenings in Dubai’s real estate industry.
Question: What’s the amount I need to invest in property to get residency in the UAE?
Answer: As aforementioned, AED 1 million is the minimum threshold required to be able to qualify for investor visa through property investment in Dubai. You can invest in multiple properties, but they must all be ready and have a title deed issued by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).
Question: Will I get a residency in Dubai if I purchase any property?
Answer: Yes, you can purchase any type of property in the city. However, you will not be entitled to get residency on all those properties. In order to qualify for an investor visa, the property you buy must be ready commercial/ residential property.
Below is a checklist for your reference:
- Community: Freehold
- Status: Ready
- Type: Commercial / Residential
- Purchase Value: AED 1 million or above
- Joint Ownership: Conditional
- Mortgaged: Conditional
Question: If I purchase off-plan property in Dubai, will I get a residency?
Answer: No. If you ever come across any salesperson or agent who tries to sell you an off-plan property and tells you that you will get residency, they are lying. The property must be ready, as you have to present title deed in the Dubai Land Department (DLD). Keep in mind that off-plan properties don’t come with a title deed.
Question: Can I purchase a property in Dubai in joint ownership and be entitled to obtain residency?
Answer: Of course, you can purchase a property in the city in joint ownership and still get entitled to obtain residency. However, there are certain conditions that you have to meet.
- If you purchase a property in joint ownership with anyone other than your husband/ wife, you need to have an individual share of AED 1 million or above for you to get a Dubai property visa.
- If you purchase a jointly owned property with your husband/wife and its total purchase value is AED 1 million, you can qualify for residency. (Attested marriage certificate will be required.)
Question: If I buy a property in Dubai on a company name, will I get residency?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. The property must be in your name for you to qualify for residency based on that investment. If you purchase a property in the name of your company, you can be entitled to get a visa through that company.
Question: Will I be able to get residency if I purchase a property in Dubai in my wife’s name?
Answer: In this case, she becomes the property owner. This implies that she will be the one to get UAE investor visa, and not you. However, she can sponsor you after obtaining her UAE residency.
Question: I was granted a property in Dubai. Can I obtain an investor visa?
Answer: A lot of people have been asking me this, and the answer is no. If you were gifted a property, the title deed clearly stipulates that it was granted/ donated/ gifted to you. This doesn’t make you an investor, so the government will never consider the application.
Question: If I buy commercial property in Dubai, will I be able to obtain residency?
Answer: Yes, you can also acquire Dubai property visa on commercial property. However, this rule has changed recently, and applications for commercial properties have been rejected.
Question: Will I be able to acquire residency if I purchase a land in Dubai?
Answer: No, you won’t get a Dubai property visa. The commercial/ residential property that you buy must be ready and in a habitable condition. Given that an empty parcel of plot/ land is not habitable, you will not be granted a UAE investor visa.
Question: Will I be able to acquire residency if I purchase a warehouse in Dubai?
Answer: A warehouse falls under the commercial real estate category; thus, Dubai property visa will be granted to you in this case. However, the warehouse must be in a freehold area.
Question: Can I purchase an office in Dubai and obtain residency?
Answer: Of course, thanks to the change in the rule for commercial properties.
Question: If I purchase a villa in Dubai, will I be granted a residency?
Answer: Yes, given that a villa is a residential property, the government will accept your application. However, ensure that you are purchasing it in a freehold area, and not a leasehold area.
Question: I want to purchase an apartment in Dubai. Will I get residency?
Answer: Yes, you will get a property visa when you purchase an apartment in the city. Once again, ensure that the apartment of your choice is residential, ready, habitable, freehold, and located in a freehold community.
Question: If I purchase a hotel room in Dubai, will the government grant me with residency?
Answer: Yes, you can obtain a property visa.
Question: Will I be able to get residency if I purchase a serviced apartment in Dubai?
Answer: Yes, when you purchase an apartment in the city, you will be entitled to obtain Dubai property visa. As aforementioned, ensure that the apartment you are planning to buy is residential, ready, habitable, freehold, and is situated in a freehold community.
Question: I want to purchase a hotel room in Dubai. Will this entitle me to get residency?
Question: What are the prerequisites to obtain a Dubai property visa?
Answer: Per the government’s rules and regulations, you need to acquire a good conduct certificate from Dubai Police. It must also be submitted along with the following documents:
- 1x passport size picture (white background)
- Passport copy
- Original title deed
The following documents may also be required on a case to case basis:
- Authenticated marriage certificate (If the property is jointly owned between husband and wife)
- Copy of Emirates ID (If you had it before)
- Cancellation paper (If you had cancelled your residence visa)
- Current/ entry visa copy 9If you are on a tourist/ entry/ resident visa in the UAE)
Question: In order to get residency, what should be the worth of my property?
Answer: In accordance with Dubai Land Department’s (DLD) current requirements, your property should have a purchase value of AED 1 million or above. Keep in mind that the property’s actual purchase value will be considered, and not its current value.
Question: What’s the cost of purchasing a property in Dubai and obtaining residency?
Answer: Take note that these are two separate procedures. If you don’t own a property here, then the first procedure would be purchasing one. It’s worth noting that apart from paying the property’s purchase price, you also need to spend an average of 6.5% on top.
2% of that will go to brokerage commission while 4% will be paid to Dubai Land Department (DLD) for registration. The remaining 0.5% will be paid for other small expenses such as cleaning, service charges, utility registrations, and other small repairs, if required in the property.
When it comes to the cost of obtaining residence visa, you need to spend roughly AED 15,000.
Question: If I purchase property in Dubai on a mortgage, will I be able to get residency?
Answer: The answer to this is both a yes and a no. This also puts you in a tricky scenario, so if you have not purchased a property yet, then you can prevent falling under the “No” category.
According to the Dubai Land Department (DLD), if you have a mortgage on your property, you will still be able to obtain an investor visa as long as you have either paid half of your mortgage against the property which was bought valued at AED 1 million, or at least AED 1 million against a property which was bought for over AED 1 million and you still haven’t paid half of the capital.
Let’s suppose that you purchased a property valued at AED 1 million, and you have already paid 60% or the capital qualifying you for Dubai property visa. You need to know the owner of the property as stipulated on the title deed. Keep in mind that some banks only issue the title deed in your name after you have paid fully, while others issue the same in your name irrespective of the amount you have paid.
In the event that the property is in the name of the bank, DLD won’t honour your investor visa application.
Question: My property in Dubai is valued over AED 1 million. Will this entitle me to obtain residency?
Answer: Okay, your property is valued over AED 1 million. However, what is its purchase price? Say, for instance, you purchased the property a decade ago for AED 600,000 and now, its market value is AED 1.6 million. DLD will end up considering your invested money, which is AED 600, 000.
Question: Will I be able to get residency if my property’s evaluation is over AED 1 million?
Answer: It’s important to note that DLD is solely concerned with the purchase value stipulated on your title deed, and not what’s indicated on the evaluation sheet.
Question: If I purchase a leasehold property in Dubai, will I be able to acquire residency?
Answer: A leasehold property clearly implies that you don’t own it. In order to get a Dubai property visa, you must be the owner and not a lessee.
Prior to purchasing a property in the city from the perspective of acquiring a residence visa, ensure that you are purchasing in a freehold area.
Question: I want to purchase a property in Dubai. Can I apply for residence visa myself?
Answer: Of course, you can purchase a property and apply for residence visa yourself. All you need to do is visit the DLD and provide them with the list of documents I have enumerated above.
Most aspiring property buyers do it themselves, but if you don’t have the time to spare to wait for 4 to 5 weeks and visit the DLD several times during this tenure, don’t worry because I can assist you in acquiring the visa even when you’re outside the UAE.
Question: In regards to the completion of the residency process, how long do I have to be in Dubai?
Answer: The residency application could be done in 3 weeks’ time if everything goes well without complications, delays, or glitches. However, if these things get in the way, the entire process can take up to 6 weeks.
Question: Will I be able to sell my property in Dubai after obtaining an investor visa?
Answer: Actually, you can sell your property anytime you wish. However, if you’ve got property visa on the same property, certain things must be performed first. They are as follows:
- Visa cancellation against that property
- Trade license cancellation with the Department of Economic Development (DED)
- Changing of the title deed in your name
- Transfer of ownership
Question: What role does a trade license play in Dubai property visa?
Answer: Usually, for anyone to obtain a residence visa in the city, there must either be an entity or a sponsoring person. Given the fact that your property is not an entity, the DLD has coordinated with DED for the issuance of a trade license against the property in your name.
Upon issuance of the trade license in your name, the property’s title deed is then transferred from your name to your trade license.
The visa will then be sponsored through your trade license, and that’s the reason for the issuance of the trade license. Take note that it’s meant to be a special purpose trade license and not a commercial trade license.
Question: What’s the reason behind the trade license for Dubai property visa being so costly?
Answer: All the other procedures are priced between AED 500 to AED 1,500, and the trade license alone is worth AED 8,000. However, keep in mind that it is valid for 4 years.
There are a lot of people in Dubai who open up a free zone or LLC company in the UAE just to obtain a residence visa and spend from AED 20,000 to AED 50,000 yearly to renew their trade license on which they are not doing any business.
When you divide AED 8,000 by 4 years, it’s equal to AED 2,000 per year. Do you think that’s costly as compared to AED 25,000 for a normal trade license?
Question: Until when is a trade license for Dubai property visa valid?
Answer: As I mentioned previously, the trade license provided for Dubai property visa is a special purpose trade license, which is valid for four years.
Question: Until when is a Dubai property visa valid?
Answer: In the past, the Dubai property visa was valid for two years. It was then changed by the Dubai Land Department (DLD) in January 2019 to three years.
Question: Can I renew my Dubai property visa?
Answer: Of course, it’s 100% renewable! The good news is that you can keep renewing it for as long as you wish. In the event that any rules change in the future when it comes to eligibility and others, those will only be applicable to new applications and you can still continuously renew your visa.
Question: Will I be able to obtain residency if I buy multiple properties in Dubai with a total purchase value of AED 1 million?
Answer: Actually, this is one of those rules that has changed the most when it comes to Dubai property visa. Per the latest policy, you can obtain residence visa even if your investment is divided into several properties.
Question: If I purchase a property in Dubai and live in it, will I be able to obtain an investor visa?
Answer: No, this is not required. Of course, you can live wherever you want.
Question: Will I be able to purchase and rent my property in Dubai on which I will obtain the investor visa?
Answer: Absolutely! As I mentioned above, you don’t necessarily have to occupy the property that you bought for Dubai investor visa.
Say, you won’t be living in the city for the most part of the year, it would be great to rent it out on a yearly basis. On the other hand, you can also put it up on short-term rental so you can still live in the property when you’re in town.
Question: Will I be allowed to sponsor my family on my Dubai property visa?
Answer: Definitely! Below is a list of the family members who can be qualified for the sponsorship:
- Male child (Up to 18 years old)
- Female child (As long as she’s not married)
Meanwhile, the following are the family members who you might wish to sponsor, but you can’t:
- Your sister / brother
- Your aunt / uncle
- Your grandparents
- Your in-laws
Question: I don’t have health insurance. Will I still be able to purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency?
Answer: In 2017, having health insurance became compulsory in the UAE. The lack of a valid insurance policy will result in the rejection of your visa application, and you will be required to present a health insurance certificate.
You can either purchase a health insurance policy here or acquire a policy from your home country that also provides you with coverage in the UAE.
Question: When I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency, will I also be given Emirates ID?
Answer: Yes, you will also be provided with an Emirates ID.
Question: If I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency, will I be allowed to live in any emirate?
Answer: The UAE consists of 7 independent emirates or states. Hence, you can visit or live in any of these emirates.
Question: If I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain a residence visa, can I still take up a job?
Answer: The property investor visa is designed for residence purpose. In accordance with the laws of the country, you must have a specific visa for a job that you wish to do. Hence, if you get a job offer in the UAE, the firm will be liable in providing you with a residence visa.
Question: Let’s say I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency. Will I still be eligible in doing business?
Answer: In order to participate in any business activity, you need approvals from the concerned authorities and register your business.
Question: I have a Dubai property visa. How long can I stay outside the UAE?
Answer: You must be in the country at least once every 360 days in order to keep the validity of your visa. In the event that you fail to enter the UAE within this timeframe, your visa becomes null and void automatically.
In this case, the visa must be cancelled and a new one should be applied.
Question: I want to sponsor my son who is above 18 years old under my Dubai property visa. Is this possible?
Answer: Unfortunately, you can’t do this. However, there’s one exception. If your child is studying here, you can obtain a letter from his school and sponsor him until he’s 21.
Question: Will I be eligible to sponsor my daughter who is above 18 years old under my Dubai property visa?
Answer: The good news is, there’s no age limit for a female child. As long as she’s not married, she remains under your guardianship. Therefore, you can sponsor her under your visa.
Question: My daughter is married. Can I sponsor her under my Dubai property visa?
Answer: This means you are not her guardian anymore. Therefore, only her husband, daughter, or son can sponsor her on their visa.
Question: I have sponsored family members in Dubai. Can they get a driving license here?
Answer: Of course, but you need to provide an NOC given that they are under your responsibility.
Question: If I purchase a property in Dubai, will I be eligible to open a bank account and obtain residency?
Answer: Yes, you can also open a bank account in the UAE as a non-resident. However, upon obtaining the property visa and becoming a resident, you will have multiple options. Hence, you will be eligible to open an account with almost any bank in the country.
Question: If I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency, will I be eligible to take out a personal loan?
Answer: Yes, but the amount you can borrow and the terms and conditions is something that the bank has to decide on. Normally, most banks in the UAE require you to be a resident for at least 6 months before you can get a home or personal loan.
Question: I have a property and residency in Dubai. Will my home loan get approved?
Answer: Yes. This actually works just like a personal loan, so banks will require you to be a resident for at least 6 months before you become eligible to apply for this service.
Question: Can I use my Dubai property visa to sponsor domestic help?
Answer: Of course, you can. In fact, the process of sponsoring domestic servants on an investor visa is easier compared to an employment visa.
Below are the categories of domestic workers who can be sponsored:
- Chef/ cook
Question: I want to sponsor my driver on my Dubai property visa. Can I do it?
Answer: Yes, but it’s preferable if he/she holds a valid UAE driving license.
Question: I want to sponsor a maid on my Dubai property visa. Can I do it?
Answer: Yes, you can do that as well.
Question: I want to sponsor my parents under my Dubai property visa. Can I do it?
Answer: Definitely! The following are the documents you need to submit to make it possible:
- Your parents’ passport copies
- Their authenticated marriage certificate
- Your authenticated birth certificate
Question: I want to sponsor my sister/ brother on my Dubai property visa. Can I do that?
Answer: Unfortunately, you can’t do that in the UAE.
Question: Is it possible to sponsor my in-laws under my Dubai property visa?
Answer: No, this is not possible.
Question: Until what age can I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency?
Answer: There are a lot of assumptions surrounding this question mainly because upon reaching the age of 60, you need to retire and have your employment visa cancelled.
Since you are an investor and not applying for any job, there is no age limit for purchasing a property in the city. The same goes for obtaining the residence visa.
Question: If I purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency, will I be able to apply for a credit card?
Answer: Yes, you can get one from any bank you choose. However, the final terms and conditions will depend on the discretion of individual banks under the guidelines of the UAE’s central bank.
Question: Does my monthly income really have to be AED 10,000 to obtain a residency in Dubai?
Answer: I have never seen anyone asking someone applying for a residency to provide proof of income. The government just wants to ensure that your income is sufficient to support your life in the UAE.
Question: Will my rental income be enough to prove that I earn AED 10,000 a month?
Answer: Sure, you can. However, the contracts and properties must be in your name.
Question: If I retire and only have savings, will I still be eligible to purchase a property in Dubai and obtain residency?
Answer: Yes. If you no longer have a monthly income, but have savings in your bank account, we can present your account statement to the government.
Please note that in most cases, the government doesn’t require proof of income. However, it’s still better to have such documents ready in case you are requested to present them.
Question: I want to renew my Dubai property visa. How much will it cost?
Answer: Don’t worry, it will not cost you a fortune. By spending under AED 10,000, your visa can be renewed for another three years.
Question: Will I be eligible to apply for the 10-year investor visa in Dubai?
Answer: In June 2018, the government announced the issuance of long-term 10-year visas to specialised professions and investors along with providing 100% overseas ownership in mainland firms. Since then, no further updates have been issued. Moreover, it’s not clear as to whether property investors will be eligible for the 10-year visa or not.
Once official information is available, I will tackle that in my next blog, so stay tuned.
Hope these answers have shed some light on your confusion regarding Dubai real estate investment.