August 5, 2022

The UAE is Implementing Major Changes to their Immigration System

From the beginning of September 2022, the new United Arab Emirates regulations will make significant changes to the immigration system by introducing new visas for visitors, and those seeking residency or Golden visas.

Under the new regulations, there will be five main types of entry visa which will then be further divided into a number of subcategories: Visa for visit, Temporary and emergency visa, Entry visa for work, Entry visa for residency without work, Entry visa for GCC residents.

Individuals may be self-sponsored or may require a UAE sponsor, subject to the visa type. Those entering under “Entry visa for work” and “Entry visa for residency without work” will be granted entry for the purpose of residency but will be required to change their immigration status and obtain a residency permit within set timeframes.

Further to the above, there will be 2 main types of resident permit depending on whether the stay in the UAE is for work related purposes or not. These residence permits will be split into subcategories which will align with the above-mentioned entry visa categories. Residence permits will be issued with a validity of up to 5 years and will be renewable. Again, they can be self-sponsored or may require a UAE sponsor.

The new legislation also identifies those individuals who may be eligible for the UAE Golden Visa for foreign nationals seeking long term residency in the UAE for up to 10 years. Please note that subject to circumstances, applicants may require a government nomination before applying for the Golden Visa.

The introduction of these new immigration regulations should expand the pool of applicants for entry visas to the UAE. The system will also offer applicants clarity around the visa and residence permit categories and sub-categories and increase the skilled foreign talent seeking long-term residency. It is also expected that the clarity surrounding the regulations for Golden Visa holders will lead to an increase in investment and business opportunities for exceptional talent in arts, culture, science, engineering, sport, and other fields.

For further information on immigration in the UAE, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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