Retirement Visa In Uae

Retirement visas in the UAE have become a very popular subject over the last few years. With it, we have also seen a growing number of bad headlines about the retirement visa program in the UAE. It’s been suggested that more and more fraudulent cases are taking place and this – of course – has caused huge concern for expats processing retirement visas in the UAE. This has led to a lot of sleepless nights for many people just like you who are considering making their home in UAE. We wanted to give you a detailed and honest answer about what it takes to get your retirement visa approved in the UAE. 

Aging population and rising economic expectancy are giving rise to a lucrative industry of retirement visa for expatriates in UAE. Key players in the industry have intensified their efforts in patronizing government agencies to convince them of the need to make amendments in the immigration laws and policies to incorporate this growing segment.

It is possible now to stay longer in the United Arab Emirates if you have a retirement visa, allowing you to receive permanent residence status. The options for living in the UAE are quickly growing, from investments to property and education and work permits. All these investment options are subject to legal regulations and taxes, making it even more important to contact an experienced immigration lawyer. A foreign investor can now apply for a R visa and not only be granted this visa within two weeks, but also receive permanent residence within three years with no sponsor or donation needed. The visa will include health insurance coverage, pension plan contributions and the option of tax free returns back home or abroad. An individual must be over 55 years old, with a minimum of Dh1 million in the bank and be investing USD500,000 in real estate developments. It is recommended that the investment should remain untouched for three years after you have received your residence visa.

Retirement Visa In Uae

If you have made up your mind that retiring in Dubai is the best option for you, there’s a Dubai visa which caters to your needs: the Dubai Retirement Visa.

In 2018, the UAE government introduced a new visa which is specifically catered to retirees, whether those living abroad or those already in the UAE who reach retirement age.

Dubai Retirement Visa Requirements

To be eligible for a Dubai Retirement Visa, you must be at least 55 years old and meet one of the following conditions:

  • You purchase property in Dubai worth at least AED 2 million
  • You have financial saving that account to at least AED 1 million
  • You have an active income of at least AED 20,000 per month from investments or pensions.

The Retirement Visa for Dubai is issued for five years, and it can be renewed for another five if you still meet the eligibility criteria.

How to Apply for a Dubai Retirement Visa?

Depending on where you are living, there are a few possible methods through which you can apply for a Dubai Retirement Visa:

  • If you’re currently living in Dubai on a work visa, you must approach the branch of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai
  • If you are abroad, you may need an entry visa to enter Dubai, which is when you can apply for the Residence Retirement Visa
    • Some nationalities may enter without a visa or get a visa on arrival (see here) but still have to apply for the Residence Visa once in Dubai

It is the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) that is in charge of issuing visas for the UAE, including Dubai.

As such, when you want to apply for the visa, you should approach the Dubai branch of the GDRFA or one if its typing centers.

Is Retiring in Dubai a Good Idea?

Well, the answer to that question depends entirely on your lifestyle preferences. If you don’t mind the warm climate and the high costs of living are not an issue, then it might just be the place for you.

The pros of retiring in Dubai

There are some pretty convincing reasons why you should retire in Dubai. For example:

It is safe

Dubai is generally a very safe place to live, with low crime rates. Of course, like anywhere in the world, crime does exist, but its mostly petty crimes. The rates of violent crime are pretty low, something that’s mostly due to UAE’s strict laws.

However, the strick laws may actually be more of a problem than the crime – for foreigners at least (see below).

It has good healthcare

Even though expats have to get private healthcare, the healthcare standards in Dubai are some of the best in the world, even matching those in Europe and the US.

So, if you can afford to retire in Dubai, you won’t have to worry about the quality of the health care you will receive.

It is culturally diverse

Dubai is made up of a large majority of expats, making it a very culturally diverse place, so you get the chance to mix with other cultures and learn something new.

English is widely spoken

A large portion of Dubai residents understand and speak English – some go as far as to call it an unofficial second language. So, as long as you speak English, you will not likely have a problem communicating.

Possible Cons to Retiring in Dubai

No matter how attractive of a place for retirement Dubai can be, there’s still a few things you should keep in mind, the most important of which being:

The costs of life

Although you won’t have to pay income tax, the costs of living in Dubai can be pretty high. After all, the luxurious lifestyle many of the residents enjoy does not come cheap.

Compared to other popular retirement spots, Dubai is actually one of the most expensive, with an average of over AED 3,000 per month for one person – and that’s not including rent.

The weather

Although year-around sunny weather sounds amazing, the temperatures from June to September can reach uncomfortably-high levels, with an average of 33.4°C (92.2°F). Dubai’s climate is defined as a hot desert climate and most people prefer to spend their days in air-conditioned places.

The high temperatures are especially of risk to elderly people, who are at increased danger of heat-related illnesses.

Stricter laws

If you are from a Western country, the strict laws in Dubai may come as a bit of shock to you. There are some things you may have been accustomed to doing freely, but which may get you in trouble with the law if you do them in Dubai. This includes public displays of affection, dressing “immodestly”, swearing or making rude gestures (even online!), eating and drinking on public transport, and even raising money for charity or having a dirty car…

The cultural difference

Despite being a culturally diverse country, the UAE is predominantly Muslim. This means it abides by Mulsim laws, which include fasting the Ramadan.

During this month, even if you do not fast, you cannot be seen eating or drinking in public, and most of the restaurants are closed anyway.

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