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UAE’s new residency law

Date: 30 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has approved an amendment to its residency laws allowing foreign university students to bring their families with them to the UAE.



The amendment is the latest addition to a recent spate of changes to residency laws introduced by the UAE Cabinet in a bid to attract new foreign residents.



  • Over the last few years, the UAE has approved a number of new residency options — including a long-term Golden visa and five-year renewable retirement visa.

  • After the amendments, students can bring their families to the country to live with them. However, the students must have sufficient income to support the move and afford suitable housing.

  • Expatriate students over the age of 18, who are sponsored either by a parent or accredited university in the UAE, are usually granted a one-year student visa.

  • Generally, students are required to renew their visa every one year. But on November 24, 2018, the UAE government introduced a new long-term residency scheme, also called the ‘gold’ visa, for “outstanding” students.

  • Students who graduate with a GPA of at least 3.75 from universities both within and outside the country are permitted to apply for the special 5-year visa. The visa benefits also include the families of the students.

  • The latest amendment was introduced with the aim of achieving “moral stability” and supporting the country’s education sector.

  • The decision will help increase student enrolment, particularly in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Universities in the country have been conducting online classes for the last few months and are expected to resume in-person lectures only by the Spring semester.


Other residency programmes

  • Dubai launched a unique residency programme which permitted overseas working professionals, who were working from home, to live in the UAE while continuing to serve their employers in their home country.

  • The Dubai government launched a five-year renewable Retirement Visa for foreigners aged 55 and over to live in the emirate.

  • The programme, called Retire in Dubai, is open to all retirees as long as they earn a monthly income of at least $5,500, have savings of $275,000, or own a property in Dubai worth $550,000.