In the last four years, Dubai’s property market has experienced remarkable growth which was greatly influenced by the implementation of the Golden Visa. In 2019, the UAE government introduced the Golden Visa Programme, a long-term visa system aimed at attracting foreign residents to contribute to the country’s economy and society. By offering an extended and flexible visa option, the UAE aims to attract individuals who can bring expertise, investment, and talent to the nation, fostering growth and development in various sectors.
The Golden visa has come as a ‘blessing in disguise’ for those who were in search of a better future abroad. Many perceive that the Golden visa has come as a ray of hope for global investors and working professionals in light of several developed nations like the US, UK and the EU phasing out or tightening their residency and work visa programs.
Golden visa has simplified the process for investors and residents to acquire long-term residency through property investments. Consequently, there has been a significant increase in the demand for Golden Visas.
What Makes ‘Golden Visa’ Unique?
The ‘Golden Visa’ is a highly sought-after long-term residence visa that offers a range of exclusive benefits to foreign talents looking to live, work, or study in the United Arab Emirates.
1. No Need for Sponsorship
One of the key advantages of the Golden visa is that it eliminates the need for a sponsor, providing individuals with greater independence and flexibility in their professional pursuits. Golden Visa holders can sponsor family members, including parents, spouses and children of all ages. Additionally, there is no limit on the number of domestic helpers that can be sponsored, further facilitating a comfortable and convenient lifestyle.
3. Privilege of Staying Outside the UAE for Extended Periods
Golden visa holders are granted the privilege of staying outside the UAE for extended periods, exceeding the usual six-month limit, without jeopardizing the validity of their residence visa. This is particularly advantageous for international individuals who may need to travel frequently for work or personal reasons.
Criteria for Real Estate Investors
According to the UAE government website, if an investor owns one or multiple properties, he/she can be eligible for a 5-year Golden Visa, which is renewable under the same conditions and without a sponsor.
The requirements for this type of visa include:
- Provide a letter from the Land Department of the relevant emirate confirming ownership of one or more properties with a total value of at least AED 2 Million.
- Alternatively, purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks that have been approved by the competent local entity.
The UAE has recently reduced the minimum property investment required to qualify for the Golden Visa. The new regulations no longer specify the type of property transactions eligible for the visa, whether they are off-plan, ready, purchased with a mortgage, or paid in cash.
The process to apply for a Golden visa is very simple. All the real estate investors need to do is follow the four steps below:
Step 1: Visit one of DLD’s Service Centres
Step 2: Submit the necessary documents and pay the applicable fees
Step 3: Undergo a medical examination at the designated centre.
Step 4: Have the Golden Visa stamped on your passport
Documents Required to File for Golden Visa
Required documents for the application include:
- An electronic copy of the title deed certificate
- Passport-size photo
- Valid health insurance
- Original Emirates ID
By providing these documents and following the application process, real estate investors can apply for a Golden Visa through property investment.
The Impact of Golden Visa on the Real estate Sector
The launch of the Golden Visa has made Dubai’s real estate sector more attractive than ever for global investors and has substantially accelerated the demand to buy property in the city. This is very much evident from the colossal increase in the real estate transaction year-on-year.
1. Exponential Rise in Real Estate Transactions Since 2019
Within a few months of its launch in 2019, Property sales transactions in Dubai hit an 11-year high, recording a growth of 20% compared to 2018. This positive trend continued in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Despite the global economic slowdown in 2020 due to COVID-19, Dubai’s real estate sector recorded 51,414 transactions representing a value of over AED 175 billion, according to the annual transaction report issued by the Dubai Land Department (DLD). The success story continued in 2021 as well with Dubai’s real estate market witnessing 84,772 real estate transactions valued at AED 300bn in 2021 – a 65% growth in the number of real estate transactions and a 71% increase in value compared to 2020.
In the year 2022, Dubai’s real estate surpassed all its previous records and recorded real estate transactions worth AED 528 billion in 2022, which is the highest figure ever. This was a 76.5% increase from 2021 according to the Government of Dubai Media Office. These figures reflect the positive impact of the Golden Visa program on property sales and its role in amplifying the performance of Dubai’s real estate sector.
2. Increased Demand for Holiday Homes and Short-term Rentals
Dubai’s Golden Visa program has not only created a staggering demand for Residential and Commercial real estate but also for holiday homes and short-term rentals. There has been an influx of visitors staying in Dubai on a short and mid-term basis which is generating substantial revenues for the real estate sector. Golden visa has also accelerated the demand for ‘second-home’ admirers. Freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs always prefer a “home away from home” experience which makes short-term rentals their preferred choice. Short-term rentals offer flexibility and stability, with fully furnished accommodations and amenities that enable digital nomads to maintain their preferred lifestyle while working remotely.
3. Incentivise the Tenants to Buy the Property
The length of the residency period in Golden Visa also incentivizes real estate tenants to consider buying a property instead of continuing to rent. Over a period of several years, the cumulative rent payments can approach the cost of purchasing the property itself. This makes owning the unit a more financially attractive option, especially considering that real estate is often seen as a good long-term investment. Furthermore, the option of obtaining a dedicated loan from specific UAE banks for purchasing a property simplifies and expedites the buying process. This can be advantageous for investors who may not have the full amount required for an outright purchase but still want to take advantage of the benefits associated with property ownership and the Golden Visa.