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Three Reasons Rich People Obtain the UAE Golden Visa

In February of this year, during the UAE Innovation Month event, officials from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, as well as the Immigration, Customs, and Port Security Authority (ICP) of the UAE, conveyed an exciting message: “Residents owning properties worth 2 million Dirhams or more in the UAE may not have to go through the application process. Land departments in each emirate will be linked to the ICP website, and eligible investors may automatically obtain the UAE Golden Visa.” According to the spokesperson, this initiative will take effect soon, allowing people to directly visit the immigration office and obtain the visa. If implemented, this measure would undoubtedly be another significant boon for Golden Visa applicants.


In fact, in order to further stimulate foreign investment, the UAE government has been continuously relaxing its policies recently. In January, for the property investment category, the Dubai government further eased the conditions for property owners, removing the requirement for buyers to pay a minimum upfront payment of 1 million Dirhams to initiate the Golden Visa application, aiming to enhance the efficiency of obtaining the Golden Visa. Since its launch in 2019, the UAE Golden Visa has been favored by international high-net-worth individuals. According to data disclosed by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA), over 150,000 Golden Visas were issued between 2019 and 2022. Besides the relatively lenient application thresholds, the substantial benefits associated with the Golden Visa continue to attract high-quality investments from around the world.

1. Providing High-net-worth Individuals with Opportunities for Quality Investments and Rational Asset Allocation

For foreign nationals, the two most common ways to obtain the Golden Visa are owning properties worth over 2 million Dirhams in the UAE or maintaining a fixed deposit of 2 million Dirhams in a UAE bank for at least 2 years. Besides obtaining the prestigious Golden Visa status, these two investment options themselves are excellent choices for overseas asset allocation.


Firstly, in the UAE, especially in the capital Abu Dhabi and the financial center Dubai, the average property prices are still lower than those in global central cities, offering significant potential for appreciation. As the geographical center of Asia, Europe, and Africa, the UAE continues to diversify its economy and attract numerous multinational corporations, leading to a continuous influx of foreign nationals, who account for over 85% of the country’s resident population. These objective factors have sparked rigid demand for housing, while the UAE government strictly controls the housing market supply. The imbalance between demand and supply ensures the continued robustness of the housing market for both purchases and rentals. Where there’s demand, there’s value; whether it’s flipping properties for quick appreciation or long-term holding for stable rental income, the UAE’s real estate market is currently worthy of attention globally. Additionally, in terms of the residential attributes of the properties themselves, major developments by UAE developers are located in prime urban areas with complete amenities. Under strict government regulation, investment risks are effectively controlled.

Secondly, the deposit scheme is also a cost-effective option for achieving rational asset allocation. As a major oil-producing country, the UAE’s currency, the Dirham, has long been pegged to the US dollar, with the exchange rate stable at 1:3.67. This means that investing in Dirhams is equivalent to allocating in US dollars, effectively reducing the risk of asset depreciation due to exchange rate fluctuations. Additionally, deposits can also earn relatively high interest rates, with many UAE banks offering fixed deposit annual rates of 3-4%. Taking a 3.5% annual interest rate as an example, a deposit of 2 million Dirhams would yield 70,000 Dirhams in interest per year (approximately 140,000 RMB), fully covering the visa application and leaving a surplus. Since the deposit is held in the individual’s account, applicants can monitor their account status at any time. After the 2-year term, the principal can be withdrawn, with the short duration of fund utilization and no impact on the already obtained Golden Visa status upon withdrawal. The flexible and secure nature of the deposit scheme makes it favored by investors seeking stability and security.


2. One-Stop Solution for Long-Term Residency Fulfilling the Identity Needs of High-net-worth Individuals

The Golden Visa offers qualified investors a one-time provision of a 10-year long-term residency permit. Holders are free to reside, study, and work within the UAE. Moreover, it’s the only visa category in the UAE that doesn’t have residency requirements (immigration monitoring). After obtaining the UAE’s 10-year independent ID card, holders can freely enter and exit the UAE through the E-gate self-service channel without stamping their passport. This aids in explaining travel itineraries and, given the UAE’s position as a global transit hub, aligns with the frequent travel and transit needs of business professionals due to short travel times and numerous flights to other countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa.


Once Golden Visa holders successfully obtain their ID card, they can reunite with family members, including spouses, parents, children (and also, domestic workers). These family members can also obtain a 10-year Golden Visa, enabling them to enjoy the UAE’s abundant healthcare and education resources. Particularly in terms of children’s education planning, after residing in the UAE for the required period with a Golden Visa, they can return to their home country as overseas Chinese students to participate in entrance exams. With relatively lower scores, they can enroll in prestigious domestic universities, enabling them to excel in their academic pursuits.

3. Excellent Tax System Helps High-net-worth Individuals Begin a Low-tax Lifestyle

As a country that has already achieved overall prosperity, the UAE’s tax system is relatively lenient and straightforward. Firstly, the UAE does not levy personal income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax, meaning that income earned from work and dividends in the UAE are tax-free. Regarding property transactions, stamp duty, transaction tax, and property tax are also exempt. Purchasing property here only requires payment of 2-4% government registration fees, making the process simple and clear, liberating high-net-worth individuals from complex tax calculations and filing work.


If one wishes to conduct business activities in the UAE, the government has also introduced favorable corporate tax policies. Starting from 2024, companies with annual profits below 375,000 Dirhams are exempt from income tax.

With the gradual advancement of global financial information sharing, the demand for tax and wealth management among high-net-worth individuals is increasing. Achieving asset appreciation and preservation in the UAE is quite simple: after obtaining the UAE ID card through the Golden Visa, staying in the UAE for more than 90 days enables individuals to obtain UAE tax residency status. Subsequently, they can transfer some of their business operations to the emerging international financial center of Dubai, benefiting from favorable local tax policies and thereby achieving tax optimization goals.



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