UAE’s New Gold Card Permanent Residency System

12 June 2019

By: Salma Abdussalam

Under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, the government of UAE had previously announced the establishment of a new visa scheme that would allow for the issuance of permanent residency to foreign residents in the UAE on 21st of May 2019.
This permanent residency or “The Golden Card” is now obtainable to a range of selected individuals under one of the four applicable eligibility categories for the Long-Term visa in the UAE. The new system permits expats to live, work and study for up to ten years in the UAE with 100% ownership and no requirement of a national sponsor for their business in the UAE.


The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) in the UAE, implemented the Cabinet Decision No. 56 of 2018 on Regulating the Residence Permits for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Specialised Talents and started receiving applications for the Golden Card on 11th of March 2019. Since then, 6,800 investors have been granted the Golden Card with a worth of Dh 100 billion investments from over 70 nationalities.

Types of Permanent Residency

The announced visas are currently issued for five or ten years and will be automatically renewed upon expiration. The unique benefits of the new system are available to the following;

Five-year permanent residency:

Investors (investment in property with a value of Dh 5 million or more)
Entrepreneurs (owner of a project worth Dh 500,000).
Outstanding students (students with at least 95% in secondary school with a distinction of 3.75 GPA upon graduation from any university).
Ten-year permanent residency:

Investors (public investments of at least Dh 10 million).
Specialised talents (individuals who are exceptional and talented such as Physicians; Scientists; Creative Intellectuals and Artists; Inventors; Elites; and Managing Directors).
The government enables anyone who is granted a Long-term visa to sponsor his or her spouse and children, with the exception of outstanding students, to provide a sense of belonging and call UAE their home.


Although the changes made in the new system facilitates permanent residency, the government has remained transparent that, thus far, this does not implicate that the residents of the UAE would be granted citizenship any time soon. However, the recent changes provide stability and precision to prospective investors, entrepreneurs, individuals with specialised talents and outstanding students. Additionally, it is expected to strengthen and improve the UAE’s economy due to the investments in real estate and public investments, along with the contributions of the talented and exceptional to the success story of the UAE.