Freehold property owners to get residency Visa in the United Arab Emirates


A federal law granting residency visas to owners of freehold property will be introduced within the year, a senior government official has disclosed. The proposal, welcomed by property developers, will allow the owners to obtain a six-month renewable residency visa, regardless of their nationality or the size and value of the property, said Brig Gen Nasser al Minhali, the acting director general of the federal Department of Naturalisation and Residency (DNR).

Brig Gen Minhali said the aim was to create a unified visa system related to home purchases. “It is a security organisational procedure,” he said. “We do not want each emirate to develop procedures on its own, so we will unify it under the Ministry of Interior.” Residency visas granted in the past would remain valid, he said. But it would not be possible to renew them until the federal law was implemented. He refused to reveal further details, as the law is still being studied.

Whatever the department’s stated aims, property market insiders said the introduction of a single property visa system for the whole country would benefit a housing market that has recently been less buoyant after several years of growth…

In several emirates, including Dubai, prospective homeowners seeking residency have relied on property developers to act as sponsors for visas. The three-year visa, which allowed the holder to live in the emirate but not to work, was a significant incentive for many buyers, especially those from Iran, Pakistan and India.

There was confusion, however, over whether developers could actually guarantee these visas, as some promised, and whether the DNR would issue them. The situation was clearer in Abu Dhabi, where developers said there was not even the possibility of a residency visa for foreign buyers.

Industry insiders said a single nationwide system was vital in easing confusion over which emirate had which entitlement. This would help to restore confidence to the market, they said. “It has to be federal; that way it carries weight,” said Mr Nimer, who added that the market would not fully recover until home finance became more readily available.

Vincent Easton, the sales director at Sherwoods Independent Property Consultants, said a single law would clarify an issue that had been “opaque for too long”. However, he and several other leading estate agents said the visas’ six-month validity was too short.

Liz O’Connor, the director of residential sales and leasing at Better Homes, said the proposal may encourage a few cash buyers to start thinking about purchasing. But she added: “Due to the short-term nature of the proposed visa this does not give buyers a sense of security if they are thinking of staying, moving to or retiring in Dubai, as property for many is a long-term investment.” Ms O’Connor added that many people in Dubai purchased property believing they would be granted a residence visa. In many cases, that had not materialised.

An official at the Dubai Land Department said the way visas were granted had been under review for some time. Mohammad Sultan Thani, the department’s assistant director-general for excellence and organisational governance, said housing officials wanted to stop developers from being able to say they could “guarantee” buyers a visa – a claim that helped companies to sell properties, but was by no means assured and gave prospective investors false hope. Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency last year criticised developers that promoted housing projects in this way, pointing out that all visa applications were subject to approval from the DNR.

A committee to examine the system proposed that the title deed for a freehold or long-term leasehold property would itself qualify a buyer to apply for a residency visa, cutting the developer out of the process. Mr Thani said the proposed law would be better for landowners than sponsorship by the developer. “At the moment, property owners can be sponsored by the developer, as if you were working for them, and your visa belongs to them,’’ he said. “But if there was a problem between you and the developer, it would have the power to cancel your visa.”

While admitting that the prospect of residency visas would be “very nice for investors”, he doubted people bought for that reason alone. “For some nationalities it’s a motivating factor,” Mr Thani said, “but overall people buy as a long-term investment, to live in the property, to earn rental revenue or to sell for a profit.”

Robert Ditcham and Haneen Dajani, The National (Abu Dhabi), 17/02/2009

4 commentaires

  1. These are the conditions for getting a visit visa!!!!!!!

    « Property values for expatriate owners cannot be less than 1 million dirhams. Owners must too have an income of not less than 10,000 dirhams.  »

    Very strange and funny as well.

    These conditions are being declared after fooling a great number of simple and innocent people, telling them during the time of b00king that you would get a residence visa on completion of the project./

    Initially there was no condition of the value of the property which is soooo high now and neither the condition of monthly income.
    Of course people invested there in multiple flats , so taht if they like they can stay in one of them and that they could rent out their remaining properties so that they can live in UAE respectfully.
    I think if a person has one million dirham of extra amount to invest and he has 10,000 dirhams /month to show to the UAE govt. he would not be foolish enough to invest there in UAE.
    And also so many of the investors have invested, some really wished to live
    in UAE(as visa was guaranteed),
    Some people planned to stay in their own country but visit UAE frequently and some really wanted to invest their money for the investment purposes. But after such a long denial visas are open but with a very strict condition.
    Is it all fair and just from the side of the government?
    IS IT FAIR THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE BEING DECEIVED, they could neither enter Uae even after having multiple properties.
    Please all the small investors should request the Honorable Sheikhs Of UAE to be polite with the poor investors.
    Thank you.

  2. UAE offers property owners 6-month visas

    “Foreign owners of UAE real estate can stay for up to six months as the government announced a multi-visit entry visa. The multi-entry permit can be renewed according to conditions, the government announced Saturday. Owners of built-up properties can stay for six months from the date of entry into the country.

    On the expiry of this period, the owner pledges to depart for his homeland or any of the GCC countries. He will only be allowed to enter the country again after meeting the required conditions. Those conditions include owning property that is built-up and not an empty lot, obtaining a property title from the government, and being the sole owner. The owner, however, can include a spouse and children on the application.

    Property values for expatriate owners cannot be less than 1 million dirhams. Owners must too have an income of not less than 10,000 dirhams.

    The visa does not provide a work permit nor residency status.”

    Source : Maktoob Business, May 02, 2009

  3. The UAE wants our money invested in properties here to support the economy especially Dubai but doesn’t really want us (expatriates) living here.

  4. Mr Thani says he doesnt believe people buy for a visa but then goes on to say they buy property as an investment, to live in or for rental income.

    how does he expect people to live in the property with no visa?

    I know many people who bought property to live under the promise of a visa and they are now being forced to book and pay for a hotel as part of the process of getting a tourist visa! The only way open for them to visit their property!

    Why should an owner of property have to pay for a hotel to visit his property? does that make sense?

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