Last week we began looking at reasons why people obtain, and various ways that one might apply for, a “Second Residence” outside of one’s normal place of abode, beginning with the Nevis Citizenship Program.


This week’s feature article looks at how one might go about obtaining the right to reside permanently (ie obtain a second residence VISA) in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE).


There are two options whereby an Entrepreneur or Investor can obtain residency rights in the UAE:


  • By setting up a (particular kind of) company
  • By purchase of real estate


We can offer you a number of free zones where you could register company in UAE. The most popular options is to register a Company in the Umm Al Quwain FZ.


Company registration in UAQ FZ with Flexi Desk (including 2 Visas)


Re the business activities of the company, you can simply choose from the below list (as updated from time to time by the Registrar of Commercial and Consultancy Activities) and following incorporation of the Company 2 Residency VISAs can be obtained:



There are two types of license, which fall under this category: Commercial License and General Trading License.


Commercial License: This authorizes the import, export, distribution and storing of items specified on the license. A Commercial License can have three different product lines or 10 similar product lines.


General Trading LicenseThis enables the licensee to trade in a wider range of activities and gives the freedom and flexibility to trade in any commodity, which is permitted within the UAE.
Note: Commodities which require special approval or clearance from various UAE authorities e.g. explosives and armaments cannot be traded with a General Trading license.


Usual activities include i.e. Trading with Automobiles, Seeds Trading, Coal & firewood trading, cotton and natural fibers trading, etc.



This is for entities, which offer expert or professional advice, and is issued to all manner of professionals including artisans and craftsmen. It allows two similar activities.


Activities usually registered include Marketing Consultancy, Management Consultancy and IT Consultancy.



This allows an individual to operate as a freelance professional, and conduct business in one’s birth name as opposed to a brand name or company. The Freelance Permit is designed for individuals who operate in technology, media and film sectors, and is issued to talent roles, creative roles and selected administrative roles.


Activities usually registered include Actors, Artists, Photographer and Producer.



This enables the licensee to import raw materials, then manufacture/ process / assemble / package the specified products, and export the finished product. It allows the holder to import raw materials for the purpose of manufacturing, processing and/or assembly of specified products.



This license is for service providers. It permits the licensee to carry out the services specified on the license within the Free Zone, such as Logistics; Courier Services; Insurance Service Provider; Travel Agency; Tour Services; Car Rental etc.


Tax Residency


An Umm Al Quwain FZ Company can issue residence permits and obtain a tax residence certificate from the UAE authorities for its foreign owners and executives. A FZ company, must have physical presence in the UAE and, in that respect, it must own or hire premises.


Private accommodation is not necessary for Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone Authority when applying for residence but many do this to reinforce their case for substance and legitimacy.


As far as the company is concerned, it must have physical presence in the UAE. In that regard, cost effective options are proposed by free zones situated in a number of emirates including Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ). Usually, these options consist of “flexi desks” or “flexi offices”. (The below quote assumes the Company will uptake the Flexi Desk option).


Furthermore (if a local bank account is maintained with movements), the foreign owners and executives can apply to the UAE Ministry of Finance to receive UAE tax residence certificates.


A UAE residence permit and a tax residence certificate can be useful to foreign owners and executives who wish to register their tax residency in the UAE. It is worth noting, that banking institutions in UAE and many outside consider UAE tax residence certificates as sufficient proof of tax residency in the UAE.


To obtain such a permit would costs circa (including bank ac setup) $US11,000 and from 2nd year circa $6,500.


Residency via the purchase of UAE real estate


  • In this case a residence VISA of 3 years minimum duration can be obtained via the purchase of real estate in Dubai or other Emirates in the UAE
  • The cost of real estate property in order to be able to obtain a resident visa must be – from 1 million dirhams (AED) per person or family. This means that if a house is bought by a husband and wife, then the cost must be at least 1 million dirhams. If the buyers are people who are not connected by family ties, then – 1 million dirhams (AED) for each person in one facility or for each separate facility worth at least 1 million AED.
  • Buyer’s age can be up to 60 years. If you are over 60 years old, then you will need to obtain special approval allowing you to obtain a resident visa.
  • Accommodation must be located in a completed building. Buying real estate property in Dubai during the construction period (ie “off the plan” projects) does not give one the right to obtain a residency permit in the UAE until the completion of construction work and the commissioning of the project.
  • After purchasing real estate property and obtaining a resident visa, the owner can provide property for rent.
  • The property can only be a Residential property. Purchase of a commercial property does NOT entitle the Investor does to obtain a UAE resident visa.
  • Resident visa, obtained upon the purchase of an apartment, is issued for 3 years with the possibility of extension.
  • To obtain a resident visa, the property owner must prove a monthly income average amount of min USD 2,860.
  • The cost of obtaining 1 resident visa at the Immigration Department of the Dubai Land Department for an investor is: from USD 6,300.


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