Updated November 2021
It’s common knowledge that Dubai appeals to expats, professionals and entrepreneurs seeking to advance their careers and to take advantage of its income tax-free policy. Additionally, Dubai has also established itself as an ideal place to live for people at all stages; from school to retirement.
Lately, with the UAE government further facilitating retirees to enjoy the fruits of their hard work in a relaxed and comfortable environment, many internationals are considering Dubai as their ideal place to retire.
Here’s all you need to know about the UAE retirement visa.
What is the retirement visa UAE?
The retirement visa UAE is essentially a 5-year renewable visa granting expat retirees residency status within the UAE.
The UAE defines an expat retiree as someone who is older than 55 years old and in possession of a letter of retirement from their previous employer or company.
The retirement visa reflects the UAE government’s commitment to welcoming everyone to live within its borders.
Who is eligible for the retirement visa?
Generally, the retirement visa UAE is available for all retirees able to meet its requirements including their spouse and dependents. Among the requirements are the age of the applicant which must be at least 55 years old and is able to fulfil certain financial criteria.
What are the financial criteria?
An applicant will be considered eligible if they are able to meet one of the following financial criteria:
- Option 1. AED 15,000 (approx. USD 4,100) monthly income from pension or previous employer
- Option 2. AED 1 million (approx. US$275,000) savings in a 3-year fixed deposit
- Option 3. AED 1 million (approx. US$275,000) property
- Option 4. A combination of Options 2 and 3 valued at a minimum of AED 1 million (approx. US$275,000) in a 3-year fixed deposit and property, worth AED 500,000 each
How do I apply for the retirement visa?
The application process for the retirement visa would depend on the option that you’ve chosen to pursue. There are two options as follows:
- For Options 1 and 2, which is the income and savings applications, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) will be the determining authority.
- For Options 3 and 4, which relate to property applications, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) will be the relevant authority.
- Visit the GDRFA portal
- Select the ‘Individuals’ login option
- Register and log in to your dashboard to start a new application
- Follow the prompts to complete and submit the online form
Visit the real estate regulatory agency’s office in person to proceed with your property application
Upon a successful application, all retirees are required to purchase medical insurance as a condition of completing the process. As for the required documents, they differ according to the available options as follows.
- Proof of income letter. The letter must include the name of the beneficiary and date of pension commencement from:
a. The relevant entity which details the monthly income to be equal to or greater than AED15,000 monthly or AED180,000 annually.
b. Your previous employer stating that you receive no less than AED15,000 monthly retirement income from your former place of work.
- Bank statement. Minimum deposit of AED 15,000 from the pension scheme/social service in your account on a monthly basis for the last 6 months (stamped by the bank). If you are unable to satisfy this explicit requirement, submit your documentation and we will consider your case.
For applicants who apply via the savings route (AED 1 million), it is required that the AED 1 million be secured as a 3-year fixed deposit in a UAE-based bank. Applicants must obtain a stamped letter to that regard from the bank, addressed to GDRFA in Arabic (both Arabic and English on the same letter is acceptable).
For applicants that apply via the property route, please note that the property must:
- Have a minimum value of AED 1 million as per the title deed
- Have a minimum share value of AED 1 million by the applicant (and spouse collectively), in case there are multiple owners
- Be in the name of the applicant (not the applicant’s spouse); if owned by a company, the company must be 100 percent owned by the applicant
- Be fully paid, if unmortgaged
- If mortgaged, the payment amount to date should be no less than AED 1 million
- Not be off-plan
- Located in Dubai
Multiple properties with a combined value of AED 1 million may be used, as long as they meet the above criteria. Please provide a copy of the title deed(s).
The property value (and not mortgage value) as per the title deed must be at least AED 500,000. The savings, also worth at least AED 500,000, must be secured in a 3-year fixed deposit account in a UAE-based bank. Applicants must submit the title deed from DLD and a stamped letter from the bank, addressed to GDRFA, stating that the amount is in a 3-year fixed deposit.
What is the cost of the retirement visa?
The initial non-refundable fee of the retirement visa application costs USD 25 per applicant and dependent. In the event the application is approved by the GDRFA or DLD, then a total amount of AED 3,714.75 (approx. US$1,011) per applicant and dependent must be paid.
The total cost covers the entry permit, visa status adjustment and residency stamping, as well the Emirates ID, medical examination and management fees.
Note that this does not include any costs associated with health insurance, which is mandatory.
How long will the process take?
Once you’ve been notified that your application is complete, the application process may take up to 15 working days.
What are the benefits of the retirement visa?
Apart from being able to live in Dubai and enjoy the privileges of a resident, holders of the retirement visa may also take advantage of the following.
Sponsor their spouse and children
Retirees are allowed to sponsor their spouse and children with no limit to the number of children. Note that to be able to sponsor your children, they must be under the age of 18 for boys while girls can be sponsored until the age of 21. If they are older than the specified ages, they are not eligible for the sponsorship and will need to apply for their own visa. Sponsored children will be eligible for study in Dubai.
Multiple entries to the UAE
Holders of the retirement visa are fully regarded as a resident of the UAE. Thus they are entitled to enter and leave the UAE at their convenience for as long as the retirement visa is valid. Additionally, unlike a standard residency visa, retirees will not be required to spend a minimum period of days in the UAE within the year.