Updated January 2024
The UAE has become a highly desired location, not just due to its thriving business scene and opulent living standards but also because of its appealing retirement possibilities. Dubai holds a strong allure for expatriates, professionals, and entrepreneurs who aspire to advance their careers and benefit from its tax-free income policy. Additionally, Dubai has positioned itself as a perfect place to reside, catering to individuals at various life stages, from students to retirees.
Read on as Wego presents to you everything you need to know regarding the UAE retirement visa.
Please note: The UAE government has removed stamping of residence visa in passports and replaced it with the Emirates ID. Passports are no longer required to be collected for stamping and once the residency is approved, applicants will be able to download a copy of their e-Residence and use the Emirates ID for travel.
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Retirement visa UAE 2024
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.
Moreover, the retirement visa reflects the UAE government’s commitment to welcoming everyone to live within its borders.
Retirement visa UAE eligibility
Generally, the retirement visa UAE is available for all retirees, including their spouses and dependents, provided they meet its requirements, including:
- the age of applicant must be at least 55 years old
- the applicant must be able to fulfil any one of the following financial criteria:
- option 1: An income of at least AED 180,000 (approx. USD 49,000) a year or AED 20,000 (approx. USD 5,445) per month. For Dubai residents, the minimum monthly income is AED 15,000 (approx. USD 4,100).
- 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) mortgaged/unmortgaged property for which the payment to date is at least AED 1 million.
- option 4: A combination of options 1 and 2 is 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 to apply for a retirement visa UAE?
The application process for the UAE retirement visa would depend on the option that you’ve chosen to pursue. There are two options, including:
- for options 1 and 2, which are 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 documents, the following are the general requirements:
- current visa copy: for UAE residents and their dependents
- passport copy: for the applicant and their dependents, including their spouse and children
- marriage certificate: in case the applicant is sponsoring their spouse
- Emirates ID copy: the applicant who is a UAE resident will need to provide copies of their Emirates ID (including their dependents IDs).
Please note that apart from the documents mentioned above, there are additional documents required for each option:
Option 1 – Income-based application
Proof of income letter
You must provide documents confirming your chosen financial route. The document should have the beneficiary’s name and the date of commencement. You can either provide:
- a letter from the relevant entity which provides the source of income (e.g., pension scheme); or
- a letter from your previous employer if they are providing you with monthly income after retirement; or
- supporting document to prove that you have a sustainable income.
A minimum deposit of AED 15,000 monthly or AED 180,000 yearly from the pension scheme/social service in your account on a monthly basis for the last 6 months (stamped by the bank) is required. You can still submit your documentation for consideration if you cannot satisfy this explicit requirement.
Option 2 – Savings-based application
Proof of retirement letter
You must prove that you are an eligible retired individual who has worked in the past with the following:
- end of service letter issued by your last employer with details such as the number of years of service, and it must validate that you are a retiree or;
- a letter from your social services or an equivalent entity detailing that you are a retiree.
Proof of savings letter
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 in that regard from the bank, addressed to GDRFA in Arabic (both Arabic and English on the same letter are acceptable).
Option 3 – Property-based application
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
- must be located in Dubai
Please note that multiple properties with a combined value of AED 1 million may be used, as long as they meet the above criteria. Make sure to provide a copy of the title deed(s).
Option 4 – Property and savings-based application
Copy of title deed
Your property should fulfill the following criteria:
- the property should be located in Dubai and issued by DLD
- the property value (and not mortgage value) as per the title deed must be at least AED 500,000.
- the property should be 100% owned by the applicant.
- if there are shared owners, the applicant’s and spouses’ share must be at least AED 500,000.
- the property should not be off-plan.
Proof of savings letter
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 in that regard from the bank, addressed to GDRFA in Arabic (both Arabic and English on the same letter are acceptable).
What is the cost of the retirement visa?
The initial non-refundable fee of the UAE retirement visa application costs AED 91.83 (USD 25) per applicant and dependent. However, in case the application is approved by the GDRFA or DLD, a total amount of AED 3,714.75 (approx. USD 1,011) per applicant and dependent must be paid.
The total cost covers the entry permit, visa status adjustment and residency stamping, as well as the Emirates ID, medical examination and management fees.
Please note that this does not include any costs associated with health insurance, which is mandatory.
What is the processing time for a retirement visa UAE?
Once you’ve been notified that your application is complete, the retirement visa application process may take up to 15 working days.
Retirement visa UAE benefits
Apart from being able to live in Dubai and enjoy the privileges of a resident, holders of the UAE retirement visa may also take advantage of the following:
Sponsor their spouse and children
Retirees have the opportunity to sponsor their spouses and children, with no restrictions on the number of children. However, in order to sponsor their children, they must be under the age of 18 for boys, whereas girls can be sponsored until they reach the age of 21.
Please note that in case the children 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
Since holders of the retirement visa are fully regarded as a resident of the UAE, they are entitled to enter and leave the UAE at their convenience for as long as the retirement visa is valid.
Furthermore, unlike a standard residency visa, retirees will not be required to spend a minimum period of days in the UAE within the year.