What You Need To Know About the UAE’s New Visa Initiatives

Lindsay Judge   |   07-09-2021

This week the UAE announced the first set of projects as part of the Projects of the 50; consisting of 50 initiatives that will help lay out the future of the Emirates.


Among the announcements included a number of legislative changes that will encourage the modernisation of visa and work permits. This involves a complete restructuring of the entry and residency system in order to make the UAE an ideal destination for work, investment, entrepreneurship, education and life.

One of the highlights of the package of new regulations is the introduction of the “Green Visa”. This is particularly notable for freelancers and self-employed workers based in the UAE and overseas who can now apply for self-residency. The Green Visa applies to individuals who work in specialised fields such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain and digital currencies. It will distinguish between work permits and residencies and enable highly skilled individuals, investors, entrepreneurs and top students and graduates to sponsor themselves.

The Green Visa also allows:

  • Sponsorship of young people until the age of 25 instead of 18
  • Extending the grace period for leaving the country upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days instead of 30.
  • Sponsorship of parents


Additionally, the Freelancers Visa will allow self-employers to sponsor themselves in the first federal scheme of its kind.



The new regulations also include expanding the “Golden Visa” eligibility to include managers, CEOs, specialists in science, engineering, health, education, business management and technology.


On the new residency schemes, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said: “The restructuring of the residency system is a significant step towards enhancing efforts to attract qualified and highly skilled people, as well as facilitating business and creating an ideal destination to live and work.”


Other changes that have been introduced include:

  • The extension of business trip permits from 3 months to 6 months
  • Sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members
  • One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases
  • Extension of children’s age limit on parents’ residency from 18 to 25 years
  • Extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days


The measures have been introduced to enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of the UAE labour market, facilitate sector growth, spur knowledge transfer and skills development, and create greater stability and security for residents.