On October 21, 2018, the UAE cabinet approved a number of new visa rules that will prove beneficial to numerous categories of foreign nationals in the UAE, including tourists, retirees and students and the widows, divorcees, and children of foreign nationals.

Here’s a quick look at the changes that have been immediately implemented:

Tourist Visas May Now Be Extended In-Country

Foreign nationals who enter the UAE on Tourist Visas may now renew their visas twice in-country for an additional 30 days each time, giving them a total extension of 60 additional days without need of leaving the country.

Visas Now Available for Newly Widowed or Divorced Women with Children

The UAE government will now grant a one-year residence visa without need of a sponsor for foreign national women already in the UAE in the event that they are widowed or divorced from their foreign national husbands. The intent is to protect their residence rights and those of their children by giving them a one-year period in which to make arrangements for employment or other means to qualify on their own for a separate, non-dependent visa.

New Visa for Graduating Students and New Adults

Children who had been sponsored for dependent visas by their parents may now extend their stay in the UAE upon graduation from a college or high school or upon turning age 18 years of age. Upon graduation or their eighteenth birthday, they may now apply for a one-year independent visa to continue studies or find full-time employment. The initial one-year visa is eligible for renewal for an additional year.

The same cabinet action also put into motion the process for implementation of one additional positive change for expats expected in the next year:

New Five-Year Expat Retiree Visa Coming

In the coming months, a new five-year visa will be introduced for foreign nationals over the age of 55 years who retire in the UAE. The new visa will include the qualifying criteria of investment property worth at least AED 2 million, savings of at least AED 1 million, or monthly income of at least AED 20,000. More details are expected closer to implementation sometime in 2019.

Who will qualify for Long Term Visa?


  • Investors in a property worth at least AED 5 million can obtain a five-year visa;
  • Investors in public investments (not property) through a deposit, an established company a business partnership of at least AED 10 million or a total deposit of at least AED 10 million can obtain a ten-year visa.
  • The amount invested must be wholly owned by the investor (not a loan) and invested for at least three years.
  • Dependents of the investor, as well as one executive director and one adviser, are also eligible for a long-term visa.
  • Investors can enter the country multiple times over a six-month period to apply for the long-term visa.


  • A five-year multiple-entry visa will be available for entrepreneurs either having a previous project of at least AED 500,000 or the approval of an accredited UAE business incubator.
  • An upgrade to an investor visa may be possible. Dependents, a business partner and three executive directors are also eligible for long-term visas.

Key Professionals

  • A ten-year visa is available for specialists in medicine, science and research subject to certain conditions.
  • Creative individuals in the field of culture and art may be eligible for a ten-year visa if they are accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, or hold a patent which adds value to the UAE economy.
  • In this category, a contract of employment will be required in the specialist field.
  • Doctors and scientists must either have a PhD from one of the world’s top 500 universities, an award or certificate of appreciation or a PhD with ten years of professional experience, or have published articles, or made a contribution to major scientific research, or be accredited by the Emirates Scientists Council.
  • Dependents may be eligible for a long-term visa.

Action items

Foreign nationals and their employers who may be affected by the new rules are encouraged to consult their immigration specialist for specific advice.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.