What is the change? Authorities have clarified that the UAE’s new Golden Card program is a long-term residence program, but not a permanent residence program.

What does the change mean? Foreign investors, top international specialists, researchers and high-performing students are now being invited to apply for Golden Cards, which are valid for up to 10 years and renewable indefinitely.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The first Golden Cards were issued in May.
  • Visas/permits affected: Golden Cards (long-term residence).
  • Who is affected: Foreign investors, top international specialists, researchers and high-performing students interested in long-term residence. For most of the UAE, the program is only open to applicants who are invited to apply. Companies in the Dubai International Financial Centre, however, are able to nominate employees who meet the Federal Authority’s specified list of criteria and provisions.
  • Business impact: Officials hope the long-term residence program will provide new incentives and help the UAE remain a top destination for foreign investors and specialists.

Background: Officials began issuing Golden Cards, as the long-term visas are known, in May. At the time, the program was described as a permanent residence program. Officials subsequently clarified that the Golden Cards will be valid for up to 10 years. Golden Cards are renewable, provided card holders continue to satisfy the terms of their visa and complete required renewal processes.

Analysis & Comments: While the Golden Card program is not a standard permanent residence program, it is nonetheless expected to boost the UAE’s economy by attracting business and foreign investment.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see to learn more.  Deloitte Legal means the legal practices of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firms or their affiliates that provide legal services. For legal, regulatory and other reasons, not all member firms provide legal services.

This communication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms or their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte network”) is, by means of this communication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this communication. © 2019. For information, contact Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.