Thanks for your latest questions. A number of you have asked about residence visas and for some clarification around the announcement of the new visas for property owners, so this month we’ll take a look at the following:
Whether purchasers of real estate property are entitled to obtain a residence permit; and if so, under which conditions.
During the peak years of the Dubai real estate market, developers assured implicitly – and sometimes explicitly – the issuance of a residency permit to each real estate investor. These visas were issued for 3 years under the sponsorship of the Master Developer.
In 2009, the practice was restricted to so-called “multiple entry residence permits (or “MER”) issued for 6 months. At the end of this time-period, the holder had to leave the country and reside abroad for at least one month, after which a new application for MER could be filed.
Such practice caused great insecurity among buyers in a deeply shaken market.
With the aim of revitalising the UAE real estate market, the UAE Government resolved in June 2011 to extend the validity of the visas granted to real estate investors to up to 3 years.
This real estate investor residence visa is subject to the following conditions:
- The property must be constructed and fit for habitation;
- A title deed is issued by the land register in the name of the applicant;
- The value of the property must be greater than AED 1 million;
- The Applicant must prove that his/her revenues are greater than AED 10,000 per month or the equivalent thereof.
While the legal conditions are clear, no formal application guidelines have been issued to date. These are expected to be available later this year and will hopefully clarify the steps required to apply.
For the sake of completeness, we do point out that these visas are not suitable for each investor:
First, the number of sponsorships per property is in principle limited to one, notwithstanding the size of the property (although sub-sponsoring of family members by the Resident remains possible).
Second, any sponsorship in relation to one specific property – including all sub-sponsoring arranged by the residence permit holder (s) – is discontinued when such property is transferred to a third party.
Lastly, the property must, in principle, be held by a sole owner in personae. This requirement is in contradiction with the practices allowing “sophisticated” investors to purchase property via offshore vehicles, notably for reasons such as inheritance planning.
We hope the above is of help.
We look forward to receiving any other questions you may have.
If you have a legal question regarding buying, selling or renting property in the UAE, this is your chance to ‘Ask an Expert’.
Arbitration & litigation expert, Maria Rubert, from the law firm Cramer-Salamian (in association with Abdulla Al-Ali & Associates) will be available to answer your questions each month right here on the blog. If you have a question for Maria, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions will not receive personal replies, however up to three questions will be answered monthly in a Legal Q&A blog post by Maria.