While many savvy tech startups have already made the move to the UAEs capital Abu Dhabi for lucrative business opportunities, access to global markets and capital; you may not know that the UAE government has been focusing on making that decision even easier with long-term business visas to encourage global tech startups to make Abu Dhabi as its international HQ. According to HSBCs most recent Expat Explorer Survey, more than two thirds of economic migrants to the UAE stay for five years or longer. With the visa length only two or three years, no matter your circumstances, that means at least two lots of visa applications. And with the governments focus on creating a tech hub and ecosystem for global startups and tech firms, it was recognised that this administrative burden could be vastly reduced. Enter the Golden Visa system, which offers residency for five or 10 years to entrepreneurs, investors and specialist talent from around the world. Of particular interest to tech founders is the UAE Business Visa, which applies to business owners, their family members, a business partner and up to three senior employees or executives.

Who is the UAE 5-year Business Visa for?

The visa is valid for up to five years for entrepreneurs who have an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000 ($136k) or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator like Hub71, the global tech ecosystem based in Abu Dhabi. To be eligible for the Business Visa, applicants must:

  • Be able to substantiate their experience as entrepreneurs
  • Have been a majority shareholder of a startup or a member of its senior leadership
  • Be willing to relocate to the UAE and legally establish a business in one of the Emirates
  • Have a business idea or business plan that you wish to bring to life in the UAE (this can be an existing business with UAE-specific expansion plans)

How to apply for the UAE Business Visa

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) launched an electronic platform (https://business.goldenvisa.ae) to apply for a business visa. Professionals with entrepreneurial experience from around the world are eligible to apply for the business visa and set up their own businesses in the UAE, with a fairly straightforward process. Finally, for a full list of benefits and to read up on everything you need to complete the process, head to: https://business.goldenvisa.ae/