The UAE has become a hub for people from all over the world who wish to venture into the business world, specifically because of the policies undertaken by the government to invite more investments. One would need a trade license and a valid Investor Visa to own a business in the UAE. For those already employed in the UAE, the foremost thing to do is to change their visa status from an Employment visa to an Investor visa.
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Steps to Switch to an Investor Visa
The process of switching to an Investor visa might seem quite complicated but it is an easy process if done methodically. Several agencies can help with company formation in Dubai and other Emirates in the UAE. The E-Channel registration has simplified the visa transition process. It is an effort made by the Ministry to minimize the paperwork. The investor can get their company registered by visiting an approved typing center or any of the Freezone authorities. Read through the following guidelines to understand the process better:
Choose the Type of Investor Visa
Different types of Investor visas apply to individuals based on their investments. Investors must decide the most appropriate visa type from all the possible options.
Company shareholder Visa
This visa applies to anyone who owns a company or is a major shareholder in a business in the mainland or a UAE Freezone. This visa is valid for approximately three years after which it must be renewed.
Real Estate Investor Visa
This visa can be availed by individuals who have invested in property worth a minimum of Dhs. 2 million to receive a five-year visa. A visa valid for ten years can be obtained if the individual has a property investment of at least Dhs. 10 million.
Investing in UAE business
This visa can be acquired if the individual has invested in a UAE-based business. Its validity varies depending on the amount invested.
Cancel Current Employment Visa
Once the individuals finalize their corresponding visa type, the next step is to cancel their employment visas. The individuals must ensure that all necessary documents are arranged before the cancellation of their employment visa as there is a very short grace period of 30 days after which they may be fined if they don’t have a valid visa. Meanwhile, they must also apply for their Emirates ID and obtain a trading license.
Obtain New Entry Permit
After the cancellation of the employment visa, one must immediately start the procedure to secure the remaining documents. The next step is to get a new entry permit which will be substituted until the original visa is verified. The validity of this visa is only 60 days. This permit may be considered a temporary employment visa. This application can be submitted only through the E-Channel or through the DNRD for companies in Dubai. It may take around 5-15 working days to issue the permit in most cases.
Change of Visa Status
The ‘status change’ is a mandatory step that must be completed to prevent fines. This procedure activates the entry permit. The investor must complete the application for an Investor visa and then switch the Visa status to an Investor visa. The visa status can be changed through:
- In-country Status change
- Out-of-Country Status Adjustment
- Border run
Register for Emirates ID
The Emirates ID card is very valuable as it serves multiple functions. All UAE residents must mandatorily have a valid Emirates ID card as it is linked with the residence visa. It also helps to avail government and private services like tenancy agreements, opening bank accounts, and also acts as an official document to pass through immigration in the UAE. One can apply for it at a registered typing center or online and will have to appear at an ID service center to register their biometrics. This includes an eye scan, fingerprint impressions, and a photograph. The applicants would also need to complete an obligatory medical examination which would take a few hours and the results would arrive within 3-5 working days.
Acquire Visa Stamp
This is the final step to complete the authentication and obtain a valid visa. The residence visa needs to be stamped after the completion of the above procedures. The process can be completed by submitting the original and valid passport with at least 3 empty pages as well as other necessary documents to the authorized typing center or Freezone authority.
Once the above procedures are completed without any complications, the Immigration Department will send an approval or rejection SMS. The original passport will be returned after the completion of the process.
The cost of achieving an Investor Visa varies according to the validity period of the visa. Make sure that all dues are paid before initiating the process to avoid complications and delays. The entire process may take around 1 month to be completed. It would be better to avoid traveling abroad as it may interrupt the process.
There are several benefits to acquiring an Investor visa in the UAE. Such individuals will be able to sponsor their families too. Do not miss out on the opportunities provided by the government for successful business setup in Dubai or any other Emirate in UAE. Feel free to seek guidance when you are overwhelmed by all the formalities of acquiring an Investor Visa.