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Tue 16 Jul 2019 10:04 AM

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Video: UAE and Saudi's permanent residency scheme explained

A few people have asked me to explain the UAE and Saudi permanent residency scheme and as you know your wish is my command.

So today, I will be breaking down the 10 year Golden Card residency scheme of the UAE and Saudi’s permanent residency program for you.

Also hit that subscribe button and post in any questions you might have about these programs in the comments below.

Let’s start with the UAE. What is the Golden Card?

To put it simply, it is just a long term residency scheme that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum announced last month. More than 400 investors and businessmen have received the gold card so far out of the total 6800 people that will be awarded these by the end fo this year.

So who exactly is “worthy” or eligible for the gold card?

5 categories of expatriates:


  • Real estate investors with property worth AED5 million or more
  • Foreign investors who own a company with Dh10m in capital or is a partner in a company with a share of up to Dh10m


  • That own a successful project valued at Dh500,000
  • Who have the approval as a certified business incubator who founded the project
  • Can provide a comprehensive health insurance document for themselves and their family

Chief Executives

  • Who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • That have five years of experience or more
  • Earn a salary of Dh30,000 or more with a valid contract in the UAE
  • Scientists and specialists, and outstanding students

Well, the whole point is to create an attractive investment environment and also give back to the people who have made a notable contribution to the UAE’s development over the years.

Although it isn’t officially being called the permanent residency, this new long term visa can be renewed after 10 years. So same difference.

If you think you are eligible and want to apply for it then you can do it at any immigration office or accredited offices.

Coming to Saudi now

Saudi Arabia has its own new residency program too but it is slightly expensive - 800,000 riyals ($213,000).

They do have a cheaper one-year renewable residency permit which costs about 100,000 riyals.

These premium residencies come with a lot of benefits like foreigners can buy property and do business without a Saudi sponsor, switch jobs and exit the kingdom easily and sponsor visas for family members.

The main aim again, is to boost foreign investment, reduce dependence on oil and attract more revenue to the kingdom. In fact, it was estimated the programme would generate about $10 billion in annual revenue by 2020.

On the downside, however, the monthly fees of 100 riyals per dependent that has been imposed on foreign workers and their families have prompted hundreds of thousands of expatriates to leave.

Another problem of this is that unemployment among Saudis is at 12.5% at the moment, slogans like ‘Saudi is for Saudis’ is doing the rounds on social media and there are unverified reports of Saudis deporting all of its Lebanese expats without consequence.

So the scheme could be slightly more controversial and complex in Saudi than it is in the UAE.

Anyway, we will continue to bring you updates on this and every other story happening in and around the GCC.

(Source: YouTube channel)