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Dubai: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes

Employment and Residence

Citizens of GCC countries (Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman) and British nationals with the right of abode in the UK do not need visas to enter the UAE. GCC nationals can stay more or less as long as they like. Britons can stay for a month and can then apply for a visa for a further two months.

The DNRD issues different types of visas, which are listed below. Applications for visas can be completed online or at a DNRD office.

1) Transit Visa

  • Issued upon arrival at the airport
  • Airline sponsored only
  • Applicants should have onward booking
  • Should have a minimum of 8 hour transit break
  • Fees: AED165

2) 90 days long-term visit visa and 30 days short-term visit visa for individuals:

2.1 In case of Personal sponsorship:

  • Fees for 90 days AED1,120 (e-form), AED1,110 (DNRD), for 30 days AED620 (e-form), AED610 (DNRD)
  • AED1,000 deposit refundable upon departure
  • Copy of Sponsor passport
  • Copy of Sponsored passport
  • Copy of Sponsor salary certificate
  • Proof of family relationship
  • Proof of travel insurance

2.2 In case of Establishments sponsorship:

  • Fees for 90 days: AED1,120 (e-form) AED1,110 (DNRD), for 30 days AED620 (e-form) AED610 (DNRD)
  • AED1,000 deposit refundable upon departure
  • Entry permit application form with completed typed data
  • Establishment card and copy thereof
  • Copy of the Sponsored passport.

3 - 90 days long-term visit visa for companies

  • Fees: AED1,120 (e-form) AED1,100 (DNRD)
  • AED1,000 deposit refundable upon departure
  • Copy of establishment card
  • Copy of the sponsored passport
  • Copy of the sponsor passport
  • Traveler insurance

4 - 30 days short-term visit visa for companies:

  • Fees: AED620 (e-form) AED610 (DNRD)
  • AED1,000 deposit refundable upon departure
  • Copy of establishment card
  • Copy of the sponsored passport
  • Copy of the sponsor passport
  • Traveler insurance

5 - Tourist visa

  • Fees: AED220 (e-form), AED210 (DNRD)
  • Passport copy of the sponsor
  • AED1,000 deposit refundable upon departure

A Multiple Visit Visa can be granted after a normal visa has been issued and used, and are an option for business visitors who are frequent visitors to the UAE and who have a relationship with a reputable company in the UAE. Valid for six months from date of issue, each visit must not exceed 30 days in total. This visa costs AED1000 (2012). The visitor must enter the UAE on a visit visa and obtain the multiple entry visa while in the country.

A Residence Visa stamped on a passport proves the legal residence of an expatriate in the country. This visa is given to workers who have obtained work permits or for relatives living with them permanently, and additional documentation is required.

In June, 2004, the Dubai government unveiled plans to enshrine in law rules governing foreign freehold ownership of property. Deputy director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna explained that:

"At present there is no federal law to govern foreign freehold ownership of property in Dubai," although he added that as an internim measure "major property developers have got together to offer guarantees to investors on freehold ownership, which has been endorsed by the Dubai government."

The DCCI deputy director general went on to announce that: "As part of our commitment to regulate the real estate sector, the Dubai government will issue a new property law which will address some of the key issues including legalising foreign freehold ownership of properties."

In March 2006, the long-awaited Dubai property law was issued, but Law No.7 of 2006 stipulated that freehold is limited to UAE and GCC citizens and companies wholly owned by them, as well as public shareholding companies. However, the law also stipulated that upon approval of Dubai's ruler, non-UAE nationals may be given the right to own properties in some parts of Dubai.

In August 2006, the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) published draft legislation that will allow foreign freehold ownership of property in the DIFC.

The laws published included the DIFC Real Property Law 2006 and the Strata Title Law 2006. The Real Property Law guarantees ownership of freehold land and interest in land within the DIFC. It will allow for foreign companies and individuals to hold freehold ownership of real estate within the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The Strata Title Law establishes a system of guaranteed freehold title to units in buildings in the DIFC. It is based on the system originally developed in Australia, which is now in use in many countries around the world, including Singapore.

Consultation on the proposed laws ended in September 2006, and both laws were enacted in June 2007.

 

 

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