Dubai’s government, on 2 September, announced plans to roll out a five-year retirement visa that allows foreign nationals over the age of 55 to live in the emirate provided they have valid UAE health insurance and meet additional criteria.
Developed by Dubai Tourism and the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, on the orders of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai, the new scheme aims to establish Dubai as a preferred retirement destination.
Applications can be submitted via Visit Dubai’s Retire in Dubai web page, and eligible applicants must:
- Be over 55 and have valid UAE health insurance.
- Have bought the valid UAE health insurance at least a day before an application is submitted. If the application is rejected, the health insurance providers will offer a 30-day refund period after purchase, the website says.
- Either: earn a monthly income of AED20,000 (US$5,500); have AED1 million ($275,000) in cash savings; or own AED2 million ($550,000) worth of property in Dubai.
Retired expatriates and their spouses can apply for the five-year visa with the possibility of automatic renewal online, provided the retiree continues to meet the criteria, the website details.
Convenience to entice prospective retirees
The first phase of the scheme is to get expats/foreign workers that have now resided in Dubai for over 10 years to consider retiring in the country rather than eventually going back to their home country when they approach retirement age.
“The programme offers long-term residents of the city who are familiar with Dubai’s value proposition an easy and hassle-free retirement option,” the Dubai Media Office said.
Phase two will see the government extending the scheme to citizens of nearby countries. The Dubai Media Office continued: “Dubai’s close proximity with the native countries of a large majority of residents makes it a convenient retirement destination for them.”
Boosting tourism and the UAE IPMI market
By encouraging frequent visits from families and friends of retirees, as well as increasing visits from markets with a high population of retired people, the programme would boost the emirate’s tourism economy, reasoned Helal Al Marri, Director General of Dubai Tourism.
Should the scheme prove to be popular, the regional IPMI market would also experience considerable growth, with many people applying for UAE health insurance cover.
Al Marri added: “Dubai’s Retirement Readiness strategy will enable expatriates and international retirees to take advantage of the city’s open-door policy, tolerance and outstanding quality of life, and live in one of the world’s fastest growing, culturally diverse cities.”