Retirement Visa in Dubai

Dubai is considered to be one of the most comfortable countries to live in for foreigners of different nationalities. However, the majority of the expats working in the emirate have to go back home after they reach the retirement age (55 years old). According to the latest forecasts, over 18,000,000 people in the Gulf countries will be over the age of 60 by 2050. In order to provide foreign professionals with a comfortable and protected life upon reaching retirement, as well as to attract wealthy retirees to the emirate, Dubai Tourism and GDRFA Dubai launched the programme 'Retire in Dubai'. It will allow foreigners aged 55 years and above to acquire a 5-year residence permit in Dubai. Next, we will share detailed information on retirement visas and how to obtain one.

About the Programme

Retire in Dubai is a joint project of the Dubai Tourism Department and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA Dubai), developed under the guidance of the ruler of the emirate; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The retirement visa was launched to improve the quality of life and provide new opportunities for older expats residing in Dubai.

Retire in Dubai provides a 5-year renewable visa for foreigners who have reached retirement age. Alongside the main applicant, the wife/husband and children, acting as dependents, can obtain the right to live in the emirate as well.

Note! To apply for a retirement visa, you must have previous work experience in any enterprise in the UAE. For instance, a housewife cannot apply for a retirement visa, but she can reside in the emirate as a dependent on her husband's retirement visa.

Benefits of Retirement Programme

Currently, about 170,000 foreigners over 55 years old live in the UAE. Most of these individuals stay in the country thanks to their relatives who work in the UAE, sponsor them and apply for their visa.

According to the UAE's migration policy, foreign citizens have the right to live and work in the Emirates, subject to obtaining a resident visa, which is issued to able-bodied citizens under the age of 55. After reaching retirement age, such employees are forced to go back to their home country, however the introduction of the new retirement programme will change this.

Essentially, Retire in Dubai is aimed at long-term residents of Dubai who have worked in the emirate for at least 10 years. But over time, wealthy retirees from other countries will be able to apply for this option as well.

According to Khelal Al Marri, CEO of Dubai Tourism, the launch of the retirement visa for expats could be an additional stimulating factor for the local economy. Friends and relatives visiting new retirees will significantly expand the tourist flow of the emirate.

Selection Criteria

Applicants over 55 years of age can apply for a retirement visa, provided they have a monthly income of at least AED 20,000 (USD 5,445). Furthermore, one has to meet one of the financial criteria mentioned below:

  1. The applicant has savings of AED 1,000,000 (USD 272,500) or more.
  2. The applicant owns real estate worth a minimum of AED 2,000,000, which must be fully paid and not pledged. In the case of fractional ownership, the applicant's share must be from AED 2,000,000 ((USD 550,000).
  3. The applicant has a fixed deposit and real estate with a total value of AED 2,000,000 (USD 272,500).

After submitting the application, the expat needs to go for a medical examination. In case of certain medical results that are found to be positive, the applicant will need to purchase appropriate health insurance.

The procedure of Obtaining the Visa

In general, the process of obtaining a retirement visa includes the following steps:

  1. Filing an application. To do this, one has to submit an application with a scanned copy of the specified documents and a completed application form to the email address [email protected].
  2. Payment of the filing fee. After submitting the application, a payment link will be sent to your email address.
  3. Consideration of the application. If necessary, representatives of the inspection bodies can contact the applicant by e-mail and request additional documents.
  4. Applicant's assessment. Upon prior approval, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) must assess the adequacy of your income and savings, and the Dubai Land Department (DLD) must assess the quality and suitability of the property (if you have one).
  5. Updating the visa status.
  6. Reimbursement of procedural costs for visa processing.

In the case of an approved decision, each applicant and dependent must pay:

  • Application fee – AED 890 (USD 242)
  • Procedural costs including granting an entry permit, adjusting visa status, stamping residency, medical examination and obtaining an Emirates ID – AED 3,715 (USD 1,011)

Package of Documents

To obtain a pension visa, you must present the following documents:

  • Copies of the passport of the applicant and dependents.
  • Copy of a marriage certificate - if applicable.
  • Copies of the visa and Emirates ID of all persons specified in the application (for UAE residents).
  • Documents confirming the existence of work experience: an official letter from the last employer indicating the number of years of service, a letter from the social service or a similar body.
  • Confirmation of the availability of financial security – a letter confirming the availability of regular monthly payments in the amount of at least AED 20,000 (USD 5,450) and indicating the name of the recipient together with the start date of the payment. The letter can be issued by the retirement fund or the last employer (provided that he makes pension payments)
  • Bank statement confirming the fact that the applicant has a 3-year fixed deposit in the amount of AED 1,000,000 (USD 272,500) or more.
  • Title Deed confirming ownership of real estate in Dubai (property in other emirates or countries will not be considered). In case the property is in shared ownership, the applicant's share must be equivalent to the amount of AED 2,000,000 (USD 545,000)

The whole process from consideration of the application to approval takes up to 15 working days. Due to the rather short processing time, it is not recommended to apply before the age of 55.

According to the Retire in Dubai programme, the retirement visa will be automatically renewed for another 5 years, provided the applicant meets all of the above-mentioned financial criteria.


  1. Dubai Tourism and GDRFA Dubai have developed a new retirement visa programme for foreigners. It allows wealthy expats who have worked in Dubai for 10 years or more, to continue living in the emirate after reaching retirement age.
  2. Later, the opportunity to participate in the Retire in Dubai programme will be available for other categories of foreigners.
  3. The programme is available for high-income expats and requires meeting strict financial criteria: monthly income of AED 20,000 (USD 5,445), savings of AED 1,000,000 (USD 272,500) or real estate worth a minimum of AED 2,000,000 (USD 545,000).
  4. You can apply and provide the entire specified documents by email. The processing time takes up to 15 working days.
  5. Provided that the retiree meets all financial criteria, the visa will be automatically extended for another 5 years.

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