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Can I live in Dubai if I buy a house?

Dubai is a popular destination for foreign property investors, offering favorable tax incentives, a strong economy, and a modern lifestyle. Many people dream of owning property in Dubai, but have questions about the residency requirements and process. 

Can I live in Dubai if I buy a house?

What are the requirements for residency when buying property in Dubai?

The main requirement for obtaining residency by purchasing property in Dubai is:

  • You must buy a freehold property worth at least AED 1 million (around USD $270,000). This can be a completed property, one off-plan, or multiple properties adding up to AED 1 million.

You will also need:

  • A valid passport
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Proof of income / funds
  • Clear police record
  • Passport photos

The property can be in your name, or jointly owned with a spouse or family members also applying for residency. The property needs to be retained while your visa is valid.

How long is the residency visa if I buy property in Dubai?

If you meet the property purchase requirement, you can get a residency visa in Dubai for:

  • 3 years for a property worth AED 1 million
  • 5 years for a property worth AED 2 million
  • 10 years for a property worth AED 3 million

So the more you invest in property, the longer your visa validity period. After the visa expires, it can be renewed as long as you still retain the property.

What is the process for getting a residency visa by buying property in Dubai?

Here are the basic steps to getting a residency visa in Dubai through property purchase:

  1. Reserve or purchase property – Put at least AED 1 million in escrow for an off-plan property, or complete the sale transaction for a ready property. Get a copy of the Title Deed from the Land Department.
  2. Apply for residence visa – Submit the property Title Deed, passport copies, photos and other documents to an authorized typing center to process the residency application.
  3. Medical fitness test – Take a medical fitness test at an approved health center in Dubai. This includes blood tests and x-rays.
  4. Emirates ID appointment – Schedule an appointment to register your fingerprint and details for the national ID card.
  5. Residence visa stamping – The typed visa application is submitted to immigration authorities, who will approve it and stamp the visa in your passport.
  6. Health insurance – Purchase valid UAE health insurance coverage for you and your dependents.

The entire end-to-end process usually takes 2-4 weeks from purchasing the property to getting the residency visa stamped.

Can I live in Dubai right away after buying property?

You cannot immediately start living in Dubai after purchasing property in the emirate. The residency visa stamping process has to be completed before you are legally allowed to reside in Dubai.

Most developers provide a temporary entry permit valid for 60-90 days, which allows you to complete the medical tests and visa stamping within Dubai during this duration.

So while the property purchase allows you to start the residency application, you can physically live in Dubai only after your visa is stamped and valid.

Can my family also get residence visas if I buy property in Dubai?

Yes, your spouse and children under 18 years old can be sponsored for residency visas when you purchase property and get a visa in Dubai.

Dependent parents may also be sponsored in some cases, if you buy a property worth at least AED 3 million.

All sponsored family members will get residency visas with the same validity period as the property investor. Their visa renewal will also depend on the main applicant retaining ownership of the Dubai property.

Do I need to live full time in Dubai with a property visa?

There is no requirement to permanently live in Dubai after you get a residency visa through property purchase. The renewal of your visa does depend on keeping ownership of the property, but you do not have to live in it full time.

Many expats who buy property in Dubai use it as a holiday home or investment, and just visit occasionally on their residency visa. Some chose to eventually move to Dubai later.

You just need to ensure your visa remains valid through timely renewals, and the property is retained in your possession. Notify immigration authorities if you will be out of the country for an extended duration.

Can I get UAE citizenship if I buy property in Dubai?

Unfortunately, purchasing property in the UAE does not currently entitle you to apply for Emirati citizenship. Only citizens of other GCC nations are eligible for citizenship after living in the UAE for several years.

However, getting a 5 or 10 year residency visa by buying property does provide a long-term, renewable right to live in Dubai. And the government is considering offering citizenship to certain expats in the future.

What are the ongoing costs if I get Dubai residency through property?

Some common ongoing costs to budget for with a Dubai residency visa obtained through property purchase include:

  • Visa renewal fees – Between AED 1000-7000 per person
  • Utilities – If living in the property, DEWA bills for electricity, water, gas
  • Property maintenance fees – Levied by developer or owners association
  • Municipality taxes – 5% of rental income if leasing out the property
  • Health insurance – Mandatory coverage for you and your dependents
  • School fees – If your children study in Dubai

So factor in these annual expenses in addition to your original property purchase cost.

Is it hard to cancel my visa if I sell my Dubai property?

If you sell the property through which you gained residency in Dubai before your visa expires, the visa will be automatically cancelled after the property sale is registered.

You do not need to specially apply for cancellation. The property and the associated residency visas are linked together in government records. Once sold, the new owner can apply for their own visas.

Make sure to sell through the official Dubai Land Department process to ensure the visa records are updated.

Can I keep my residency after selling my Dubai property?

In some cases, it may be possible to retain your Dubai residency for a limited period after selling your property, through a ‘retirement visa’.

The requirements are:

  • You must be over 55 years old
  • Have held a property-linked residency visa for at least 15 continuous years
  • Earn monthly income over AED 20,000

If you meet the criteria, you can apply for a 5 year retirement visa after selling your property. But this is not guaranteed, so check specifics with immigration authorities.

Is it better to rent or buy property in Dubai for residency?

For residency purposes, buying property is better than renting in Dubai in several ways:

  • Lower investment – You only need to buy a AED 1 million property compared to showing AED 300,000+ in savings for most other visas
  • Longer validity – Residency linked to property purchase gives 3-10 years, while employment visas must be renewed yearly
  • More flexibility – Property owners don’t need to live full-time in UAE, or do monthly visa runs
  • Brings income – The property can be rented out to cover its own costs
  • Asset appreciation – Real estate in Dubai tends to gain value, so the property is an investment

However, renting may be better if you plan to stay short-term or cannot afford to buy yet. The cost is lower upfront. But you will pay more in the long run for a yearly renewing residency visa.

Is it worth buying property in Dubai just for residency?

For high net worth individuals who want a convenient second home and part-time base in an advantageous tax haven, buying property in Dubai solely for residency can be worth it.

The key advantages of using Dubai property to gain residency include:

  • Visa validity of 3-10 years, vs 1 year for employment visas
  • No requirement to live full-time in UAE
  • Simple renewal by retaining property
  • Residency for family members
  • Rental income can cover costs
  • Asset appreciation over time

However, you need to factor in all costs like mortgage payments, transfer fees, utilities, taxes, etc. Ultimately, it comes down to your long-term plans and financial situation.

Consult a qualified real estate agent and immigration lawyer when considering buying property in Dubai for the residency benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • You can get a 3-10 year Dubai residency visa by purchasing property worth AED 1 million or more
  • The process takes 2-4 weeks from purchase to getting your visa stamped
  • Your spouse and children under 18 can also get residency as your dependents
  • You don’t have to live full-time in your property, just renew your visa periodically
  • Selling the property before your visa term ends will cancel your residency
  • For long-term stay, buying property for residency is better than renting in Dubai
  • Seek advice from real estate and legal experts before buying property solely for residency

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I get a mortgage to buy property in Dubai for residency?
    Yes, many banks in UAE offer mortgages to foreign buyers for up to 75% of the property value. As a resident, you may get better mortgage rates and repayment terms.

  2. How much are utilities like DEWA bills for a property in Dubai?
    Average DEWA bills for a villa are AED 1500-3000 per month, depending on size. For apartments, budget AED 500-1000 for utilities. AC usage increases costs in summer.

  3. Can I buy just a land plot in Dubai for a residency visa?
    No, unfinished land does not qualify you for residency in Dubai. You need to buy a completed property worth AED 1 million or more. Off-plan under-construction properties are allowed.

  4. Do I have to cancel my current residency if I get a new one through property?
    Yes, you can hold only one valid UAE residency visa at a time. Your existing visa must be cancelled before you apply for a property-linked visa.

  5. Can I buy commercial property like an office or retail space for residency?
    Yes, purchasing commercial real estate like shops, warehouses, showrooms etc worth over AED 1 million also qualifies you for a UAE residency visa.

  6. How much are school fees in Dubai if I bring children on a property visa?
    Annual school fees for popular curricula like British and American average 30,000-75,000 AED per child. Indian curriculum schools tend to be more affordable.

  7. Can I buy an off-plan property in Dubai to get residency now?
    Yes, you can get a residency visa based on reserving or paying at least AED 1 million for an off-plan property under construction. The Title Deed is issued later.

  8. Can I purchase multiple small properties adding up to AED 1 million for Dubai residency?
    Yes, you can club two or more properties together crossing the minimum property value required for investor residency visas in Dubai.

  9. How much is the municipality tax if I rent out my Dubai property while living abroad?
    If you rent out a Dubai property but live abroad, you must pay 5% of the total annual rental income to Dubai authorities as municipality tax.

  10. Can I get a 10 year Dubai residency visa if I buy property worth AED 5 million?
    No, the maximum duration for property investor residency visas in Dubai is still 3-10 years based on set tiers. Even buying property worth over AED 10 million will only get a 10 year visa.

  11. Can I sponsor my parents for Dubai residency if I purchase property?
    You may be able to sponsor your parents if you buy a property worth at least AED 3 million. However, their visa validity will be as per your property visa – 3, 5 or 10 years maximum.

  12. Can I renew my property-linked visa indefinitely just by retaining ownership?
    Yes, there is technically no limit on renewing your residency visa if you continue holding the Dubai property used to originally gain residency. You can renew after expiry.

  13. Will my residency be cancelled immediately if I sell my Dubai property?
    No, you are usually given some grace period after selling your property to stay on your visa – around 3-6 months. But you cannot renew the residency after the property is sold.

  14. Can I change my Dubai residency from property to employment/investment later?
    Yes, after meeting the minimum 2-3 year period with a property residency, you can cancel it and apply for a new employment or other category long-term visa in Dubai.

  15. What maintenance fees do I have to pay for my Dubai property while living abroad?
    For apartments/villas in managed communities, the annual maintenance fees are around AED 10-20 per square foot. This covers community upkeep, facilities operation and repairs.

  16. How do I check if a Dubai property meets the minimum value for residency?
    The Dubai Land Department website has a property valuation service where you can input details like location and size. It will estimate the current market value so you can check if it crosses AED 1 million.

  17. Can I use rental income from my Dubai property to qualify for visa renewal?
    No, for renewing a property residency visa you still need to retain ownership of the original or a different qualifying property. Rental income alone does not allow renewing without owning property.

  18. What are the penalties for overstaying my property residency visa?
    Overstaying beyond the validity of your Dubai property residency visa can lead to fines of AED 125 per day for the first 30 days, then AED 250 per day beyond that. You may also be banned from entering UAE for a period of time.

  19. Can I buy property worth AED 1 million jointly with a friend for Dubai residency?
    Yes, joint ownership of a property crossing the AED 1 million threshold qualifies all co-owners for UAE residency visas. You can share a property with family or friends to meet the required amount.

  20. Can I get a Dubai investor visa by purchasing shares or stocks in UAE companies?
    No, only purchasing property worth over AED 1 million allows you to directly get a residency visa in Dubai. Buying other assets like shares, endowments or bonds requires different routes for residency.


Purchasing property in Dubai can be a worthwhile route for long-term residency in the emirate for many expatriates. With strategic planning, you can gain a foothold in this vibrant business hub with its investor-friendly policies and high quality of life. While buying property solely for residency may not suit everyone, for HNWIs seeking a second home abroad the benefits often outweigh the costs. Seek expert guidance, evaluate all aspects thoroughly, and ensure you comply with legal requirements at each stage. With the right property investment, Dubai’s doors can open to you and your family indefinitely.

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