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Can I live in Dubai if I buy property?

Buying property in Dubai comes with many benefits, one of which is the ability to obtain a residency visa. While property ownership alone does not automatically grant residency rights, it makes the process much easier compared to other paths. Here is what you need to know about living in Dubai long-term if you purchase real estate in the emirate.

Can I live in Dubai if I buy property?

Eligibility for the Dubai Property Visa

The requirements to be eligible for a property visa in Dubai are straightforward:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You need to purchase a freehold property in Dubai worth at least AED 1 million. This can be a residential property like an apartment or villa, or commercial property such as an office or retail space.
  • The property must be fully paid for if you are purchasing it outright. If opting for a mortgage, at least 50% of the property value must be paid upfront.
  • The property must be registered under your name with the Dubai Land Department.

As long as you meet these criteria, you can apply for a residence visa sponsored by your Dubai property.

How to Get the Property Visa

Here are the steps involved in obtaining your property visa:

  1. Purchase the property – Finalize the sale through an authorized real estate company or developer in Dubai. Make sure the property is registered under your name.
  2. Apply for residence visa – Work with your real estate agent or an immigration consultant to prepare and submit your visa application to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  3. Get medical fitness test – Undergo a medical examination at an approved clinic to show you are fit and healthy.
  4. Get Emirates ID – Once your visa is approved, you can apply for your Emirates ID card which serves as your UAE residence identity proof.
  5. Renew periodically – The property visa needs to be renewed every 2-3 years by reconfirming property ownership in Dubai.

The entire end-to-end process usually takes 2-4 weeks from start to finish. Agents can assist in speeding up the process and ensuring smooth approval.

Who is Eligible for Sponsorship?

As the property owner, you can sponsor the following family members for residence visas:

  • Your spouse and children below 18 years
  • Your parents (approval needed from GDRFA for residence visa)
  • Domestic workers like drivers, maid, etc. (approval needed)

It is not possible to sponsor siblings, relatives or friends who are not your first-degree dependents. They would need an employment visa or other visa type to live in Dubai.

Benefits of the Dubai Property Visa

Some of the biggest benefits that come with getting a residence visa through property purchase include:

  • Hassle-free process – It is much faster and easier compared to employment and other types of sponsorship.
  • No age limit – Anyone over 18 can qualify regardless of age. There are no age-related quotas.
  • Long-term stability – The visa validity can be extended indefinitely by renewing every 2-3 years.
  •  sponsorship – You can bring dependents like family and domestic workers to live with you.
  • Access to facilities – As a resident, you have access to facilities like bank accounts, phone, utilities, etc.
  • No income proof needed – There is no minimum income requirement to qualify.

Limitations of the Property Visa

While the Dubai property visa comes with many perks, it does have some restrictions:

  • You cannot work or undertake any business activities on this visa. For that, you would need either investor or employment status.
  • Dependents are also not allowed to work on a property visa. They would need their own work/investor visa.
  • You need to show minimum stay requirements in Dubai to keep renewing the visa periodically.
  • Rental income from property investment is taxed differently than capital gains and other income.
  • Additional fees and taxes apply on buying, selling, inheriting, and renting out property.
  • If the property is sold or transferred, the visa loses its validity.

Within these limitations, the Dubai property visa offers an excellent residence option for those looking for a stable base in the UAE.

Estimated Costs of Getting the Visa

Here are the typical costs to budget for when applying for your Dubai property residence visa:

  • Property purchase – The acquisition price of AED 1 million+ for a freehold unit. Additional costs like registration fee, mortgage processing fee, etc.
  • Visa fees – AED 1,100 visa application fee per person. Medical test charges extra.
  • Emirates ID – AED 370 for 3 year ID. It costs AED 70 per year subsequently upon renewal.
  • Utility deposits – Around AED 2,000 as refundable deposit for water, electricity, gas connection.
  • Renewal fees – AED 1,100 every 2-3 years per person for visa renewal.

You should budget around AED 1.5 million and above for the entire process including purchase costs and post-acquisition expenses.

Alternative Options for Living in Dubai

Purchasing property is the fastest way to obtain residency in Dubai. But it does require a substantial upfront investment. Some alternatives to consider include:

  • Investor visa – If you start a company or invest in an existing business in Dubai, you can get an investor visa. The investment threshold starts from AED 150,000.
  • Employment visa – Finding a job with a Dubai-based company can get you a work residence permit. This requires having the right skills and experience.
  • Retirement visa – UAE offers a retirement scheme valid for 5 years. You need to show monthly income of AED 20,000+ and have savings of AED 1 million to qualify.
  • Golden visa – The 10 year golden visa is offered to professionals, entrepreneurs, talented individuals, top students, etc. Eligibility criteria varies among categories.

While competitive, these alternative options are worth exploring based on your unique situation and long-term plans in the UAE.

Key Takeaways

  • Buying eligible Dubai property worth AED 1 million+ makes you eligible for a 2-3 year renewable residence visa.
  • The property route is quicker and easier compared to employment or business investment routes for residency.
  • You can sponsor dependents like family and domestic helpers on your property visa.
  • While more flexible than other visas, the property visa does not allow you to work or operate a business in Dubai.
  • Budget approximately AED 1.5 million for a property plus application fees, taxes, utilities, etc. for the complete visa process.
  • Consider alternatives like investor, employment, retirement if the property investment route does not suit your needs and plans.


In summary, purchasing property in Dubai provides a relatively simple pathway to securing residency rights compared to other options. While limitations like work restrictions apply, the property visa provides long-term stability and the ability to bring family. For flexible access to Dubai’s high quality of life, business networks and infrastructure, investing in real estate can be hugely rewarding beyond just financial returns.


  1. What is the minimum property value for Dubai visa eligibility?
    The minimum property value to be eligible for a Dubai residence visa is AED 1 million. The property can be residential like a villa or apartment, or commercial such as office, retail space, etc.

  2. How long is the Dubai property visa valid for?
    The residence visa obtained through property purchase is typically valid for a duration of 2 to 3 years. It needs to be periodically renewed by reconfirming property ownership.

  3. Can I buy a property jointly with someone else for the Dubai visa?
    Yes, you can jointly purchase a property with your spouse or another person. Both names need to be registered as owners with the Dubai Land Department.

  4. Can I get a family residence visa by buying property in Dubai?
    Yes, by owning a property in Dubai you can sponsor residence visas for your spouse and children below 18 years. Parents can also be sponsored but need further approval.

  5. Is rental income from my Dubai property taxed?
    Yes, rental income earned from leasing your Dubai property is taxed at a flat rate of 7% on the total annual rent amount.

  6. Can I stay permanently in Dubai with a property residence visa?
    The Dubai property visa needs to be renewed every 2-3 years by reconfirming ownership. So while not permanent, it allows you to extend your stay indefinitely.

  7. Do I need a return ticket to apply for the Dubai property visa?
    No, a return ticket is not required when you are applying for your Dubai residence visa through property purchase.

  8. How long does it take to get a Dubai visa after buying property?
    It typically takes 2 to 4 weeks after property purchase to receive your Dubai residence visa if you work with a real estate agent or consultant.

  9. Can I buy property worth less than AED 1 million for the Dubai visa?
    No, to qualify for the residence visa through property you need to purchase a unit worth at least AED 1 million as mandated by Dubai government.

  10. Can I sponsor my parents for a Dubai visa through property?
    Yes, you can sponsor residence visas for your parents but their visas would need further approval from GDRFA compared to visas for spouse/children.

  11. Can I get a 10 year Dubai golden visa through property purchase?
    No, buying property only grants you a standard 2-3 year residence visa. The 10 year golden visa has other eligibility criteria based on profession, skills, investment, etc.

  12. Do I have to stay in Dubai after getting the property visa?
    You need to show minimum presence requirements in Dubai to keep your property visa active when renewing it every 2-3 years.

  13. Can I buy an off-plan property in Dubai to get the residence visa?
    Off-plan or under-construction properties also qualify you for the Dubai visa as long as you register it under your name after completion and take possession.

  14. Can I sponsor my friend for a Dubai visa if I purchase property?
    No, the property visa allows you to only sponsor direct dependents like spouse, children, parents, and domestic helpers. Friends and other relatives cannot be sponsored through this route.

  15. How much is the fee for applying for the Dubai property visa?
    The visa application fee is AED 1,100 per person. Additional costs apply for medical tests, Emirates ID, utilities, renewal fees every 2-3 years.

  16. Do I need a Dubai bank account to apply for the property visa?
    It is recommended to open a UAE bank account before or soon after receiving your Dubai property residence visa for everyday living and transactions.

  17. Can I buy a hotel apartment in Dubai to qualify for the property visa?
    Yes, provided the hotel apartment is freehold with full ownership rights. The minimum AED 1 million value criteria remains the same.

  18. Can I get the Dubai property visa if I inherit a house or land?
    Yes, inherited property registered in your name with the Dubai Land Department also makes you eligible for the Dubai residence visa.

  19. Do I have to cancel my Dubai property visa if I sell the property?
    Yes, when you sell your Dubai property, your visa also gets cancelled as ownership confirmation is required periodically to keep renewing the visa.

  20. Can I buy property in Dubai free zones for the visa?
    No, only freehold properties in non-freehold areas of Dubai make you eligible for the residence visa. Free zone properties do not grant residency rights.

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