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Do I get residency in Dubai if I buy a house?

Buying property in Dubai can be a worthwhile investment, but it does not automatically grant residency rights. Here is an overview of Dubai property ownership laws and options for foreign nationals to gain residency.

Do I get residency in Dubai if I buy a house?

Property Ownership Laws in Dubai

Dubai allows foreigners to purchase and own real estate under specific conditions:

  • Foreigners can own property in designated areas approved by the Land Department
  • Foreign ownership is usually limited to freehold properties with purchase registered under the investor’s name
  • Property purchases usually do not automatically grant UAE residency – separate applications are required

Key Considerations as a Foreign Buyer

When purchasing property as a foreign national in Dubai, be aware of the following:

  • Legal fees of 2-4% of the property value
  • Additional utility connection and maintenance fees
  • Potential restrictions on renting out or quick resales of newly purchased property

Foreign buyers must also use a UAE-based registrar for official documentation and approvals related to the real estate transaction.

Options for Gaining Residency Through Property Purchase

While buying property itself does not grant residency rights in Dubai, investors have a few options to apply for residency after or in conjunction with a real estate purchase:

Golden Visa Residence Program

In 2019, the UAE introduced this 10-year residency program for certain foreigners making substantial investments, contributions, or achievements recognized in the UAE.

The eligibility criteria include:

  • Purchasing property valued at AED 5 million or more: This allows the main applicant and family members residency benefits.
  • Owning property valued at AED 10 million or more: This grants a 10-year visa to the property owner and their direct family members.

In most cases with the Golden Visa connected to property purchase, renewal is required after 5-10 years pending review.

Retirement Residence Visa

Foreign senior citizens over 55 years old who fulfill these criteria can apply for this 5-year, renewable UAE residence visa:

  • Owning a property in Dubai worth at least AED 2 million
  • Having savings/income over AED 1 million per individual applicant
  • Providing proof of health/medical insurance coverage in the UAE

Dependent family members may also be sponsored for residency under the main applicant.

Investor Residence Visa

Foreign investors establishing or partnering with an UAE-based business may be eligible for a 3-year investor visa, which is renewable.

Criteria include:

  • Purchasing a property for business purposes valued at over AED 2 million
  • Investing in an existing or new commercial entity in the UAE
  • Showing proof of financial solvency

Close family members can also gain residency status sponsored by the main visa holder.

Key Takeaways

  • Purchasing property in Dubai does not directly grant residency rights for foreign buyers
  • Options exist to apply for long-term visas of 5-10 years for buyers meeting specific property value, age, or investment thresholds
  • Criteria vary but generally aim for buyers contributing substantially to Dubai’s economy and real estate market
  • Separate residency applications and documented eligibility are required in all cases


In summary, home ownership in Dubai does open avenues for foreigners to establish residency rights under certain programs. However, applications based on meeting visa criteria are still essential, as property purchases alone do not confer any permanent immigration status. Consulting with a real estate agent or legal professional can help buyers navigate applicable Dubai residency regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I get permanent residency by buying a house in Dubai?No, purchasing property does not directly grant any permanent residency rights to foreigners in Dubai. It may help qualify for long-term renewable visas of 5-10 years.

  2. What is the cheapest property I can buy for residency in Dubai?
    The lowest property value is AED 2 million (around $550,000) to potentially qualify for Dubai’s retirement or investor residence visas.

  3. Can my family also get Dubai residency if I buy property?
    Yes, most property-linked residency programs allow close family members to also gain residency status sponsored by the main applicant.

  4. Can I buy an apartment in Dubai as a foreigner?
    Yes, foreigners can purchase apartments and other property types like villas in designated freehold areas approved for foreign buyers.

  5. Do I have to live in Dubai to keep my residency?
    It varies – some long-term visas require proof of ongoing residency, while others allow for longer overseas stays pending regular renewals.

  6. Can I buy a home jointly with a UAE citizen?
    Yes, the property can be jointly owned with a UAE national who would manage official approvals and ownership registration.

  7. What areas can foreigners buy homes in Dubai?
    Popular freehold zones for foreign buyers include Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Arabian Ranches, Dubai Hills Estate.

  8. How much tax do I pay for owning a house in Dubai?
    None – Dubai does not impose income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax. Some municipal fees apply for utilities, services.

  9. Can I get a mortgage as a foreigner in Dubai?
    Yes, many Dubai banks offer mortgages to foreign property buyers, usually covering up to 80% of a home’s value with a repayment term of 25 years.

  10. Is it worth buying property in Dubai right now?
    Property experts are optimistic on long-term growth prospects. The market is currently stabilizing after a steep drop amid the pandemic.

  11. Can I rent out my property in Dubai without residency?
    Foreigners without residency can own investment properties to lease out via a property management company and agent based in the UAE.

  12. How much deposit do I need to buy off plan in Dubai?
    Developers typically require 10-20% as booking deposit, 20-30% due over construction, final 30% on completion before getting keys.

  13. Which is better for residency – buying or renting property?
    Owning property vastly expands UAE residency options over renting. But separate applications meeting all visa criteria are still required.

  14. Can I get a UAE visa by buying hotel apartments in Dubai?
    Maybe – some hotels offer freehold title deeds allowing buyers to apply for applicable property-linked residency programs.

  15. What are service charges for properties in Dubai?
    Service fees cover building maintenance, common area utilities, amenities. Charges range 5-20 AED per sq. ft. depending on location.

  16. Is it cheaper to buy or rent a house in Dubai?
    Renting is typically cheaper overall than buying in Dubai currently. But buying can make sense long-term for stable housing and potential capital gains.

  17. How much is stamp duty when buying a house in Dubai?
    Dubai has no stamp duty tax. Purchase costs include 4% Dubai Land Department transfer fee, notary and legal fees. VAT applies on sales with some new buildings exempt.

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