Real Estate

Retirement in Dubai: Your Ultimate Guide to the Retirement Visa

DATE: 11 Oct, 2023

Dubai’s reputation as a vibrant city with top-notch amenities extends beyond its appeal to the youthful and the adventurous. It also beckons those in search of a peaceful yet exhilarating retirement haven. Acknowledging this demand, Dubai introduced the Retirement Visa back in 2018, which provides a secure avenue for older foreign nationals to savour their golden years in this cosmopolitan metropolis. 

However, the question arises: is this visa the optimal choice for everyone aged 55 and above, or might the Golden Visa present a superior alternative, given how both require a substantial real estate investment? Let’s delve deeper into understanding and comparing these residency options.

Dubai’s Retirement Visa

The Retirement Visa is a lengthy permit that grants expatriates both current in UAE with any other form of visa or the one looking to enter the country for the first time aged 55 or older the opportunity to retire in Dubai, a five-year validity, with the possibility of renewal, but it comes with specific prerequisites.

To qualify for the Retirement Visa in Dubai, applicants must be a minimum of 55 years old and they should satisfy specific financial criteria, which include owning residential or commercial projects in Dubai valued at AED 2 million or more, they must also possess financial savings amounting to AED 1 million or more or should be able to demonstrate a monthly income of AED 20,000 or higher.

The Application Procedure for a Retirement Visa

The application process for the Retirement Visa follows an online protocol:

1. Documentation: Collect and submit the necessary documents, including a copy of your passport, proof of income or savings, UAE health insurance coverage, and any other required documents.

2. Approval: Your application undergoes assessment by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). Once all conditions are met, they grant approval.

3. Visa Issuance: Following approval, you are granted your Retirement Visa, valid for five years and renewable as long as you continue to meet the financial criteria.

Advantages of the Retirement Visa

  1. Long-Term Residency: This visa grants the stability of a renewable five-year residency.
  2. Financial Incentives: By promoting property investments or substantial savings in Dubai, this visa can prove financially lucrative.
  3. Tax Advantages: Income from pensions and investments remains exempt from taxation.
  4. High-Quality Lifestyle: Access to top-tier healthcare, cutting-edge infrastructure, and a secure environment are among the prominent lifestyle advantages.

Considerations to make before opting for the Retirement Visa

  1. High Financial Prerequisites
  2. The cost of living in Dubai, particularly in terms of healthcare, can be high, necessitating careful retirement budget planning.
  3. Dubai’s sweltering summer heat, and 365 days sun might be uncomfortable for certain individuals, especially those with specific health concerns.
  4. Though Dubai is a melting pot of cultures from across the world. Adapting to the strict local customs and traditions could pose a challenge for people accustomed to a very liberal lifestyle.
  5. The visa renewal will require you to meet the same financial criteria, which is a complicated affair.

Comparison Between the Retirement Visa and Golden Visa

Dubai’s Golden Visa offers an alternative for long-term residency, providing a 5 or 10-year renewable visa to investors, entrepreneurs, individuals with specialised skills, and outstanding students. This is how it compares to the Retirement Visa!

  1. Eligibility Criteria: While the Retirement Visa is contingent on age and financial stability, the Golden Visa has a much broader spectrum which includes investors, entrepreneurs, individuals with exceptional skills and even students.
  2. Duration: Both visas offer extended residency, with the Golden Visa potentially allowing for a lengthier 10-year option.
  3. Investment Opportunities: The Golden Visa offers greater professional flexibility compared to the Retirement Visa. It enables holders to work, initiate businesses, or sponsor visas for employees.
  4. Renewal: Renewing the Golden Visa can potentially extend your residency for a decade, whereas the Retirement Visa mandates a five-year renewal.


Getting a Retirement Visa to Dubai can serve as an entryway to a comfortable, enriching, and secure retirement for you. However, there exists its own set of challenges and impediments, which require thorough research, prudent financial planning, and a comprehensive understanding of local customs and laws for a seamless transition.

If you are aged 55 or older and contemplating a long-term visa, both the Retirement Visa and Golden Visa give you their own unique advantages. Hence, your choice between the two will hinge on your individual preferences and of course your financial situation, and long-term aspirations. 

You will open up a pathway to a vibrant and fulfilling life in one of the world’s most exhilarating cities, regardless of which visa you choose to target. Check out Shapoorji Properties, the best real estate developer in Dubai for property for sale in Dubai to decide your real estate investment destination before you get ready for a move to the city.


What are the conditions for a retirement visa in Dubai?

To obtain a long-term retirement visa in Dubai, you must be at least 55 years old, must have worked for not less than 15 years inside or outside the UAE and meet these financial prerequisites:

  1. You purchase property in Dubai worth at least AED 2 million.
  2. You have financial savings that account for at least AED 1 million.
  3. You have an active income of at least AED 20,000 per month from investments or pensions.

What are the benefits of a Dubai retirement visa?

The biggest benefit of the Dubai Retirement Visa is that it is a 5-year long renewable visa.

How much does a retirement visa cost in Dubai?

The UAE retirement visa application begins with a non-refundable fee of AED 91.83 (equivalent to USD 25) per applicant and dependent. If the GDRFA or DLD approves the application, each applicant and dependent will need to pay a total of AED 3,714.75 (approximately USD 1,011).

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