UAE to Introduce 10-Year Visas for International Students: Everything You MUST Know About the Policy Changes

International students pursuing higher education in the UAE will be able to obtain a 5-year student visa by the end of 2018! The decision was announced on May 20 by the UAE Cabinet. In the past decade, UAE has become extremely popular among international students who wish to pursue higher education in Dubai.


5-year UAE Student Visas: Key Facts


  • Until the changes are implemented, foreign and expat students have to apply for visa renewal at the end of every semester.
  • Previously, expatriate graduates would be unable to stay in the UAE unless they had a job or went for higher studies. Now, the expatriates born and raised in the UAE would not need to stay in the country on their family’s visa or seek employment.
  • Exceptional students could stay in the UAE for 10 years after graduation. Before the changes are made, students must apply to renew their visa on a yearly basis.
  • The UAE state is going to validate 10-year visas for specialists employed in medicine, science, research, and technical fields. In addition, their families will also be eligible.
  • Foreign investors setting up a business or investing in the country could expect to get a 10-year visa.
  • Foreign companies will become the 100% owners of their business. As of today, they are required to submit a substantial stake to an Emirati partner.  

What Are the Reasons Behind Student Visa Policy Changes?


As with most Middle East countries, the UAE greatly relies on oil and gas sector. Making a shift to a knowledge-based economy might be a great way to make the country less reliant on finite fossil resources. Simplifying the way foreign companies can base themselves in the UAE is one of the ways to establish new economic strategies. Also, encouraging young Emiratis and expats to study useful technical and scientific subjects in their home country will prevent the brain drain.


10-year Employment Visa or 10-year Residency Visa


It is yet unknown, whether the new visa policy will work similar to ‘green card’ in the USA. According to the UAE Cabinet, visas for specialists employed in medicine, engineering, and science would be residency. Still, the majority of workers in the UAE are tied to their employers, so it is unclear if losing a job will eventually lead to visa cancellation.  


Bottom Line


The visa regulations currently existing in the UAE aren’t exactly hindering foreign businesses. The recent student visa announcement is proving that the country welcomes new investors as well as science and research companies. Students are to benefit the most from visa changes since they won’t need to re-apply for visas at the end of every semester.  


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