Dubai's appeal for digital nomads lies in its modern infrastructure, lightning-fast internet connection, and a plethora of coworking spaces. Add to that a vibrant startup ecosystem and a melting pot of like-minded digital nomads, and you've got the perfect city to work remotely from. While the cost of living is higher than in other digital nomad spots, Dubai offers a high standard of living, so it's understandable that a lot of remote workers want to stay for longer than the tourist visa allows.
Dubai created the Remote Working Visa Scheme for remote workers and digital nomads to work and stay in the country for 1 year. This multiple-entry visa is available to anyone that meets the requirements, regardless of nationality. However, if you spend more than 6 consecutive months outside of UAE, you risk losing the visa.
The most important criteria are proving sufficient monthly income to live in the UAE, and that your business is conducted outside of the country’s borders. These are the required documents to apply:
Valid passport with a minimum of 6 months before expiration.
Health insurance with UAE coverage.
For employees: Proof of employment from a current employer with a one-year contract validity, a minimum of USD $3,500/month salary, last month's payslip and 3 preceding months’ bank statements.
For business owners: Proof of ownership of your company for one year or more with a average monthly income of USD $3,500/month or its equivalent in foreign currencies and bank statements from the previous 3 months.
Proof of work/employment outside the United Arab Emirates and that the work is conducted remotely. If applying for permits for family members, applicants are required to submit their valid health insurance and passport along with fee payment for each member.
Complete a medical exam in Dubai. If you are applying from outside of UAE, you will get an entry permit to complete this examination.
If you are already in the UAE, you can submit an online application through the official website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFAD). You simply have to create an account, choose the “Golden Visa” service, submit your documents and pay the $81 non-refundable fee (the entire process will cost $611). If you don’t want to apply online, you can visit one of the Amer centers in Dubai. You’ll submit your documents and the visa application there, along with the processing fee.
As mentioned, you will have to complete a medical examination before your visa is approved. The application process can take as little as 7 days, but keep in mind that the overall processing time might be longer. After that, you will receive your Emirates ID, which you can use to open a bank account, find a long-term rental, and enroll your kids in a local school that has classes in English.
The entire cost of obtaining this visa is $620, which includes: visa application & processing fees, your Emirates ID, and the medical exam. You’ll have to pay the application fee again if you want to extend it for another year.
Two magical words: Tax-free. As a digital nomad in Dubai, you don’t have to pay income tax, capital gain tax, withholding tax, or local taxes. This visa also gives you the UAE Tax Residency certificate, which will help you avoid double taxation. This is a big incentive for digital nomads to work remotely from Dubai. Overall, Dubai is an attractive destination for digital nomads and remote workers, offering a unique blend of modern amenities, a high standard of living, and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs. The city also has an active expat community that can help you settle in. If you’re planning your trip to Dubai, check out our city guide written in collaboration with Natasha Amar, a travel journalist based in the city.