The UAE has proven just how serious it is about becoming the No.1 destination for families, young adults, entrepreneurs, and tourists alike. The Emirati nation recently announced changes in UAE visa policies that have been deemed progressive by many.
Under the new changes, announced this week by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), guardians of 18-year-old males can now apply for a residency visa on their behalf - valid for up two years. This is open to all sons of UAE residents' as long as they have earned a secondary school education certificate.
Previously, such visas - under humanitarian appeal - came with a security deposit amounting to 5,000 dirhams ($1,361). Either that or men had to obtain either a work or study visa after turning 18 to remain in the country.
The new residence permit will be valid for one year and can then be renewed for an additional year - giving males the chance to find a suitable work opportunity in the country.
However, such is not the case for daughters who will remain on their parents' visa until they get married.
The visa renewal attempts to encourage male dependents to seek employment opportunities in the country, which will allow the UAE to retain young talent in the job market.
Parents can apply either on the date of completion of secondary or higher education of dependents or once their sons turn 18.
Summer Season: Goodbye visa fees for those under 18 years of age
Tourists traveling to the UAE during the summer season (July 15 and Sept. 15) won't need to pay visa fees for dependents aged 18 years or below.
The move is expected to drive tourism up during the summer season; children must be accompanied by their guardians to be able to enter the country.
Under the laws, a 14-day express tourist visa costs 497 dirhams ($135) per head while a 30-day multi-entry tourist visa costs 917 dirhams ($249) if purchased online.
The UAE wants to become home for talent
In April, the UAE government announced it will grant long-term visas to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) selection of "100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
These visas will be valid for five years, and "will be granted to owners or founders of companies, all of their partners and up to three executives." The visas provided require no sponsor as they will be "in the names of the individuals they are provided to," according to The National.
Earlier this year, other long-term UAE residency visas (valid for up to 10 years) were also announced. Five new visa categories were brought to the table, open to investors, real estate investors, outstanding students, and scientists/doctors/researchers.