The vast majority of properties in Dubai that can be purchased by overseas buyers and ex-pats (non GCC Nationals) are 100% freehold, you will own the land that your house is on and a proportion of the land that your apartment building is built on. There are still some areas/communities and individual buildings in Dubai that are leasehold which in my experience is always less than 90 years so ask the question every time and check with your agent.

The Dubai Land Department has issued the criteria for property investors to acquire 5-year residency visas in Dubai. For one, the construction of the property must be complete – in other words, investors who bought offplan need to wait for completion to apply for the long-term visa.

It was last Thursday that Dubai Land Department issued the first batch of 20 5-year residency visas – or the “golden” visas – to property investors (from 12 nationalities).

Another important criterion is that the “property should be fully paid for by the applicant and must not be subject to any registered mortgage,” according to a senior counsel at Al Tamimi & Company, the law firm.

Plus, of course, the cost of the acquired property should be Dh5 million and more – and it must be registered in the name of the applicant.

“The applicant should be present in Dubai to submit the application to the Land Department’s Cube office in person,” the Al Tamimi & Company spokesperson added. “We met with the officers at the Cube service centre this morning and they have confirmed that the 5-year property investment visa has been rolled out to the general public.” (The Cube is a one-stop window operated by the Land Department for a range of real estate related services.)

What investors need to bring along

They need to have the original title deed of the property and the original passport of the applicant. The visa application fee is set at Dh2,600, which includes the costs of the medical test, issuance of Emirates ID and issuance of the 5-year visa. The applicant will also need to obtain health insurance which costs Dh1,208 (for those below 65 years) and Dh5,775 (for those above 65 years).

first published in the Gulf News on 15 July 2019

You have the option for a residence permit or a residence visa?

The residence permit and visa for property owners grants temporary residency to qualified investors and their dependents on the basis of property ownership. The principal difference between the two is that the residence permit for property owners is renewable every two years for properties purchased in Dubai, while the multi-entry residence visa for property owners is renewable every six months and valid for properties in any emirate.

Mandatory minimum investment threshold

To be eligible for either the residence permit or visa, properties must be valued at more than Dh1 million. Mortgages are allowable for the residence permit, but if the property is mortgaged a minimum 50 per cent of its original price must be paid off, or Dh1 million must be paid off if the property’s value is more than Dh2 million.

Investment criteria

The investment property must be in a freehold area and entirely owned by the investor, with the title deed issued in the name of the applicant. Lease-to-own deeds are not accepted. Additionally, the property must be ready for the investor to move in and its size must be proportionate to the number of family members occupying it (if applicable). If the property is owned by more than one investor, the shared value must be more than Dh1 million, or a legalised marriage certificate has to be provided if the investors are married. Verification of the investment requirement is undertaken at the Dubai Land Department for the residence permit and the relevant immigration authority for the residence visa. Furthermore, there is a minimum monthly income requirement of Dh10,000 or equivalent in a foreign currency. The investor’s income source may derive from inside or outside of the UAE.

You don’t have to be a full-time resident in the UAE to own a company here. In fact, living abroad is no barrier to success in the Emirates. Most UAE business owners choose to reside in the UAE to make the most of the amazing climate, attractive business incentives, and thriving communities. But if full-time residency doesn’t fit your lifestyle, you can still reap the rewards of owning a business from afar.

First, you need to address important issues such as time spent in the UAE, tax implications and power of attorney. Working with a company formation specialist can help answer these three vital questions.


When you know how long you want to stay, you can apply for the relevant visa. The exact amount of time a UAE business owner needs to spend in the Emirates may differ depending on what country they reside in. Technically speaking, those who do not reside full-time in the UAE do not need to spend any time here. However, it is likely you will want to visit occasionally (or maybe even regularly) to check on your business and meet management and other stakeholders.

What this means for you and your business: In most cases, you will require a visa or entry permit which stipulates the number of days you can spend in the UAE. It is important, therefore, to understand the different visa requirements for non-residents.

Citizens of GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) do not require a visa to enter the UAE and only need to show their passport/ID at their port of entry.

Citizens from the US, China, Australia, the UK and 16 other designated countries can get a 30-day visa on arrival. Those from 40 other listed countries can get a 90-day visa, as detailed on the official UAE government website.

These free, renewable visas will be particularly useful for those business owners who need to visit the UAE frequently.

Anyone outside the GCC and who is also not eligible to apply for a visa will be required to obtain an entry permit prior to arrival. This requires a sponsor which will usually be an Emirati citizen, an expat with a valid permit, a private company, or a free zone.

If you obtain your permit through your company or free zone, this will allow you to stay for a maximum period of 30 days from the date of entry. Once inside the country, you will then be eligible to apply for a residence visa which may allow you stay up to three years subject to certain conditions. While this does sound somewhat complicated, working through it with a specialist saves both time and money.


Not necessarily. It depends on your country of residence. Again, depending on where you reside, you may or may not need to pay taxes on your UAE income. If you have a residence visa and spend more than six months continuously in the UAE, you are considered a tax resident here. As the UAE income tax is set at 0% you don’t have to pay anything on your income.

What you need to consider regarding taxes: Certain countries may take other factors into account such as whether you are accompanied by your family, where your main work or business is based, where your bank accounts are held, and where your property and other assets are located. The good news is the UAE has drawn up a series of double tax agreements (DTA) with around 100 different countries with ‘tiebreaker provisions’ to determine which country can tax your worldwide income. This helps you avoid paying tax twice unnecessarily.

However, there are notable exceptions, including the US and Australia, so it is important you obtain expert advice to ensure you don’t fall foul of the tax rules in your country of residence. As always, the onus is on the individual to understand and meet their obligations. Failure to do so can result in financial penalties and possibly even a criminal conviction.


Yes ,and it could be highly beneficial to do so. If you live outside of the UAE but own a company here, you may wish to appoint a power of attorney to handle business matters on your behalf. A power of attorney (POA) is a document that allows you to appoint a person or organization to manage your affairs.

How power of attorney affects the control of your company: Appointing a POA is an attractive proposition for non-resident business owners and can help ensure the smooth running of the business. A general power of attorney gives broad powers including the handling of financial and business transactions, buying life insurance, settling claims, operating business interests, giving gifts, and employing professional help.

If you want to specify exactly what powers an agent may exercise, you can sign a special power of attorney. Typical examples include collecting debts, handling specific business transactions, or selling the property. Trust is everything when choosing an agent for your power of attorney. You need someone who will protect your business and respect your wishes. If you have a sponsor in the UAE (for example, to obtain an entry permit), your sponsor may be your power of attorney.

written by Aashish Rajesh, Director of Corporate Communications, Worldwide Formations

As a Dubai resident, you may have come across the term “Ejari” in the context of tenancy agreements. Here’s everything you need to know about the system.


Simply put, it means “my rent” in Arabic. It is the government’s registration system for residential and commercial leases aged less than 10 years.


Under Dubai’s Landlord and Tenant Laws, all properties must be registered at Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera).

Since March 1, 2017 a pre-requisite for registration has been that a standard form ejaricontract is entered into between the parties to a lease. While this standard form is compulsory, it is possible for the parties to agree to supplement its terms and conditions.

The registration requirement and the subsequent standard form is considered as positive steps in Dubai’s transition towards a fully developed business hub and provides tenants with further protection and security in their properties, as well as allowing the authorities to record lease transactions.

In simple words, Ejari can help tenants and landlords get legal security and protection during the contract period while also allowing the government to keep tabs on the number of rental agreements being entered into in the emirate.

Why should you register?

It is mandatory for every lease in Dubai to be registered, whether commercial or residential.


The registration safeguards the rights of all parties to a tenancy contract.

Once the tenancy contract is registered, its validity is accepted by all government agencies, providing protection to landlords and management companies, as well as their tenants, regarding the enforcement of terms of each tenancy contract.

The standard ejari contract also ensures that key commercial terms, such as rental amount, payment terms and duration, are clear. The ejari contract also serves as an official record of the agreed rent, making it difficult for landlords to circumvent Dubai’s rental cap regulations by indiscriminately increasing the rent on renewal.

Judicial bodies such as the Dubai Court’s Rent Disputes Settlement Centre (known as the Rent Committee) is not able to hear any action or claim based on a lease unless that lease has been registered at Rera.


The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) requires tenancy contracts to be registered on Ejari, in order to connect electricity and water services. You will only be able to activate electricity and water services as soon as you have the unique Ejari number, which is obtained once the tenancy contract is logged into the Ejari system.


Ejari is usually required to complete the incorporation of companies or establish a branch in the mainland of Dubai, and for the future when renewing any trade licences of such entities.


You will require Ejari registration for the purposes of obtaining a UAE sponsorship in Dubai, in terms of both new applications and renewals.

How to register and cost

The responsibility to register with Ejari is both with the tenant and the landlord, but in most cases, it is the real estate agent or the tenant who completes the process and meets the Ejari fees.

You can register either through one of the approved typing centres or online through the Ejari portal. Large-scale landlords and letting agents will often have access to the online portal.

The Ejari registration fee is currently Dh220 (inclusive of VAT) if you apply through the approved centres.

If registration is carried out online through the Ejari portal, you will need to upload all copies of the necessary documents. The Ejari registration fee is currently Dh170 inclusive of VAT, for online registration.


• Previous Ejari (for renewal)

• Tenant’s passport, UAE visa and Emirates ID

• Tenancy contract plus any supplementary contract

• Title deeds of the rented property

• Property details undertaking form

• Dewa bill (if renewal)/final bill (if new registration)

• Landlord’s passport

• For commercial entities, trade license is required

Once the Ejari registration is complete, you will receive the official Ejari contract, which comprises the main terms and conditions, an attestation acknowledging that your contract is registered with Ejari and a breakdown of your payment.

The process of Ejari registration is becoming increasingly quick and easy for landlords and tenants alike

With the Middle East, particularly Dubai, becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for those who wish to explore this unique part of the world or make the most of their stopover on their way to Europe, property owners (‘Owners’) are presented with an opportunity to capitalise on the holiday home accommodation industry. In recent times, within Dubai in particular, we have seen an increase of Owners entering the holiday home market, which not only creates competition for the hotel industry, but also provides tourists with a wider selection of accommodation for the duration of their stay. The demand for holiday home accommodation within Dubai will inevitably increase with upcoming events such as Expo 2020.

In previous Law Update editions, we have provided readers with an understanding of the legal framework regarding the holiday home system in Dubai. While we will give readers an high level refresher on the legal framework, this article focuses more on the considerations to be given by the holiday home operator (i.e. the Owner or an appointed licenced operator (‘Operator’)). As always, Owners and Operators should always seek legal advice regarding the laws and requirements that regulate this industry.

 The Law – Generally

As platforms such as AirBnB become more prevalent around the world there has been a call for regulations to be put in place in a number of jurisdictions to govern Owners offering their properties for lease on a short-term basis.

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (‘DTCM’), in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development, oversee the licensing and regulation of the holiday home market in Dubai.

Prior to 2016, the operation of a property as a holiday home was restricted to Operators appointed by Owners, however this requirement was relaxed in mid-2016 with Owners (and tenants) now able to apply for a holiday homes licence.

The law defines a holiday home as a furnished real property unit leased out by a licence holder regularly and on an ongoing basis for the purposes of further sub-letting to end-user guests, with such guests being natural persons who intend using the property for overnight accommodation on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

A holiday home can be an apartment, town house or independent villa, and falls within either of the two classifications prescribed by DTCM being, ‘Holiday Homes – Deluxe’ or ‘Holiday Homes – Standard’. As the name of each classification suggests, the classification will depend on the nature of each property and the associated amenities and services available to guests. The classification of a property under the ‘Holiday Homes – Deluxe’ classification, will result in a slightly higher Tourist Dirham fee applying to each booking, with the licence holder responsible for remitting the Tourist Dirham to the relevant regulatory body.

The Owner (or the appointed Operator) will be responsible for self-classification of the property at the time of submitting the application to DTCM for registration of the property as a holiday home. Once the property has been registered with DTCM, the Owner (or its appointed Operator) must ensure that it complies with the requirements of DTCM, including but not limited to, guest registration and payment of the Tourist Dirham.


As outlined above, individual Owners are no longer required to appoint an Operator to manage the property, and may apply for a licence to do so in his/her own name.

While the ability for an Owner to hold a licence and manage the operation of their property as a holiday home themselves should allow the Owner to realise a greater return on their investment (i.e. no need to pay a management fee to the Operator), it does create a greater administrative and regulatory compliance burden on the Owner. The Owner, amongst other things, would be required to:

  • manage the check-in and check-out process with guests;

  • collect the Tourist Dirham and remit to the relevant authority;

  • comply with the reporting obligations imposed by DTCM;

  • be on call to address any queries or concerns of guests;

  • arrange the cleaning and periodic housekeeping of the property; and

  • arrange ongoing maintenance and repair of the property.

If an Owner was considering appointing an Operator to manage the property on his/her behalf, what follows below are some key considerations that should be taken into account by the Owner when appointing an Operator to manage his/her property as a holiday home. The below list is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the considerations that should be taken into account and both Owners and Operators should always seek legal advice prior to entering into a management agreement.

The Operator

An Owner should undertake due diligence on any proposed Operator that it intends to appoint.

It should be confident that the Operator is an established and licensed operator in Dubai (or elsewhere in the world) who has the necessary ability and experience to operate the property as a holiday home to an high standard.

 Agreement with Operator

Commercial provisions will vary, however the agreement with an Operator can be in the form of a:

  1. lease of the subject property from the Owner to the Operator; or

  2. management agreement between the Owner and the Operator.

Each arrangement has its pros and cons and it is strongly recommended that advice be sought from the outset as to the most appropriate structure to be adopted in each individual case.

Standard and Classification of Property

The required classification of the property should be agreed from the outset. If the property needs to be brought up to a specific standard (i.e. standard or deluxe), consideration needs to be given to who bears the responsibility for the refurbishment and payment of associated costs.

Depending on the commercial arrangement with the Operator, the Operator may prefer to refurbish and refurnish the property itself (at the Owner’s cost) to bring it to the agreed standard which is consistent across the Operator’s portfolio of properties managed.

Fee Payable to Operator

While there are a variety of fee arrangements that may apply to the management arrangement, typical fee arrangements are either a:

  1. fixed return paid to the Owner; or

  2. percentage of revenue paid to Operator with the balance paid to the Owner.

The first option would see the Operator pay a guaranteed return to the Owner, with the Operator entitled to retain revenue achieved over and above the guaranteed return. This would result in the Operator taking the financial risk of the operation of the property as a holiday home, as the Owner would be guaranteed the return regardless of the performance of the property.

On the other hand, the second option would see the Operator being paid a fixed percentage of the revenue achieved during the relevant period, which would vary depending on the performance of the property.

The fee structure may also vary depending on the nature of the agreement with the Operator and the fee structure must be carefully reviewed given that this will ultimately affect the returns realised by the Owner and the Operator respectively.

Maintenance and Repair

Consideration must be given to who bears responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the property for the duration of the agreement, including the payment of associated costs.

If the Owner remains responsible for maintenance and repair costs, the agreement could provide the Operator with a right to undertake the works on behalf of the Owner, without the need to obtain the Owner’s prior consent. If this right were being entertained, an Owner may wish to impose a cap on the costs that can be incurred by the Operator without the Owner’s consent.

Consideration also needs to be given where the property is an apartment where maintenance and repairs are undertaken and controlled by the building’s appointed FM provider as part of the services for which the Owner contributes by way of service charge payment. In this respect, arrangements would need to be put in place allowing the Operator to liaise with the FM provider on behalf of the Owner as appropriate.

Services to be provided to Guests

Given the competitiveness of the market, the extent of services available to guests may be a determining factor as to the performance of the property, and guests’ requirements are likely to vary depending on the category of the property.

An Owner should discuss with the Operator the nature and extent of the services available to its guests, who will bear the cost of such services and how additional revenue generated from the provision of such services is distributed.

Right to Use Property for Personal Use

If the Owner would like to have the right to occupy the property for a certain period during the term of the arrangement with the Operator, such right to occupy must be included in the agreement. In considering such right for the Owner, an Operator is very likely to restrict the Owner’s access during peak seasons throughout the year, in order to maximise revenue generation.

End-Users – Guests

Key considerations of an end-user should also be taken into account, as follows:

Fees and Services

A guest must have clarity on the fee payable for the duration of their stay and the services included in the fee being charged for rental of the property. The fee must include the Tourist Dirham, which is required to be collected by the Operator (or the Owner) before the guest’s stay.

Key services that may be attractive to a guest are:

  1. periodic housekeeping and cleaning;

  2. internet connectivity and TV access;

  3. airport transfers;

  4. access to a driver or a cook for the duration of their stay; and/or

  5. concierge services.

If such services are made available, it should be made clear at the time of booking as to whether the additional services are included in the holiday home fee or if such services will incur an additional cost on an a la carte basis.

Terms and Conditions of Occupation

A number of Operators have their own standard terms and conditions that guests agree to at the time of making their booking online, however some Operators may also require a guest to sign an end-user agreement.

Regardless of the nature of the agreement between the Operator (or the Owner) and a guest, the guest should have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions that apply for the duration of their stay at the property. As part of the terms and conditions, a guest will be required to comply with rules and regulations in place for a property located within a development, as well as the rules and regulations imposed by DTCM that apply to all holiday homes. Such rules and regulations must be displayed in the property.

 Privacy of Information

The collection of guests’ private information is inherent in the nature of the service to be provided by Owners and Operators (as applicable). Both Owners and Operators must comply with the local data privacy requirements in respect of the collection, storage and use of guests’ private information. An additional layer of regulatory compliance may apply if persons in the European Union are targeted and/or their behaviour monitored for sales or marketing purposes as such activities are likely to trigger the extra-territorial scope of the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679.

Owners and Operators should always ensure that policies and procedures that comply with the local and international data protection laws (as applicable) are put in place and it is strongly recommended that legal advice is sought in this regard to mitigate any risks of non-compliance. It is worthwhile noting that a guest will be required to provide a copy of their passport at the time of check-in in accordance with the requirements of the DTCM.


The holiday home market for both short-term and long-term stays is certainly on the rise in Dubai as more and more Operators continue to enter the market. An Owner or Operator should have a clear understanding of the regulatory requirements that must be complied with and should ensure that the commercial arrangement put in place aligns with standard market practices and best protects their and the guests’ interests.

Al Tamimi & Company’s Real Estate and Hotel & Leisure team provides a comprehensive range of legal services across the Middle East including Dubai, covering all areas relevant to the hotel and property industries and regularly advises both owners and operators looking to enter the holiday home market.

There is no capital gains, no tax on rental income and no restrictions on repatriating your rent or sale proceeds. All purchases are subject to 4% of the cost which needs to be paid to the Dubai Land Department for Title Deed on a completed property or Pre-Title registration (Oqood) on an off-plan property. There is a Municipality fee which is calculated as 5% of the annual rent , generally paid by the tenant in 12 monthly instalments as part of their utility bill.


“Salik”, means open or clear in Arabic. It is Dubai’s electronic toll system offered by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). Salik’s aim is to achieve a free flow traffic operation with no toll booths, no toll collectors, and no impact to traffic flow.


Each time your vehicle passes through a Salik tolling point, a toll of Dh4 will be deducted from your prepaid toll account using advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. See how it works.


No. For the first six years since the introduction of Salik, a vehicle was charged for a maximum of six trips (Dhs24) per day and any trips beyond six were free for that particular day, however the RTA removed the cap in 2013.


There are seven tolling gates:

■ Al Barsha

■ Al Garhoud

■ Al Maktoum

■ Al Mamzar

■ Al Safa

■ Airport Tunnel

■ Energy Metro Station, Jebel Ali


Salik tag is a sticker tag that operates with no battery or moving parts, and it should last the life of your windshield. It works in all weather conditions and speeds, and provides accurate identification of your vehicle to the system. You could buy a tag online or at petrol stations in Dubai using your Salik account.


Salik account is a single user account registered by the RTA for all the Salik tags on vehicles owned and registered in your name. So, if you want multiple cars registered in Dubai, you can only have one Salik account. If you have another car registered in a different emirate, you could then be assigned a separate Salik account since it is a separate traffic file.


1. Fill out the application form at any of RTA Salik outlets (Petrol Stations and selected branches of Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirate Bank). Or apply online.

2. Hand over the form, the required documents and fees. After verifying the information, you receive your Salik kit which contains the tag.

3. Salik tag must be affixed to your windshield to operate properly and cannot be removed from your vehicle windshield without damaging the tag.

4. When your information is registered in the system, you receive an SMS with your account number and PIN which you can use to access your account.

5. If you already have a Salik account, you can use salik.ae to get your tag online.


• A copy of the car registration card

• A copy of the trade license (for companies)

• Identification documents


If you’re buying it from a store, it will cost you Dh100 for issuing the tag (including Dh50 prepaid credit added to the tag).

If you’re buying the tag online, the total amount payable is Dh120. This amount includes the cost of the tag at Dh50, prepaid toll balance at Dh50 and Dh20 for the cost of delivery. Check in advance if your area is covered by the delivery team of Salik.


The tag can be topped up through the same outlets after quoting the account number, or by logging into the Salik website. Regular SMS messages are sent to subscribers when their card needs to be topped up.


1. Crossing the toll gate without having the tag fixed

If you drive through a Salik toll gate without a tag on your vehicle, buy a tag within 10 working days to open a Salik account if you don’t have one or add a new tag to your existing Salik account. If you don’t do this, you will get fines. After the 10-day grace period, expect to be fined Dh100 for the first day you drive through Salik toll gates, Dh200 for the second day and Dh400 for each subsequent day after the second day.

2. Lack of sufficient credit on the card

If your Salik balance is insufficient to cover toll charges, you will have five working days to recharge your account and get the pending payments deducted. However, if you don’t recharge within said five days, you will get a Dh50 fine for each day you pass through any Salik gates.


You can add multiple cars on your existing Salik account. However, you cannot have multiple Salik accounts for each of your own vehicles as you will only be assigned a single traffic file number by the RTA. You can check account balance online using the Salik website or app, or by phone on their toll free self-service.


Yes. When you fill up the application, just indicate that you have an existing account and let the RTA know the number and it will add the tag to your account.


A person can hold multiple salik accounts under his/her name and funds could be transferred from one account to another in case of a single owner. Salik credit could be topped up through phone banking services, through Salik recharge cards and through Salik app as well as SMS.


You cannot get your Salik account balance refunded or transferred. The balance will be kept in the card/account for five years in case of non-use, after which it will be forfeited by the RTA. In this case RTA will send monthly SMS reminders, along with a final SMS two weeks before forfeiture after five years of inactivity.

Source: The official portal of Dubai Government

The Government of Dubai’s vision to increase expatriate talent and investment in the UAE is leading to a modification of various rules and legislation in order to be able to cater to the requirements that this brings. Article 1 (2) of the Personal Status law and the UAE Civil Code allow non-Muslim expats of all nationalities to invoke the law of their home country for inheritance matters. To provide more security to expat residents and investors with assets spread across more than one country, Dubai’s new laws streamline the process and allow expats to choose the best option in terms of the inheritance rules applied to their assets and estates. Responding to public demand, there have been amendments to rules of registration that expand the scope of wills to cover assets across the UAE and abroad.

The requirement of registration of wills is because the right of survivorship, in which assets are inherited by a joint owner following the death of an owner, is not recognized in the UAE as per Sharia law. Muslims automatically follow this system of asset distribution. Non-Muslims, however, are now able to register a will for them to be able to choose their heirs and decide the distribution of assets and estates, both in the UAE and abroad.

The consequences of not having a will are that the guardianship of minor children may be decided by UAE Courts as per the law. In addition to this, a family’s estate could be assigned to individuals chosen by Courts pursuant to applicable laws. As for financial assets, bank accounts in the UAE, including joint accounts are frozen upon the death of an individual. In addition to this, all dependant visas are cancelled upon the death of the individual, allowing dependants a further maximum stay of one month before being required to leave the country. In this situation, a will would serve as the most efficient medium to obtain assets in a short period of time.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts previously accepted only wills that contained assets registered in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai. The new nation-wide attestation for wills by DIFC removes the requirement of multiple wills each for different jurisdictions.

The five types of wills that can be registered for expats are guardianship wills, property wills, free zone company wills, financial asset wills and full wills that covering estates that have more wealth than can be covered by a single type of will.

The three authorities at which wills can be registered in the UAE are –

– Notary Public

– DIFC Wills Services Centre

– Abu Dhabi Judicial Department

Generally, registering a will at the Notary is advised as DIFC wills can be expensive. However, Notary wills incorporate only UAE assets, whereas DIFC wills also incorporate non-UAE assets, making it an ideal choice for expatriates with assets across different jurisdictions.

Registering a will is a relatively simple process. This includes the drafting of the will by a DIFC-approved wills draftsman, making an appointment with the registry to examine the will and if approved, the will being witnessed before a registry officer. Once the will is executed, the testator/beneficiaries must go to Court for the division of assets as per the will.

There are different ways in which wills can be drafted in the UAE. In addition to DIFC-approved wills draftsmen, law firms also provide professional will drafting services, legal opinions and risk assessments that support in the process of drafting and registering wills in the UAE.

The Corporate & Commercial Division at The Legal Group Advocates and Legal Consultants retains the expertise in supporting the process of registration of wills. Our professional services in this regard include collection and review of documents, assessment of the relevant and applicable UAE Laws, drafting and rendering of a Risk and Assessment opinion for wills.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

The concept of buying real estate off-plan is well known in the UAE. The main advantage of purchasing off-plan or under-construction property is a lower purchase price. As the construction of the project progresses, more often than not, the cost of the property increases. Typically, a buyer pays the purchase price for an off-plan property in instalments, whereas for the purchase of a completed property the full purchase price is usually paid as a lump sum.

Off-plan purchases are, however, not without risk. One of the concerns off-plan buyers have is that the developer will use their money correctly to carry out the construction work and complete their property. In the past, this has been an issue in the UAE, where some developers have sold property off-plan and received partial or full payment for the sale, but never commenced or completed construction of the project. To guard against this, the real estate market regulators have had to bring in regulations to protect the monies paid by off-plan investors.


Another concern has been delay by developers in completing projects. Some developers include in their sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) estimated milestones for completion of particular construction phases of their projects. These developers then link the dates for payment of instalments of the purchase price in their SPAs to these estimated milestones. Those estimates are not, however, always realistic; delays may occur due to failures by developers or for reasons beyond their control.

To mitigate these risks, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have introduced legal requirements for opening project escrow accounts. An escrow account is a designated bank account for a real estate development project in which all money paid by off-plan buyers and financiers is ring-fenced and then only used by the developer to construct and complete the specific project. A bank licensed by the relevant authorities to act as an escrow account trustee manages the escrow account.

It is also a legal requirement in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi that developers link instalments to actual completion of construction milestones.

Dubai developers have been required to open separate escrow accounts for each off-plan project since 2007. Abu Dhabi introduced similar requirements in 2016. It is crucial for an off-plan purchaser to get details of the project escrow account from the developer. The purchaser should deposit all payments towards the property directly into that escrow account.

It is also a legal requirement in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi that developers link instalments to actual completion of construction milestones. The bank acting as trustee for the project has the responsibility to oversee the escrow account. Each time the developer submits certificates of progress and request for withdrawals from the escrow account, the account trustee must tally all the money received from the purchasers and financiers with the payments to the developer, contractor and consultants.


In Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) oversees the opening and management of escrow accounts. For each real estate development project in Abu Dhabi, ADM signs an escrow account agreement with the developer and account trustee. Similar arrangements apply in Dubai where the Real Estate Regulatory Agency oversees escrow accounts. The escrow account agreements set out the conditions for the disbursement by the account trustee of all payments to the developer, contractor and consultants.

Banks acting as account trustees have a legal obligation to provide periodic statements of the revenues and payments for every escrow account they supervise. Banks must submit annual reports issued by an accredited auditor on the escrow accounts they manage and confirm that payments from the escrow accounts are compliant with the law, all regulations and the escrow account agreements.

The introduction of the escrow account requirement in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has brought greater protection for buyers of off-plan property.

Written by David Bowman who is a senior associate and Maha Dahoui who is an associate at Al Tamimi & Company. The views expressed here are their own.

The service fees are the main consideration and these are generally based on the size of the apartment or in the case of a house then they are based upon the plot size in most cases. Utilities such as water, electricity and gas are the responsibility of the tenant and the letting agent get their fees from the tenant. In some properties the owner pays for District Cooling which is either included in the service fees or as a separate account which may then be passed on to the tenant.  Most properties in Dubai are let unfurnished and many don’t include the kitchen appliances with tenants often having their own or negotiating on the rent with landlords who then supply these items however, the maintenance costs of kitchen appliances when included are the responsibility of the landlord. If you decide to engage the services of a property management company then of course that’s more expense but then I have my own thoughts on whether this is required in Dubai and I would be happy to explain further if needed.

Dubai Land Department unveiled an electronic system to regulate the payment of service fees between property owners and developers to ensure transparency and fairness in the sector.

The DLD, through its regulatory arm Real Estate Regulatory Authority, established “Mollak” (the Arabic word for owners), a system to monitors the payment of service charges in co-owned property projects – where owners are part of a wider development such as an apartment block or villa community – it said yesterday. Owners will now pay community service fees directly to the Mollak system, rather than to the developer. The system operates within the databases of the real estate unit owners and of property units registered and approved by DLD.

“Through the system, Rera seeks to increase the role of governance, regulation and supervision as well as the participation of private sector specialists to increase real estate transparency and maintain the balance between real estate developers, management companies and homeowners,” said Marwan bin Ghalita, chief executive of Rera.

The regulator started a pilot phase with management companies, auditors and financial institutions for the programme before officially rolling it out in the second quarter of the year, according to Mr Ghalita.

Through the Mollak system, 468 bank accounts were opened for project service charges while 88 management companies and 1,212 real estate projects were registered and approved by Rera. This is in addition to 200,000 real estate units listed, comprising residential apartments, villas, offices and commercial shops.

Rera agreed with seven banks to act as account trustees for co-owned properties and registered eight financial auditors to audit the application fees submitted for accreditation.

Rera additionally issues electronic approvals for service charges to real estate unit owners who also receive unified bills for service charges across the system. It compels management companies to explicitly submit bills through the system to provide protection for service-fee claims made by real estate owners.

The system works within the database of DLD, Rera, financial institutions and certified auditors registered with Rera, as well as co-owned property management companies registered with the authority.

It enforces comprehensive regulatory governance on a co-owned property management company licensed and registered with Rera, requiring it to upload financial statements and copies of maintenance, service and other supplier contracts for common real estate services, Rera said.

The financial auditor then verifies these statements and contracts according to the criteria adopted by the authority, which then reviews the completion of the transaction audit. Real estate unit owners are notified electronically of a unit’s service fees with the publication of fee approval data in the service and maintenance fees index on DLD’s website.

The management company then requests owners to pay the services fees through the Mollak system, and sends the service-fee invoices in accordance with the amounts approved by Rera.

Yes, as a Non Resident you can open a Savings Bank Account in Dubai.

If you are buying off-plan, there is no need to open a Bank account immediately in Dubai; you will only need one to receive the rent once the property completes and is ready to lease out. If buying via a mortgage, the bank will set up an account with them as part of the lending process.

I can’t, but I know a company who can help you with the setup of any Free-zone or Dubai Economic Department company. Dubai company formation is a minefield with over 40 free zones in the UAE. It’s hard to do it yourself so there are specialist companies who can assist with a business analysis and provide clear information on which Licensing entity your company would be best licensed. Contact me for some introductions to companies that we can recommend.

In the UAE it is not mandatory to have a Lawyer involved during the purchase of a property and there is little to no need with off-plan purchases however if buying a resale on the secondary market then it’s a growing trend, involving a Legal entity who knows the processes of the UAE property market and what to look out for.

Yes, if you own a property worth over 1 million AED that has a Freehold Title deed then you are entitled to a resident visa and all that comes along with residency e.g. Emirates ID, the right to register cars and open Bank accounts. Contact me for some introductions to companies that we can recommend

It is possible to obtain a Max of 80% Loan to Value (LTV) if you are a resident of the UAE

The banks that will lend 50% to a Non-Resident require that the property must have a Title Deed in case or a ready property or a Building Completion Certificate (BCC) and hand over letter from the developer in case of an Off Plan Property being Mortgaged

The Title Deed is only issued once the property is fully paid for and the process will take at least a month once the property is completed and the keys are handed over, but it can take even longer so not a reliable time frame.

The BCC is issued by the Municipality shortly before you have to make the final payment so this is when you can obtain a confirmed mortgage offer

It is possible to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage up to 6 months prior to the drawdown date

There are a few banks that will lend to non-residents however most banks require a Title Deed in order to provide a mortgage, there are one or two exceptions

If you were a resident of the UAE, then the 80% LTV mortgage is available on a BCC and Oqood Certificate.

The process for applying for a 80% LTV as against a 50% LTV is much more difficult, time-consuming and not as straightforward from an approval process.

Buy a property on a 50% LTV Mortgage and this is a straight forward process for a non-resident, or complete on the property, wait for Title Deed and have a tenant confirmed then apply for a 80% LTV Mortgage or one can do both, 50% first on a BCC then a re-mortgage to 80% LTV when the Title Deed is available

It is possible to obtain a Mortgage as a non-GCC National, either resident or non-resident of the UAE, up to 50% LTV on a property that is under construction, however, this is limited to projects that have completed 50% of their construction and only with a handful of developers.

The majority of off-plan developments have payment plans that reflect this and you will find 30/70, 40/60 and 50/50 on offer from developers i.e. 50% between booking and completion in construction linked instalments of between 5% and 20% and then 50% on Completion.

Once a building has a Completion Certificate issued then the investor is able to book a Mortgage, a 50% LTV Mortgage is a relatively straightforward application and approval process whilst 51% to 80% LTV is more stringent and complicated.

Many of our clients who are purchasing an off-plan property will take full advantage of the developer’s investor friendly payment plan and in some cases will obtain the 50% LTV mortgage during construction and re-mortgage once the property is completed and is rented out, at which time they can obtain a Maximum 80% LTV based upon the property valuation and applicant circumstances.

Raising finance as the property is about to be handed over is when most buyers will go the mortgage route, with payment plans such as 50%, 70% or 80% on completion there is no need until then.

The mortgage term can be up to 25 years or to the age of 65 whichever comes first and all mortgages are Capital and Interest Repayment Mortgages to international buyers. Conventional and Sharia Compliant/Islamic Mortgages are available in the UAE.

Standard Bank Fees and other charges include:

·        Bank’s Mortgage arrangement fee– The majority charge 1% of the loan amount some do 0.5% and some do not charge with specific terms and conditions.

·        Bank’s Mortgage Valuation fee – ranges between AED 2,500 to 4,000 depending upon the lender

·        Dubai Land Department mortgage registration fee at 0.25% of the mortgage amount plus AED 10.00 + appointment fee of AED 4,000 + Title Deed Fee of AED 540

·        For all purchases – Dubai Land Department Registration or Oqood is 4% of the property sale price + AED 500 or AED 1,500 (dependent upon the developer) + AED 20 due at the time of Purchase and first instalment

If you need to raise a mortgage to complete the purchase, then I am not the person to give advice and in all cases, we recommend that you speak with a Dubai-based Mortgage Advisor who understands off-plan purchases and who can talk you through the application process and provide you with an initial consultation at no charge and I can connect you to them if you need.

We strongly advise against directly applying for a mortgage in the UAE with a bank whilst you are located abroad. There are too many factors which can influence your mortgage approval and all mortgage applications are registered with the UAE Credit Bureau so it is imperative to get it right the first time.

Note maximum term is 25 years or up to the age of 65 years old i.e. mortgage must be completed by your 65th birthday

10 year Term – AED 11,000 per month per million borrowed

15 year term – AED 7,500 per month per million borrowed

25 Year Term – AED 5,000 per month per million borrowed

Buying and investing in property for short term/holiday lets is becoming increasingly popular around the world including here in Dubai.

Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor and other platforms are seeing extraordinary growth – with more and more people listing their properties to meet the guest demand. Dubai benefits from continuous increases in tourists and business travellers – all looking for alternative accommodation.

Unlike some markets, however, Dubai still has some red tape to jump through before a landlord can list their property on homestay platforms. With new regulations put in place in 2016 – every property listed as a Holiday Home, must receive a permit from Dubai’s DTCM (Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing). The costs range from AED 370 (1 Bedroom) to AED 1,200 (3+ Bedrooms) per year. The property must contain certain features in order to comply with the law – bedsheets, towels, working WiFi, kitchen items, etc. The property must be classified as either Standard or Luxury – depending on its features. Each guest staying at the Holiday Home must be registered with the DTCM, and their passport copy must be uploadedvia the Holiday Homes portal. There is also a Tourism ‘Tax’ applied for each night the property is rented which is 10-15 dhm / room/night – depending on the classification of the property.

Since Dubai is trying hard to regulate the Holiday Homes market – listing a property without a permit is illegal and the fines are considerable.

With the hassle of setting up, and the ongoing logistics of managing a short-term let in Dubai – many people are deterred from doing it themselves. For this reason, the optimal solution is to work with a credible, licensed Holiday Homes operator.

The short-term solution is perfect for owners that wish to use their own properties whenever they want – whether for personal trips/holidays, or direct bookings to friends. This flexibility is one of the main reasons why short-term lets have taken off in Dubai. With the right partner on the ground, short-term letting in Dubai has never been easier.

All you need to know about types of visa in the UAE.

Whether you want to work or simply visit the UAE, several visas are available that can suit your travel plans. While the country issues many other kinds of visas, we’re just going to talk about the most common ones. Which UAE visa is right for you? Here are the options:

UAE permanent residency scheme:

The UAE has introduced a six-month multiple-entry interim visa for non-UAE residents seeking long-term investment visa in the country. The new system enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland.

These visas will be issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.

Those eligible for the long-term visa and currently residing in the UAE can transfer their existing residency permits to investor visa if they fulfill conditions.

Investors, experts and talented students who are eligible for the long term visa – ranging from five to ten years – under the Cabinet Decree No. (56) of 2018 can avail of the interim visa to “identify opportunities in their field and make appropriate decisions for them and families”.

The UAE authority said it has activated three new services on its portal:

* a six-month visa with multiple entry to complete the procedures for residency of an investor

* a six-month visa with multiple entry to complete long-term residency procedures for both entrepreneurs and outstanding students

* a six-month visa with a single entry to complete the residency procedures for the talented individuals.

Gold Card:

The Gold Card will be granted to qualifying investors, entrepreneurs, professional talents, researchers in various fields of science and knowledge, and outstanding students.


It is a new initiative will attract greater foreign investment and stimulate the local economy, making it more efficient and attractive for investors. It will also increase the UAE’s competitiveness and reaffirms the country’s position as a global incubator.

Gold Card visa holders can be out of the country for longer than six consecutive months.

How to apply: UAE-based individuals can apply at any immigration office or accredited offices. Non-UAE-based individuals can acquire the documents from ica.gov.ae

Long-term residence visas in the UAE

10-year visa without a sponsor:  

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 10-year residence visa in the UAE:

ten year visa.jpg


The investment may take many forms such as:

* A deposit of at least Dh10 million in an investment fund inside the country?- Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than Dh10 million?- Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than Dh10 million?

*  Having a total investment of not less than Dh10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 per cent of the total investment.

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

* The amount invested must not be loaned?- The investment should be retained for at least three years?

There should be a financial solvency of up to Dh10 million?

*Visa can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes Dh10 million

* The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor?

* Investors from abroad may apply for a multiple-entry permit for a six-month period.


This includes specialised talents and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, as well as creative individuals in the field of culture and art. The visa advantage extends to the spouse and children. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialised field of a priority in the UAE.

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

– Scientists must be accredited by Emirates Scientists Council or holders of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence?-Creative individuals in culture and art must be accredited by Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development?

– Inventors must obtain a patent of value, which adds to the UAE’s economy. Patents must be approved by Ministry of Economy?- Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or a scientific research published in a world-class journal ?

– Executives must be owners of a leading and internationally recognised company or holders of a high academic achievement and position.

3. Doctors and specialists:

* A PhD degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world (refer to ICA for information)?

* An award or certificates of appreciation in the field of the applicant’s work?- contribution to a major scientific research in the respective field of work?

* Published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the respective field of work?

* Membership in an organisation related to the field?- A PhD degree, in addition to 10-year professional experience in his field?

* Specialisation in areas of priority to the UAE.

5-year visa without a sponsor

Eligibility for a 5-year visa without a sponsor

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 5-year residence visa in the UAE.


Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

*  The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than Dh5 million.

* The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis.

* The property must be retained for at least three years.


* This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of Dh500,000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

* The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months.

* The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.


This includes:

* Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 per cent in public and private secondary schools

*  University students within and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.

Residence visa

The residence visa is the next step after securing an employment visa. Think of it as an evolution of the latter. To secure this, you’ll need to get a medical test and apply for another document – the Emirates ID. The UAE Resident Identity Card certifies that the holder is a valid UAE resident. After the whole process is complete, you can now sponsor your family members and bring them into the country as well.

Employment visa

An employment visa, also known as a work permit, is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. It’s valid for two months from the date of issuance and you’ll need one if you’re looking to work in the UAE. As of late February,  residents who are changing jobs in the UAE will no longer need a good conduct certificate for the visa if they are in the country.

Tourist visa

As it says on the tin, a tourist visa is used by travellers whose purpose in the country is for tourism. The visa permits the holder to stay in the country for 30 days. To get one, you’ll need sponsorship by a UAE airline, hotel and tour operators. Each UAE airline offers visa services when you fly with them. Apart from that, travel agents and hotels can also arrange a tourist visa for you.

Visit visa

You’ll need a friend or relative residing in the country to sponsor your UAE visit visa. They can apply for your visa at any GDRFA office across the emirate and the process takes a few days. After the visa is issued, your sponsor should send you a copy of your permit through fax or email. He should submit the original permit to the airport. When you arrive at the airport, you can collect it from there. It is necessary for you to receive a copy of your entry permit before you leave your country.

Transit visa

Have a connecting flight with a lengthy stopover? If you’re just passing by, UAE airlines also issue transit visas valid for those whose stopover exceeds 8 hours. Passengers with transit visas must leave the country within 96 hours of arrival. If you have a shorter transit time, worry not! Dubai Airports recently proposed that transit passengers may soon be able to experience the city as part of the Dubai 10X initiative.

No, you do not need to be a resident or citizen of the UAE to own a free hold property in Dubai.

The UAE has been ranked as the safest country in the world according to an announcement made by officials on Sunday, March 17.

The results of a recent survey detailed that an impressive, 96.1% of UAE residents said they felt safe enough to walk outdoors at night.

According to a report in the Gulf News, the announcement was made during the 12th International Symposium for Police Best Practices and was revealed by HE Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai.

He was quoted as saying, “The survey showed that 96.1 per cent of people feel safe and secure in the country,”

He added on stating that “the UAE’s policies and strategies were behind the achievement to make the country the safest in the world,”

Singapore came in second with 94 per cent of people feeling safe and secure.

It’s the second time Dubai has ranked highly in a global safety ranking, after a study by Which? Travel voted the UAE the second safest country to visit around the globe.

Beaten only by Iceland, which came out on top, the UAE was ranked safer than other leading travel destinations including Spain, Australia and the United States.

The study rated the world’s top 20 holiday destinations using statistics collated by the World Economic Fund, the World Risk Report, NHS Fit for Travel website and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) terrorism assessment risk to assess their overall safety.

Is it legal for me to become an Airbnb host?

Yes, you can now become a host on Airbnb in the UAE and earn some money on the side.
You can only do this if your home is in Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah — the other emirates haven’t sanctioned the home-hosting service yet.
You can rent your home out even if you’re a tenant and don’t already own the house. Home owners or tenants still need to register the property through Dubai Tourism’s Holiday Homes provision to be able to host short-term guests in Dubai.

In this guide, we take you through the process of how you could sublet or lease out homes on a short-term basis without going through an approved Dubai Tourism holiday homes operator — but legally through Airbnb.

The system is implemented to ensure that homeowners/sub-letters meet all the quality standards, codes of conduct, amenities, safety, health and insurance benchmarks that the hospitality sector of the UAE is known for. The new regulations only allow lease of complete residential units; sharing of standalone rooms is still illegal.
• Create an online account on the official Holiday Homes website — https://hh.dtcm.gov.ae/holidayhomes

• Select ‘Home Owner’ for registration type and register yourself as the manager for the property. You can also assign a suitable third-party as manager.

• Upload a valid Emirates ID scanned copy and/or passport copy

• Within two to three business days, your account request will be processed and you will be contacted for further procedures.

• Head to the Dubai Tourism office, submit required documents and pay Dh1,590 to start your approval process. This amount includes an annual registration fee (Dh1,520), classification fee (Dh50) as Standard or Deluxe, Knowledge Fee (Dh10) and Innovation Fee (Dh10). In addition to this, you will have to pay a license fee of Dh300 per bedroom in your apartment for the term of the rental (three months to a year).

• You have to submit a copy of your title deed and Ejari registration proof, apart from other required documents.

• After approval, the owner will get his own username and account as an approved holiday home provider.

• Get your final license (at a cost starting at Dh300 per room) depending on the number of rooms and term to register your property. You can use the same account to get separate permits for multiple units, if you own the homes.

Home-owners are responsible for the standards of the accommodation and amenities. The property is self-classified as Standard or Deluxe but expect regular inspection by Dubai Tourism to ensure quality standards.
Tenants follow the same processes with minor changes.

• Tenants need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their home owners along with an authorisation letter from the owner.

• Tenants cannot sublet more than one complete residential unit at a time (sharing of rooms is illegal).

• The tenancy contract copy, Ejari registration proof and Dewa bills need to be submitted along with the authorisation letter from the owner.

• Contact Dubai Tourism at +971 600 55 5559 for all your queries. For Ras Al Khaimah, contact RAKTDA (Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority) at +971 (0)7 233 8998

There are some responsibilities that come with being a good house host. Here are some key things to bear in mind:
Research homes like yours and others in the area the home is located at. Also account for the amenities such as a gym or a pool, the view, other services and accessibility to interesting areas in the city. Set a reasonable price after considering all of these and your costs.
Before booking and during your guests’ stay, be available and responsive. You should maintain a high response rate by replying to booking enquiries or reservation requests within a day. Try your level best to not cancel reservations that you have already accepted as this may foil your guests’ travel plans.
As a guest looking for a holiday home, information is key. Post as many photos as possible showcasing the highlights of your apartment or unit. Be descriptive of what you will offer in your listing. Once the booking is done, make sure you send across details including services, house rules (if any), appliance use instructions, pet conditions, check-in and checkout details, and anything that’s relevant to an incoming guest. You could also send in a recommendation list of must-do things across the country.
Provide basic amenities such as toilet paper, soap, linens/sheets, and at least one towel and pillow per booked guest. Also ensure that you have extras of all of these in case your guests need them. Guests nowadays love to stay in places with free Wi-Fi, so having a strong network helps make your home more appealing in addition to everything else. Adaptors are another helpful addition to tourists from outside the region.
As a resident, you may have titbits of information that are useful to every visitor to the country. For example, help your guests get the best value of their trip to Dubai using the metro and bus services. One tip could be that taking a metro card (costs just Dh6) is less expensive that getting a trip ticket for every metro ride (costs at least 20 per cent higher per trip in comparison to riding with a card). Share your recommendations of places to visit or dine at. Help them enjoy the best of your home and this country.

Disclaimer: These steps are to be used as a guide only.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Gulf News on October 3rd 2018 http://bit.ly/GN_AirBnb

It is often the case that either the husband or wife is the only earning working member while residing in Dubai. This guide will detail exactly how you can apply to sponsor your spouse and get a residency visa for them as well.

Note: This is an informative guide and should only be taken as such. For any individual queries, contact the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai or GDRFA. Gulf News holds no responsibility for any misinterpretations, change in processes or amendments to the law.
Husband sponsoring wife
For a husband to sponsor his wife and children, he needs to be earning Dh3,000 plus accommodation, or Dh4,000 without accommodation.
Wife sponsoring husband (basic category)
For a wife to sponsor her husband and children, she should be earning Dh3,000 plus accommodation, or Dh4,000 without accommodation – if she is a teacher, doctor, engineer, nurse or in any medical sector-role.

This needs to be verified with GDRFA on individual queries as the approvals can differ from case to case.
Wife sponsoring husband (other category)
For women who work in other categories, a special request needs to be submitted to General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFA or DNRD) for approval, after which the processes are the same. The salary limit in this case usually starts at Dh8,000 with accommodation, but this needs to be verified with GDRFA as the approvals are given on a case to case basis.
– Typed application form

– Salary certificate and attested work contracts

– 3 months bank statement for long-time residents (New residents can submit 1 month bank statement and bank letter confirming salary transfer)

– Attested tenancy contract, Emirates ID card and labour contract of sponsor/labour card

– Marriage certificate that has been attested by UAE authorities (married in the UAE or in home country)

– Passports, original and copies, of both sponsor and family member/s.

– Medical check-up report of spouse or children over 15 years of age from authorized hospital/clinic.

– 3 passport photos of spouse and family member/s

– For women: Approval from GDRFA in case of the other category of employment.
– Go to a typing centre with copies of all relevant documents and get a typed-up application form. It will cost around Dh310 per family member, not inclusive of typing charges.

– Submit the application form, copy of entry visa (tourist or visit), medical certificate and all other documents at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFA) to get the visa approved.

– If your spouse is not in the country at the time of application, he or she has to complete medical tests, visa stamping and Emirates ID procedures within 60 days from the date of entry as given in the entry permit.

– If your spouse is in the country, he or she need not exit the country. Expect to pay around Dh510 (not including typing) to change the status of the visa from temporary to residency without leaving the UAE, after completing all required procedures.

– All dependents now need basic medical insurance according to UAE Law, so get documents sorted for that as well.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in emigrate.co.uk on Tuesday January 16th, 2018 http://bit.ly/GNVisaforyourspouseUAE

Dubai Land Department unveiled an electronic system to regulate the payment of service fees between property owners and developers to ensure transparency and fairness in the sector.

The DLD, through its regulatory arm Real Estate Regulatory Authority, established “Mollak” (the Arabic word for owners), a system to monitors the payment of service charges in co-owned property projects – where owners are part of a wider development such as an apartment block or villa community – it said yesterday. Owners will now pay community service fees directly to the Mollak system, rather than to the developer. The system operates within the databases of the real estate unit owners and of property units registered and approved by DLD.

“Through the system, Rera seeks to increase the role of governance, regulation and supervision as well as the participation of private sector specialists to increase real estate transparency and maintain the balance between real estate developers, management companies and homeowners,” said Marwan bin Ghalita, chief executive of Rera.

The regulator started a pilot phase with management companies, auditors and financial institutions for the programme before officially rolling it out in the second quarter of the year, according to Mr Ghalita.

Through the Mollak system, 468 bank accounts were opened for project service charges while 88 management companies and 1,212 real estate projects were registered and approved by Rera. This is in addition to 200,000 real estate units listed, comprising residential apartments, villas, offices and commercial shops.

Rera agreed with seven banks to act as account trustees for co-owned properties and registered eight financial auditors to audit the application fees submitted for accreditation.

Rera additionally issues electronic approvals for service charges to real estate unit owners who also receive unified bills for service charges across the system. It compels management companies to explicitly submit bills through the system to provide protection for service-fee claims made by real estate owners.

The system works within the database of DLD, Rera, financial institutions and certified auditors registered with Rera, as well as co-owned property management companies registered with the authority.

It enforces comprehensive regulatory governance on a co-owned property management company licensed and registered with Rera, requiring it to upload financial statements and copies of maintenance, service and other supplier contracts for common real estate services, Rera said.

The financial auditor then verifies these statements and contracts according to the criteria adopted by the authority, which then reviews the completion of the transaction audit. Real estate unit owners are notified electronically of a unit’s service fees with the publication of fee approval data in the service and maintenance fees index on DLD’s website.

The management company then requests owners to pay the services fees through the Mollak system, and sends the service-fee invoices in accordance with the amounts approved by Rera.

 first published in the National newspaper on 28 July 2019