The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has granted the much-coveted UAE "golden visa" to Malayalam film stars Mammootty and Mohanlal. Both actors took to social media to share the news."My grateful thanks to H E Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi for bestowing upon me the Golden Visa for the UAE. Am indeed honoured. My gratitude also goes out to Mr @Yusuffali_MA for facilitating this," Mohanlal tweeted.
— Mammootty (@mammukka) August 23, 2021
What is the 'golden visa'?
The 'golden visa' was introduced by the UAE government in 2019 as a new system for long-term residence visas.
It allows foreigners to live, work and study in the Gulf state without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 percent ownership of their business on the UAE mainland.
The visa is for a period of five or 10 years and is renewed automatically.
It can also be extended to include the spouse, children, parents and dependent siblings, among others.
Who is eligible?
Investors, for the 10-year visa a minimum of AED 10 million, which is around Rs 20 lakh, public investment is required, entrepreneurs, specialised talents and researchers in various fields of science are eligible. Students with promising scientific capabilities are also eligible for the 10-year visa, the UAE government's website says.
Investors with a property in the UAE worth not less than AED 5 million, entrepreneurs with an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000 and students can apply for the five-year visa.
The scope of the visa was widened to include bright students and 1,00,000 coders under the National Programme for Coders.
How to apply for the ‘golden visa’?
Interested individuals can apply for the visa by visiting the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) or contact them at the toll-free number 600522222.
Alternatively, they can also contact UAE’s embassies and consulates.
Indians with ‘golden visa’
In July, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her husband Shoaib Malik, a Pakistani cricketer, got the 10-year visa.
"Both Sania and Shoaib are excited to spend time in the UAE with their son and explore the country. They are keen on launching their own entrepreneurial venture in the sports industry starting with Dubai," the couple had said in a statement.
From the entertainment industry, Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Dutt also have the “golden visa”.Dutt, who received the visa in May, said on Instagram, "Honoured to have received a golden visa for the UAE in the presence of Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Director General of @gdrfadubai. Thanking him along with the @uaegov for the honour. Also grateful to Mr. Hamad Obaidalla, COO of @flydubai for his support."