Dubai Blue Residency Visa: What It Offers and How to Apply

2023 marked the year of sustainability – a mission to position the UAE as a major player in the global green economy. As part of this effort, the UAE government has introduced the Blue Residency Visa – a long-term visa aimed at anyone actively contributing to local or international sustainability initiatives.

This visa, approved by the UAE Cabinet and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, allows residents to live, work, or study in the UAE. If you’ve been recognised for your efforts in the sustainability sector, it could be a pathway to long-term residency, too.

In this guide, we’ll explore the Blue Residency Visa in detail, including its criteria, eligibility, fees, how to apply, and much more.

WHAT IS THE BLUE RESIDENCY VISA?

The Blue Residency Visa is a 10-year residency visa for individuals who have made:

‘Exceptional efforts and contributions to protecting the environment, whether marine or land.’

In other words, it recognises and rewards those who have significantly contributed to environmental sustainability, whether it be through innovative projects, research, or active involvement in environmental initiatives.

Launched in 2024, the visa follows up on its predecessor, the Golden Residency Visa, as a part of the UAE’s efforts towards economic and social growth.

So why introduce yet another long-term visa in the UAE?

It’s all about taking a proactive stance on sustainability and environmental protection. With the Blue Residency Visa, the UAE government aims to attract those who are actively investing their time, resources, and expertise in sustainable initiatives.

Furthermore, the visa further illustrates the country’s commitment to becoming a global sustainability leader. Whether it’s the UAE’s Green Agenda 2030, which emphasises green life and sustainable use of resources, or the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to triple the contribution of renewable energy by 2030, the Blue Residency Visa is yet another step towards achieving these goals.

CRITERIA AND ELIGIBILITY

The Blue Residency Visa isn’t only awarded to local environmentalists and activists. It’s open to individuals from various nationalities who have contributed significantly to conservation, sustainability, and environmental protection globally.

To be eligible for the Blue Residency Visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Environmental Contributions: Candidates who continue to enhance marine life conservation, land-based ecosystem protection, air quality improvement, sustainability technologies, or the circular economy.

Recognition and Impact: Eligible individuals include members of international corporations, associations, NGOs, global award recipients, and distinguished environmental activists and researchers. This means that even if individuals have not personally led a sustainability project, their contributions and impact through these organisations will still be recognised.

How to apply

Candidates are given two ways to apply for the Blue Residency Visa:

  1. Self-nominated application: Candidates can submit their applications through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security.
  2. Nominated application: Individuals can be nominated by relevant authorities such as government agencies, recognised environmental organisations, or educational institutions specialising in environmental science and sustainability.

Once a candidate is selected, they will be invited to an interview with the Blue Residency Visa committee. The interview explores, in detail, the candidate’s environmental contributions, impact, and future plans for sustainability.

PRICES AND INCENTIVES

Blue Residency Visa fees vary based on the candidate’s age, professional background, and whether they are applying individually or with family.

Since these prices depend on individual circumstances, no definitive fee structure is available publicly. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact the official UAE government websites or relevant authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information, as fees are subject to change.

Once these fees are paid, successful candidates will receive the Blue Residency Visa and its accompanying benefits, which include:

  1. No Local Sponsor Required: Visa holders are not obligated to have a local sponsor or Emirati partner.
  2. Long-Term Residency: A 10-year visa with the option to renew.
  3. Increased Mobility: Easier travel within the UAE and potentially to other countries.
  4. Professional Opportunities: Access to various UAE professional and business opportunities, particularly in the environmental sector.
  5. Recognition and Prestige: Being part of a select group recognised for significant environmental contributions. 

Like the Golden Residency Visa, the Blue Residency Visa uses incentives and benefits to attract and retain top talent in the UAE. Its initiatives like these continue to sustain the country’s rapid and booming economic growth.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does the Blue Residency Visa offer citizenship for successful candidates?

No, the Blue Residency Visa does not offer citizenship. It’s strictly a long-term residency visa with the option to renew after 10 years. However, to be eligible for renewal, the holder must have continued to meet the visa’s requirements of making significant environmental contributions during the initial 10-year period. 

Does the Blue Residency Visa only recognise environmental efforts made in the UAE?

No. To maximise the impact of the Blue Residency Visa, it’s taken a global approach and is open to anyone who meets its criteria. This means your environmental efforts can be recognised and rewarded regardless of where they were made.

What documentation is required to apply for the Blue Residency Visa?

Several documents are required for the application process, including:

  1. Detailed documents that undoubtedly prove the applicant’s environmental contributions and achievements. These can be in the form of awards, certificates, and other forms of recognition.
  2. A recommendation letter from a recognised organisation, government entity, or individual that endorses the applicant’s environmental efforts and verifies their authenticity.
  3. The UAE Visa Application Form, obtained online or through the relevant typing centre.
  4. Proof of entry visa into the UAE if applicable.
  5. A medical fitness certificate approved by the concerned authorities.
  6. Proof of a valid UAE health insurance plan.

If self-nominated, a letter of recommendation from the official authorities isn’t required. However, it’s still recommended as it helps support the applicant’s case.

How long does the application process take?

Candidates can expect to wait several weeks to a few months for their application to be processed. Each application is individually evaluated, scrutinised and verified by the relevant authorities, which takes time. Furthermore, you may be called for an interview to further discuss your environmental contributions and achievements.

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